Sunday, 6 January 2008


Whilst away, we spent a night on a converted rice barge, cruising the backwaters. My little family of four lived like Maharajahs, waited on by three men who steered the boat and cooked lunch, dinner and breakfast for us as well as banana fritters between meals. Our hosts floated the barge along the waterways. We were not permitted to help. Instead we either sat on plush sofas or, and (how decadent is this?) lay on a mattress under a thatched canopy towards the bow of the boat. From there we took photos and observed the passing village life. If only life could always be so idyllic.

As night fell we tied up to a large palm tree. The local insect population then invaded and despite the cumulative effect of four bodies covered in deet, mosquitoes buzzed incessantly and moths larger and uglier than anything I see in Darlington landed on my shirt and trousers.

Whilst forcing me to appreciate the constitutions of the early British colonialists who presumably survived without insect repellents and air conditioning, it also proved that even the most apparently harmonious of situations can have a crueller, darker side.


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Andrea said...

sounds idyllic... until you reach the 2nd para