This is where the Kerala Blog Express starts to get really interesting. Alleppey a region in Kerala that’s famous for its massive backwater channel is flooded with luxury house boats. I use the term luxury loosely because some might think it’s not fancy enough but I think it’s pretty darn good. These boats which were big enough to house people on it for days, were used to ferry rice up and down the river many moons ago. Now they’re used to ferry eager tourists who stay on the boat and get a chance to experience the beauty of Kerala.
Our boat is fantastic and I told myself this is the time I would try and get some work done without any distractions but really who am I kidding? The entire backwaters is a distraction – and it’s a great one! The banks are home to several local villages, you see people in their colourful homes, children rushing to and from school, Church bells ringing and wide stretch of green farm land and about a million coconut palm trees. Pass through the villages and you reach a stretch of just greenery and water. It’s a sight for sore eyes and possibly the most relaxing therapeutic time I’ve had on this trip.
The cool sea breeze makes you incredibly drowsy so it’s ideal for a nap and by about 5.30 the boat docks for the night just in time for you to witness another magical sunset. This time you get to witness it on a boat in the middle of nowhere as it dives beneath a cluster of palm trees and foliage with birds flittering across the sky and the water sparkling. Bliss 🙂
Our chef on the boat is a genius who fed us two superb local meals. Lunch included the best sambhar I have tasted on the trip so far. This is the kick ass stuff I’ve been waiting for, a delicious cabbage thoran ( cabbage cooked in grated coconut) fried fish ( well duh ) a simple home cooked vegetable with potato, a cool mildly sweet curd with pineapples almost like a raita and a bowl of hot vermicelli filled payasum for dessert.( Burp!)
There is no escaping banana treats and our tea time snack included local banana fritters which I have to admit minus any dip or chutney were surprisingly good.
Dinner didn’t disappoint either. Good old fashioned rice and dal, this time basmati unlike the afternoon’s fat Kerala unpolished rice. A bhindi sabzi ( okra vegetable) cooked with fried onions and dry coconut which was magnificent. This is how I like my bhindi, with tons of fried onion. A tomato based dish similar to how to they cook their roasts, a simple fried potato dish and what they call fried chicken which is tastier than any KFC or farcha I’ve eaten. This one isn’t coated with batter making it lacy or frilly on the outside which I really like. it’s a simple no nonsense fried chicken.
Breakfast the next morning was simple eggs, with toast butter jam, fresh watermelon juice and a surprise of local freshly made pancakes stuffed with coconut and drizzled with honey. It reminds me of the Chinese styled non fried coconut stuffed pancake that I’m obsessed about at my favourite Ling’s Pavillion but this one is served up – Kerala Style. We weren’t expecting it because our cook told us breakfast would be simple eggs and toast but I’m thrilled I got a slice of it.
The boat’s docked, sadly I have to bid adieu to the gorgeous backwaters but it’s time to gear up for my long drive into the spice capital of Kerala. Thekkady watch out, the Kerala Blog Express is on its way !