For many, Kerala is synonymous with the Backwaters. A wetland region criss-crossed by canals, where people make a living through some combination of rice farming, or fishing. The backwaters--and the people whose daily lives are intertwined with this environment--are incredibly beautiful, and as a result, are one of the premier tourist destinations in Kerala. Luckily for us, they also happen to be right where one of my potential new field sites is located.
Men (wearing traditional lungis) getting mangoes down using a bamboo pole.
Tourists explore the backwaters in one of several ways. First is via houseboat. These boats only go out for one evening.
We opted to take a small boat that is a wider than a canoe and is covered. It's called a shikarra. It even came with lounge chairs with strange cartoon characters on towels!
We went out for two hours, and it was pretty incredible.
Jo tried for a while to get Miles to nap on the bed, but he just wanted to snuggle.
Snuggle and play.
Riding in the boat through the small waterways provided an incredible snaphshot (or series) into everyday life for many Keralans. Not surprisingly, this includes extensive interaction with the natural environment for subsistence.
Fishing with a net from the dock
Perhaps the coolest thing we saw was a man hunting with a bow and arrow for fish!
He was kind enough to show us his catch--what appeared to be tiny piranhas?!?
People heading to church in a canoe
We're already looking forward to our next trip on the backwaters, perhaps we'll end up taking a houseboat!