12.27 on the water

today we hit the water... to explore the backwaters of kerala on a houseboat!

our captain meets us on the dock in alleppy. he's an older man in a blue luungi and looks like he's spent his entire life toiling in the sun. he smiles with his eyes. crewmembers take our bags and escort us to the boat. we board via a wobbly plank that is wide as my foot.

i've never seen a houseboat before. a giant gujarati shipwrecking town supplies hardware for keralan houseboats. the bodies i hear are made without nails or screws. ours has light hardwood floors, a lounge and dining table right out front. a framed jesus follows me with his eyes: "i am holy. i love you... but i am watching you!"

i ignore him and explore...

open air windows surround the boat and a hallway leads to bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen and crew's quarters. stairs lead up from the dining room through the ceiling. like a kid i scurry up, and find an elevated lounge, with an open-air sunbathing perch up top of that, looking out onto the waters ahead. this is my spot!!

and ahoy. we are afloat.

the backwaters are a little dark. there are numerous other boats out on the water and tourists size up each's watercraft: size, design, upkeep, speed, driver, crew and so on. it's a bit annoying. locals keep little boats instead of cars to scoot around in.

we cruise along a stretch of the 200km waterway and india is happening by the shore. people make their homes along the backwaters. a concrete built up "sidewalk" lines the water, houses behind it, farmlands and sunken lime-green rice fields extending into the distance.

the water sees all: bathing, dishwashing, clothes washing, teeth brushing, and who knows what else. it's kind of refreshing in a weird way. i feel like a voyeur watching everyone knee-deep performing their daily water-chores.

one degree of climate change
every once in a while we see bunches of greenery with purply flowers shooting up from underwater. this infestation of growth is new: the direct result of climate change. it's less than one degree of global warming, but the ecology of the backwaters is changing rapidly. i wonder if backwater lifeforms are coping, adapting, to this infestation and who knows what other changes. do people here care enough to do something about it?

my answer comes quick; a canoe floats by, full of recycling!

the crew are working really hard and bring us all sorts of food to eat. it's divine. i gobble it up and return upstairs to my sun spot. a little after lunch nap never hurt anyone!!

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