Rice Boat Cruising

Trip Start Dec 30, 2005
1
6
7
Trip End Jan 30, 2006


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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

We arrived in Kerala (from Goa via Plane) to a sign that read "Mr. Ryall Graber". haha. Of course it couldn't have been a woman that was making the on-line arrangements for our travels in Kerala? Still a very male dominated society, where for most Indian women, life is full of inequalities and deprivation. Arranged marriage is alive and strong and widowed women are seen as worthless. Deepa Mehta's film 'Water' is released on DVD mid-March if anyone is interested at a further look at the traditional lives of women in India. Should be very interesting!

So...

We had left our most southern destination for last, and had decided to tour this region on board a Kettuvallam (an old rice boat converted into a floating palace). A crew of four, and even a chef on board. We were pretty excited to see a flushing toilet too! For 3 nights and 4 days we floated (literally floated) by Keralas rice fields in the backwaters on board this luxury house boat. The Arabian sea fills the backwaters and gives rise to a labrynth of water canals, lagoons and lakes. It felt Amazon like at times, and then a glimpse of the rice fields was like something out of northern Vietnam. Observing local life from the boat was great- women washing their clothes in the river, people bathing and fisherman bringing in their days catch to feed their families. In the evenings we would dock the boat and get off and explore the local villages before dinner. And dinner... well the smell of prawns being sauteed in local spices was about the only thing that made us move from our cushioned sun deck! The food was amazing. And the portion sizes were huge- it took us forever to eat with our hands! The photo album has a nice shot of my fingers that had turned yellow from the cumin and curry in the food! It also has a nice shot of Johns very full tummy! ha ha.

The rice boat was a really relaxing way to spend the last few days of the trip. I had time on the boat to reflect on my unforgettable month in India. India is an assault on the senses in every sense! Everything- the smells, the sounds (horns!), the sights... So out of the comfort zone of home, so what I was looking for! I was intrigued to visit India and now I am fascinated by my experiences here. Seeing how the people here live so contently and what they value has helped me gain insight into my own life. A country of over a billion people has given me a huge appreciation for space. Incredible & Intriguing India. Again, perspective into my own life and a new appreciation for freedom and the life of luxury that I have in Canada- a life that many dream of. I am humbled. I am moved. But most of all grateful to have been able to add India to my collection of memories!
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