Southern India day 10 – Royal Enfield and Kerala houseboat

14 Oct 2017. Sorry for the delay. This post was written days ago, but then it deleted itself somehow. I am rewriting it after having kept up with other posts after it.

I woke up in a dreadful mood after an unpleasant night first in the train and then in the filthy guesthouse. Matt was running interference and I was trying not to talk to anyone too much. Our host wanted us to agree to use his friend’s houseboat for our overnight trip, and I wasn’t feeling very trusting that it would be adequate, so when we learned that only one of us would be able to go view it, I volunteered. The reason for that was that Jay, the friend, had a motorcycle, and one person could ride on the back. So that person was me.

I perked up pretty well when I saw that it was a Royal Enfield. In case you don’t know what one is, here is the Wikipedia link:

Jay was a pretty fast driver, which I enjoyed, and we whizzed across town, across intersections where I momentarily feared for my life and down narrow flooded alleys. The houseboat seemed pretty ok to me. I turned on everything and made sure it worked. The showers were pretty bad, but they assured me that the pressure would be better once we were underway (this turned out to be a lie).

We rode back the way we came, Jay pointing out a few things around town, and then when we pulled up in front of the guesthouse, asked if I’d like to take it for a spin. Did I ever! So off I went down the road in the other direction. I only went about 10 minutes, maybe 15, because I had no sense of the area’s layout and I didn’t want Jay to worry. Matt snapped a few photos of me returning.

Jay left and we all had breakfast. Then a tuktuk was there to take us all to the boat. I was in a good enough mood from the motorcycle ride that when I fell in the mud trying to get my suitcase through the flooded walkway up to our dock, I only laughed and apologized to the man I almost brought with me into the mud when I went. He was laughing too, so that was alright.

We settled in and met on the upper deck. All the houseboats leave at the same time, and we enjoyed the queue to get out to the lake. I’ve heard that in popular months it can be a real drag, but in our case it was really ok. That first part of the trip was really pleasant, and we were served lunch as well.

Once we reached the lake, we were taken to a fish market on a peninsula or maybe an island (it was hard to tell), where Matt and I selected a couple of large crayfish to supplement our dinner. There was a bird of prey casually hanging out waiting for scraps there.

We enjoyed all this part of the day, but in the evening we docked in an area where loud and obnoxious poppy music was playing over speakers mounted in coconut trees. It was loud enough to make casual conversation difficult. We were invited to take a walk until dinnertime, which we did.

The area is all developed into canals that may or may not have started out with natural banks, but now have stone and sometimes concrete embankments. Every so many meters they have steps down into them, where people can bathe and wash their clothes and dishes. We were surprised at how quickly the water was flowing.

We walked back and made it to the boat just as darkness fell. The music was still blaring, and we asked when it would stop. The boat staff said 20:30. It was 17:30 or so. Matt and Abbie and I attempted to play card games while we waited for dinner to be served. Derek enjoyed his book.

Dinner was far too much food, but wonderful. And the neighborhood’s power went out, so the music stopped early, thank goodness. We drank beers, played some more games, and eventually everyone hit the sack.