Surfing the Backwater

Cruise, India, Lost Girls RTW Adventure — By on January 2, 2007 at 8:17 pm

Unless there are hot men, scuba tanks or free alcohol samples involved, my fellow LG’s and I typically stay away from organized, made-for-backpacker tours. But after hearing rave reviews from other seasoned travelers, Jen and I decided to make an exception and book a houseboat “cruise” through the peaceful backwaters of Kerela, India. We decided to ride with Johnson’s The Nest in part because the name sounded cool, but primarily because my friend and former co-worker Sarah Bailey gave his outfit the strongest of recommendations. Not only would we catch glimpse of day-to-day life along the riverbanks, she said, but the onboard grub was truly outstanding.


Upon arriving at the departure point in the town of Allepy, learned that we’d be sharing our floating palace with an older German couple named Eva and Walter. Soon after wishing them a guten morgen, we boarded the boat (which incidentally, looking something like an upturned beehive) and set out to plough the waters. Well, the crew ploughed–we sat on deck, sipped on coconut water directly from the shell and nibbled on pineapple trimmed to look like flowers in bloom. Did we feel like spoiled little vacationers instead of the backpackers that we are? Absolutely…and we loved every minute of it.

For the next 22 hours, Jen, Eva, Walter and I watched local life go by from the helm of our boat, stopping a few times to hop ashore to walk around, sightsee and haggle. Sure, at times the whole waterborne adventure felt a bit like “It’s a Small World,” (with Indian music being piped from enormous loudspeakers instead of the Disney song), but judging by the waving, smiling, laughing and pointing we spotted onshore, we wondered if we might be the attraction instead of the other way around!

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