Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Indian Houseboats

We spent a night on an Indian houseboat while we were down south in Kerala. (near the village of Alleppey). House boating seems to be a fairly common thing here in India... You can do it is several locations throughout the country - the coast of Kerala being one of the more famous places. The Indian Houseboat culture here reminded me a little of the sail boating culture in the US - both are definitely relaxed, special ways of living.Our houseboat was very similar to the one pictured above. The boats use what is essentially a river-barge hull with "cane" mobile-home on top. The boat we were on, called the "Mind Sweeper," had 2 air-conditioned state rooms (each with a bath), a kitchen in the stern and a dining room/lounge area towards the bow. The boat had an inboard diesel engine that was actually fairly quiet. Most of the cabin is is made of wood, cane, and bamboo. At the peak of the season (winter months) there are about 250 houseboats cruising the lake waterways and canals around Alleppey!
The crew consisted of a captain, crewman, and cook. - They were all very friendly and competent and served us great, fresh Keralan food, chai - even a cold beer in the evening! The kids had the run of the boat. We just kicked back, read, but mostly just enjoyed watching the South-Indian village life slowly glide by as we wandered down backwaters and canals....

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