Posted tagged ‘Kerala Back Waters’

“Resort” To Kerala

April 13, 2013

A prime reason to stay in a luxury resort hotel is comfort. The expectation is that the extra cost will protect you from some of the less pleasant aspects of life–fishy odors, power shortages, the need for a large pink mosquito net over your bed and the sight of a small hot calf tethered to the front porch. A resort hotel typically also provides little extras in the bathroom–shaped soap, shampoo samples, conditioner, and, you know, a ceiling.

We are in the Kerala backwaters not staying in such a luxury hotel. (When an idealistic person, such as a certain co-traveling family member, works a while for an Indian social welfare organization, the idea of paying the kind of prices charged by such hotels becomes highly objectionable.) So, we are having a much much cheaper eco-friendly experience.

It is lots of fun, mainly.

Well, right now as I retype this post onto my daughter’s teeny computer from my iPad because there’s no real wifi, while sitting under the mosquito netting, while firecrackers from a Hindu festival across the water feel like they are pounding at our door, it is a little less fun. And neither of us are truly looking forward to the rooftop-less shower. (It is more than fairly buggy here.)

But it is a lot of fun, mainly.

Turns out, of course, that the fishy smell isn’t actually the byproduct of staying by the riverbank, but the result of the hotel owner also operating a small fish processing plant on the property. The key for me – other than the odor – were the faded stenciled letters on the outside wall – “Finished Product Chute”.

But it’s truly a very small fish processing plant. Next to very small greenish pools outside. Staffed, it seems from the silhouettes of the small assembly line, only by women. And India needs all the rural employment it can get.

I cannot also say that it is super quiet here, as promised by the tour person who booked this for us in Cochin. There is one Hindu temple just below us that has hosted microphoned chanting all day, and one across the water that is celebrating a holiday with fireworks tonight. The prawn workers around the bend do not have a true building to work in, but do have a very loud speaker system–generally, they’ve played a mix of Bollywood and classical Indian; the children here of the hotel owner have a TV.; the adults another one. (The prawn workers’ music is actually sort of cool as is the chanting.)

BOOOM. (I won’t comment on the firecrackers.)

Still, there certainly is a kind of peace here beyond the heat stupor. (Boom zap zap.) In the daytime. And on most OTHER nights.

The canals shimmer with reflected palms.

And this particular little fishfarmhouse is also not so bad– the food is delicious and generous, the little calf does not seem ill-treated–it’s tether moves with the shade; when the power goes out, it usually goes on again quite fast(BOOOOM), and (BOOM BOOM BOOM), and though it is very very very hot outside, it is also incredibly beautiful. Green on green.

Still, one night instead of two, we’ve decided.

(I should clarify that the fireworks mainly just go bang; far fewer flares and sparkles.).

(Also I don’t know how many pictures I can post with the wifi situation. I may just get up the view from the toilet. Below. Tomorrow I’ll put up some of the ACTUAL backwaters .)

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