Went to Kerala for the weekend and spent Friday and Saturday morning on a houseboat in the backwaters of Kumarakom (photo set here). This was an incredibly nice experience. The boat, which had two bedrooms sleeping four people, cost Rs 4750 (that’s almost exactly USD 100) for about 24 hours of floating, drifting, idling, and relaxing (incl. a crew of three men, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a basket of bananas). You would think this sort of arrangement would involve docking at various villages where people would be lined up to sell us useless knick-knacks and handicrafts. Nope. The docking was entirely non-commercial in nature. The only up-selling attempted was: Rs 800 for a kilogram of prawns with dinner (not worth it), Rs 100 for 2 liters of toddy (kind of disgusting), and Rs 800 for a massage (we said no). Everybody, everywhere: go do this! It’s fun! (Caveat emptor: these are off-season rates. Prices include a fair chance of monsoons.)
POSTSCRIPT: Shout out to the nice people at the Tharavadu Heritage Home who kindly helped us arrange for the boat in exchange for, at best, a kickback from the boat’s proprietor (we didn’t give them any money, anyway).