Thursday, November 17, 2011

Rollin' on the River...riverboat ride, Kerala.

Benny and I rode for about five hours down from the peacefulness of Munnar back into
the hustle of main street, Kerala. We were on our way for me to board my riverboat for
a night's stay on the waterways of Kerala, which is referred to as the, "Venice of the East".
Finally, we went over a long bridge and I could see the interconnecting wide inlets of
waters. We pulled up to the docking area, and Benny introduced me to my boatman. I asked Benny
to keep my luggage in the truck, so I could just take my small bag on the boat.

The boat was, honestly, like something out of a very old Hollywood movie. The entire
boat was shaped like a large canoe with a house covered in palm fronds in the center. When
I stepped on board, there were cane chairs with footstools set up in the front behind the
boatman where I sat watching the river roll. There was a full dining table with a plate of
fresh fruit. My luggage was placed in a private, enclosed bedroom with it's own bath. And,
in the back of the boat, was the kitchen area where my meals were prepared. There was
the boatman, his young assistant who spoke moderate English, and the cook who I never saw.

Once I'd settled in, changed into my comfortable dress, and bare feet (I forgot to bring my
flip flops!)...the boat motor started up, I settled into the cane chair, and we headed down
the river. I can hardly describe how beautiful this area of Kerala is, and much like Munnar
every view is spectacular. I remembered Kent and I watching the movie, "African Queen" with
Bogart and Hepburn; and I felt as if I was in that movie, only I had to imagine Kent there.
The inlets widen like big rivers, and then narrow. I saw a man kneeling in a small ketch as herded
hundreds of ducks in the water. Women with long black hair and colorful saris pounded wash
on rocks by the water..thonk, thonk, thonk...the sound of the wash echoing up and down
the waterway.

I was served a delicious lunch of vegetable curry, very fresh river fish, hand made chapati.
When they asked if I wanted an Ayurveda massage, at first I said no because I had had one the
day before; then I decided, when would I get this chance again. Honestly, I love the massage,
and I even like the oil on my body, but I am not all that fond of having oil poured all over
my head and face. It's just not my favorite type of massage. But the place was a tiny house
on the river, and the lady was very intense. We went in the room, once again I stripped down,
and she gave me a very thorough rubbing. It was a little hard on my still sore shoulder.
At this point, I had had some many different experiences and people in a very short time,
and I was beginning to have traveler's overload. I rinsed off with the hot water she brought
and was glad to relax back on the boat. I had some weird vibes from her that I didn't
tip her enough, and that set me off on this worry about how much to tip the boatmen, and
along with being tired and lonely, was not a good combo for my brain.

Luckily, the best was yet to come...and I was headed for a five day yoga retreat, which would center me and give me the tools I would need to continue on the next four months of my journey. Whoopee!

No comments:

Post a Comment