No Kerala holiday is ever complete without the houseboat experience, and this time we had the extraordinary excellent opportunity of experiencing a houseboat in style - a giant 2-storeyed one all to ourselves, where ourselves is 30-odd twentysomethings and lots and lots of daru.
the upper deck
and lots of daru
The lungi is likely to become a favorite; practical, seriously airy and comfortable, as long as certain people restrain themselves from trying to yank it off.
a rare moment of peace and breeze circulation
On the way, we stopped off at a lakeside traditional eatery for a giant dose of fresh-from-the-lake lunch - fish, shrimp, rice and curry, assorted veggies, served on banana leaves, and (of course) coconut.
Lake Vedambanad is huge, I mean, seriously gigantic. You can't see from one end to another. The lakes and backwaters were, before the roads got laid down, the veins of Kerala, carrying the lifeblood of trade and commerce from one end to the other in giant cargo boats laden with spices, coconuts, grain and more... the same boats that converted into the ultimate luxury experience now.
The giant lake's on the right. This is just an access path.
And no, it's not a GPS error this time
The afternoon went in a pleasant haze of alcohol, slowly digesting lunch, watching the water slide past in silence while music played in the background, feeling the breeze play softly on your face... punctuated by brief visits to the volcanic beef chilli fry plate, the single most devastating snack item I've ever tasted. It'll take the skin off the roof of your mouth, steam out of your ears, slide lava down your tongue, and trust me you do not want to know what it does the next morning... but man, does it taste sublime and make beer heavenly. Have a mouthful of this, and the next pint of beer comes with it's own angelic choir.
not pictured: fire extinguisher (but mandatory)
add harps and music from the celestial spheres here
a day not wasted is a day wasted
Dusk falls quietly over the lake, and the sky slides imperceptibly from breathless, blinding blue into soft gold and indigo, setting the lake on fire with a billion broken setting suns; as we grow closer to the shore, the silently whispering wind changes to the ultrasonic, distant, hungry while of clouds of mosquitoes coming out for their dinner; we slowly haul ourselves back from the daydreams we were lost in...