Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The House Boat


This morning at 11:20 we were on the house boat.

Having taken a tuk-tuk (one of the largest ever), and driving over bumpy roads past the canal, we reached the Tharavad (Tahr-ah-vahd) by climbing up onto another boat, walking from front to back (bow to stern?) and jumping from one boat to another.

If I remember correctly, the house boats were originally barges. They were turned into deluxe houses afterward. When coming on board, we were shown throughout the entire place— there are two bedrooms, which have a mattress underneath the beds in case of another person. Both bedrooms have adjoining bathrooms. There is a balcony, with a sort of leather-covered dais that overlooks the front of the boat. Behind it are chairs and a small table.

The entire thing is outfitted in what looks to be highly polished wood, though I suspect it's just plastic and/or linoleum on top of the actual wooden floor.

The captain and the cook on board showed us all around— and when we said goodbye to the person who brought us to the boat, the cook brought out five fresh coconuts— the kind where you wonder how much juice they can actually have in them.

After driving through the deep blue and green of the canals (there are waterlilies!) for hours, we docked at 5:30 to rest for the night. 

The five of us disembarked and headed for a walk. Taking a side road, we walked past the fields of what I suppose would be rice, past goats and a beautiful brown cow that frightened Ileana out of her wits when she turned around.

(Of course, that's normal— in Hampi a Swiss woman was scratched by a cow for not going out of her way to avoid the cow. Mom helped apply first aid.)

While walking back, I spotted a snake skin. It hadn't been there fifteen minutes before. It was still pliable, still a bit wet… and it was as long as I am tall, if not a bit more.

We took pictures with it, carried it a while, and then set it down before continuing on our way. As we reached the turning point to get back to the 'main road,' a woman who had been talking to her friend came up to us.

"This is very dangerous place to walk she told us."

We smiled with interest.

"Snakes everywhere."

"Oh!" we exclaim, laughing. "We actually found a snakeskin."

Showing her the pictures, the woman starts jabbering in the native language to her friend (it's completely different… it sounds somewhat like turkeys gobbling, but much more dignified). "Yes… very highly poisonous."

Rest assured we were on the Tharavad in record time.

The food is delicious, if a bit too spicy or bland at times. But then… isn't one of the things we set out for getting 'new experiences?' So why not kill our tastebuds for the sake of science?

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