Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Kerala: Alleppey (Day 2)

Today was a day of sheer hard work (not!)... it was another early start though, as we had to leave the homestay at 7am to go to the ayurvedic massage centre located some 30 mins from the homestay. This particular place was not as characterful as the image I had in my head, but before long I was lying face-down on a massage bed more-or-less naked apart from a piece of cloth which just about kept me decent! Before I knew it, I was being immersed in ayurvedic oil which was then (reasonably) gently massaged into me. I now knew how it felt to be one of those poor birds marooned on the beach following an oil slick! Half an hour massage was followed by another half an hour in the shower trying to wash the oil off! Nonetheless, I did feel much more relaxed and quite rejuvenated following the hectic schedule I’d been on.
After that it was off to the waiting houseboat for our cruise across Lake Vembanad and its backwaters. A huge houseboat in the style of the typical rice barges awaited us. It was complete with 2 en-suite bedrooms and an outdoor lounge/dining area. I perched myself near the front of the boat as our driver navigated us across the lake. The weather could not have been better, blue sky, glorious sunshine, birds flitting from tree to tree... pretty much the Kerala I had dreamt of. We passed the famous Chinese cantilever fishing nets, boatmen taking their goods to market and fishermen casting their nets into the water. Having drifted in and out of sleep, I was awakened by the cook... lunch was ready! Another platter of freshly caught seafood was brought out along with some tasty veggie options. Life couldn’t get much better than this I remember thinking!
After another hour on the water, we finally disembarked on the bank of the lake by our homestay. The rest of the evening was spent chit-chatting with the others in the group against the backdrop of the moonlit lake. If relaxation is what you’re looking for, I don’t think any place can beat the serenity and calmness of Kerala’s soothing backwaters.

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