This was the reason I came to South Asia. They are called the Backwaters. They are a 900-kilometer maze of canals that meander through a thick forest of palm trees. Glassy-smooth lakes flow into rivers that flow into canals so narrow you can touch both sides of the shore. With the lime green palm trees against a turquoise sky, it looks like you combined French Polynesia with Venice and kept out all the tourists.
But you kept the gondolas.
I met my boat captain at 6:30 a.m. I never understood his name but he was a tall, lean man with a gray moustache and gray hair he brushed back atop a long face. He curiously wore a white dress shirt over a black print sarong the Indian men wear tied up like long, baggy shorts.
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