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Monday, November 19, 2007

Alapuzha, India -- Celebrating my birthday!

Photo courtesy of Kerala Tourism

I spent my 30th birthday in Hawaii, but my 38th will forever be remembered for being a half world away, on a houseboat, floating down the backwaters of Alapuzha (also known as Alleppey) on an overnight cruise. Alapuzha is about 25 miles south of Cohin. In the picture above, Smita is getting onto the boat as we arrived in Alazpuzha.

Our boat had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a sitting/dining area, and a kitchen. We had three staff members, including Sujeesh, our cook. Above are Cindy and Smita in our little sitting and dining area, near the front of the boat. Below, our cook, Sujeesh:

Alapuzha has been described as the Venice of the East. Interlocking canals and backwaters took us through villages that sat on thin strips of land. We joked that the people there could only walk from side to side as their front yards and back yards were all water. Coconut trees and banana trees were everywhere.

As we gently made our way, we were approached by a fisherman on a boat who wanted to sell us tiger prawns. Now these were no ordinary shrimp. They looked as big as lobsters. We bought a couple for Sujeesh to cook for dinner. Here's the story of the prawns in pictures:

At night, we docked by a rice paddy in a small village. We got off the boat to walk around the paddy, and met a young villager named Sundhi. His English was very good, and I think he liked practicing with us.

Me with Sundhi in the rice paddy:

Other village children bringing us flowers:

Smita at Tea Time:

Scenic Views:

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