One of the best parts of my trip to India was renting a houseboat while we were in Kerala. Fritz and I flew from Mumbai to the southern most point of India the city of Trivandrum (now officially called Thiruvananthapuram although everyone still calls it Trivandrum) hopped on a bus three hours north for the town of Alapuzha.
This is a beach side place, very laid back, very relaxed. As opposed to Jaipur, where we were 24 hours prior, you walk down the streets without constantly being invited into shops and asked to buy their merchandise, tuk-tuk drivers don’t charge too much, it’s just a very relaxed atmosphere. We stayed at a guest house called the Gowri. This place has a very European hostel like atmosphere. There we met fellow travelers, the guest house owners were these young guys who played rock music, drank beer and wanted everyone to be friends.
From the Gowri, we rented a houseboat for a two day trip along the backwaters. Not really knowing what to expect, we set out for what happed the be the best two days of my trip. Starting the trip, we met our cook, captain and engineer. Three really nice gus who wanted to have as much fun as us. They showed us the back waters, and channels, neighbors and landmarks. We saw the most beautiful jungle and swam in the refreshing water. But the best part, was docking and getting to go to the land and meet some of the locals.
Kerala has a reported literacy rate of 100%. All the children we met were in school and most of the kids over 10 spoke great conversational English. These children were the sweetest, nicest, warmest people we met. Their energy gut us out of the boat so we’d talk to them. I spent an hour throwing rocks, singing songs and teaching kids how to do the Maverick-Goose high-five from “Top-Gun.”