If I could go back to any one place, right at this very moment, I would choose South India. My idea of the perfect secluded getaway would be locked away on a houseboat and floating around the backwaters of Kerala.
I don’t think I knew what it meant, to be in true serenity, until I experienced life on these houseboats. Kochi was a huge change of pace, especially coming from Mumbai. It was quiet, life moved a little slower, and the lush green landscape was stunning.
The initial process of selecting a houseboat was overwhelming and just downright frustrating. We had opted to not book something ahead of time. From our research, booking online was not a good idea since, online pictures were usually extremely misleading and when you arrive at your houseboat – you would probably be disappointed and feeling cheated. Prices are also better if you go to the dock, chose your own, and did some bargaining. A and I learned that day – we lacked any bargaining skills in India… or anywhere for that matter.
When we arrived to the docking port, we were bombarded by boat owners. They were hustling us from all directions and, to say the least, it was not a pleasant experience. Feeling flustered and powerless, we managed to choose a boat that met our one requirement – an open roof deck where we could soak in some sunshine. As we were getting on the boat and the crew was preparing to take off, A and I were still feeling uneasy. Eventually, as they set sail and got going, the landscape, scenery, and calm waters quickly turned our anxiety into complete bliss and relaxation. It was the most peaceful 5 hours of my life and we just didn’t want the day to end. The food that was prepared on board was delicious and the fish was out of this world! The views of residents living along the lagoons and lakes that lay parallel to the Arabian Sea coast which make up the backwaters – doing laundry in the water, fisherman out on a day of work, waiting for the “water bus” to take them on land, and simply just going about their every day life was quite an incredible scene.
If you’re looking for an amazing experience to unwind and disconnect in total tranquility – I highly recommend that you head to South India for the backwaters of Kerala with good company and an even better book 🙂