South India Day 2: Mumbai to Kerala
After stuffing ourselves with an amazing meal at the Mumbai Marriott breakfast buffet, we were off with a hotel car around 8 a.m., speeding towards the Mumbai National Airport and our Jet Airways flight to Kochi, in the state of Kerala. Our flight was pretty nice and lasted about 2 hours. We were met outside of the little Kochi airport by our driver, Rajesh, and in no time were headed toward the backwaters of Kerala. The drive to meet the boat in Alleppey lasted around 4 hours in air conditioned comfort, winding through small villages and a lot of very green countryside.
The houseboat and its crew of three were waiting for us at the dock. After boarding the boat and putting the luggage in the room, we were served a light lunch and then spent the afternoon watching village life and other houseboats pass by from our lazy perches in the lounge area of our boat. Around 5, we reached the overnight docking point and decided to explore the neighboring village and rice paddies. Before our walk, two of the crew took some money from me and zoomed off on a motorcycle to retrieve a few bottles of beer for the evening.
We took a nice walk through the countryside and were welcomed by many locals and a lot of curious children wanting to practice their English. Returning to the houseboat near sunset, there seemed to be a lot of bugs flying around the area. As the sky became darker and the lights on the boat went on, the bugs seemed to multiply exponentially until there were literally millions of midges swarming in the air. This then brought on probably thousands of bats having a frenzied dinner. For some reason the bedroom seemed to have more midges flying around and all over the floor than even outside. The crew eventually switched our things to another vacant room on the boat and we were served a dinner of fried cabbage, chapati, and Kerala rice.....and also I drank the two large bottles of 'OK' brand beer, which helped my mind deal with the bugs flying and crawling over every surface. The rest of the evening was spent talking and listening to the night sounds in the dark. Any light instantly brought on swarms of midges.