Home > India 2012 > House Boat High Life

House Boat High Life

(Written July 25)
Bus Stop

Bus stop – children wait here for the boat to school

Our last stop in Kerala is a house boat based in Aleppy. We boarded shortly after noon, and we’ll stay aboard till tomorrow morning. The boat has been chugging slowly along canals between rice paddies and houses. This is the world that Arundhati Roy wrote about in The God of Small Things: people seem to live on the water as much as on land.  Here are pictures of a bus stop and a convenience store, both accessed by water.

Convenience Store

We have quite an intimate view of village life from here. People just 15 feet away are washing clothes and themselves in the canal, buying fish from a man in a canoe, and walking along the narrow path between houses and water. These houses don’t have plumbing; drinking water is trucked in and canal water is used for everything else. I can’t fathom what happens with sewage, but there’s no unpleasant smell.

Fish for sale

Man in orange shirt selling fresh fish to neighborhood women

The boat that we’re on is one of 700 tourist houseboats on the lake. It has two bedrooms, but the other one is unoccupied. So Pakis and I are the only guests aboard. We’re struggling to comprehend that the two of us are to spend a day and night being served by a captain, a chef, and a helper. We already ate a delicious lunch of “pearl spot” and had these prawns for dinner–all served to us along with about nine vegetable dishes.
Prawns for dinner

Prawns for dinner

Chef serving dinner

Our chef, Jimmy, serving dinner (yes, that’s really his name–he’s part of the Christian minority in southern India

The weather is warm and rather humid, but the breeze keeps it very pleasant. It feels absolutely magical!

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