Since my last trip to Kerala, I had wanted to ride on a houseboat. I had learned that people rent them for weeks at a time for a restful vacation. With the luxury options ranging from simple mosquito netting to air-conditioned rooms and gourmet cooks who prepare freshly caught fish for your meals, a trip on one of these special boats would be a real treat. When checking out where we would stay in Calicut, I learned that this hotel offered a houseboat option. I immediately told my husband that we needed to do this for one night.
Upon our arrival at the resort, we immediately checked at the houseboat and placed orders for our dinner. (The food for the houseboat was actually cooked in the hotel kitchen and delivered to the houseboat so I was relieved that I wouldn’t have to worry about food safety.) Our room was lovely with its wooden walls. I was impressed to note that, in addition to a fruit tray, the room was equipped with a full bathroom and shower with fluffy towels. Personally, I think my father-in-law was impressed with the TV and DVD player.
After we were settled, out dinner was served. With the overhead fan mosquitoes didn’t bother us so we could enjoy a delicious meal that was served by a charming and polished waiter. He was prompt and very helpful without seeming obsequious. We dined on who knows what. One dish, Fish Tikka Ajwaini, was superb – lovely spices in the masala and cooked to perfection.
After dinner we spent a pleasant evening in our cabin. The beds were just as comfortable as those in the guest rooms as the hotel. I appreciated knowing that the crew slept on the boat in case anything happened.
The following morning we dined on tasty masala dosas, sambar, idli, fruit and delicious south Indian filter coffee. Breakfast was excellent. I have to admit that, thanks to my mother-in-law, I am a sambar snob. In the U.S., most restaurants’ sambar is watery and tasteless. The Kadavu Resort kitchen knows how to make it correctly: right spices, thickness and flavor.
After the delicious meal, we enjoyed a restful four-hour cruise up and down the backwaters of Kerala. The ride was smooth and relaxing. If my husband and I had been alone, it would have been a romantic trip suitable for a 25th wedding anniversary (or a honeymoon if we were younger). As the sun rose over the water, I could see the trees try to emerge from the heavy fog. I was stunned with the quiet beauty of the river. Coconut trees fought each other to reach the sun. They grew thickly to the bank of the river and many grew horizontally.
Many houses had been built along the river. I noticed that many of them were huge, even by Texas standards. I was informed that they had been built with the money earned by people who had worked in the Middle East. I have to admit that they were stunning. Several homeowners creatively planted gardens right along the river. In addition to the houses, we saw several tile factories and their tall smoke stacks. I enjoyed watching the men in several boats haul river sand into their crafts to the trucks that were waiting on the river’s edge. Many of these men waved as we cruised by.
We even passed a boat with tourists who were photographing us as we photographed them. I’m sure it was a funny sight.
All too soon the trip came to an end and we had to leave the boat. After saying thank you to the friendly and helpful crew we headed back to the lobby to check in to our rooms for the next step of our Kerala adventure.
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