From Kerala to the U.S.A., hello from Emma Warman, guest blogger here to describe our weekend houseboat adventure here on the coast of South India. After an early morning departure from Thekkady on Friday, we arrived at the dock before noon to catch our first glimpse of a cove of the vallams, or boats, bobbing in Kerala backwaters leading out to the Arabian Sea. We split among three houseboats with our belongings, and voila, we were off! The waters were even more breathtaking by boat. Palm trees teetered over the water, tiny homes of fishermen and women lined leafy green peninsulas, and ferries full of schoolchildren jetted past us in an exposition of Lake Venpanatu’s vibrant backwater community.
Lunch was served aboard shortly after departure, prepared from scratch by the captains of each vallam. Fresh karimeen, or blackfish, fried to perfection with a tangy pineapple masala were served with tea and coffee to follow in the afternoon. Relaxation is always relished when you’re an India’s Identities student on the go, so when your professors hand you a sunny afternoon on a houseboat in Kerala, you take it and say, nanni!
The vallams were tied to palm trees on the coast for evening class time. With the permission of Brian and Amy, some students and I ventured into the rice fields along the shore to revel in the tall grass and indescribably green carpet that spread before us in 180 degrees. Before class, we jumped in the backwaters and floated until the orange sun slid behind a hazy palm tree horizon. South India’s vast diversity in geography and people, and the lushness of each place we further explore, has not yet failed to amaze me and I don’t believe it ever will.