Irish couple sets record for longest stay on Kerala houseboat

Kerala

An Irish couple has set a record of sorts for the longest stay on an ethnic houseboat in Kerala's famous backwaters in Kuttanad, the hub of the booming water tourism in the country.

Tom McNamara and his wife Teresa, who have stayed nearly for a fortnight on a one-room boat in Alappuzha, left the vessel with enduring memories of the scenic beauty of the region and hospitality.

Tourism sources here said this was for the first time that anybody had such a long stay in a houseboat in Kerala as so far they had guests for not more than five days.

According to Switen George, owner of Coco Houseboats, McNamara boarded the boat on January 13 and his wife joined him for the cruise a few days later.

"I just wanted to get away from the rat race, the pressure of everyday life and work. The houseboat has been absolutely a paradise," said McNamara, who runs a retail business with his wife in their native town of Tullamore, an hour's drive from Dublin.

McNamara, 53, had visited Kerala four times earlier and stayed on a houseboat at least twice but for not more than two nights on each occasion.

"Their plan was to stay for a week. Then I gave them a cruise plan which included taking them to lake-side villages and towns. They then extended to stay to another week and then went to stay till today", George told PTI.

Leaving the boat McNamara told George, "I was never bored even for one moment. You look out of the door and there is always something new to see."

The traditional food served on the boat by the two chefs on-board was greatly relished by the vegetarian couple. "The food has been of high quality," and the menu included rice, "aviyal and thoran", the culinary delights of Kerala, George said. Kuttanad cuisine, famous for fish curry-and-rice, duck roast, and boiled tapioca were also served with hand-ground green chilly chutney.

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