Kerala is described in our guidebook book as “India showing its gentle and relaxed side”and when we woke up this morning to the sound of exotic birds we agreed that sleeping under a mosquito net feels both romantic and adventurous and Kerala is everything we had hoped for.

Alleppey is the main hub for getting a houseboat and Simon decides to go out fairly early and try and book something. The boats all return to Alleppey around 10.30 and I’m pleased when he comes back at 11.30 having booked us a boat for 110000 rupees (120 pounds). This is for 24 hours and the prices have risen considerably since the last Lonely Planet edition. The fella tells Simon that there is a huge demand for boats and although there are over 400 in this area we had no option but to pay up in order to get a decent boat.

We spend the day quietly at Cherukara Nest; the kids do an hour or so of literacy and write a comparison of Indian and English culture concentrating on food and the landscape. I am reading a novel by John Grisham and am pleased to spend the afternoon sat on the veranda. It’s very indulgent to do nothing for such long periods and far more relaxing than a holiday where we are usually busy trying to have a great time. I always try my best to get a sexy tan when we are away but as we still have 5 months of hot places to go I have found I’m not so bothered!

We sit and have a beer with an Australian called Liz who tells us some interesting travel stories about her previous trips around South East Asia and decide to try and get an earlier dinner. We put our faith in an auto rickshaw driver by asking him to take us to a restaurant and as usual this turns out to be a mistake as he takes us to the most expensive place in town. We have a quick look at the menu but as it is a set curry meal and costs 660 rupees each we ask him to take us somewhere cheaper. We end up at The Indian Coffee House which is in a good location on the beachfront and our total bill comes to 208. Much better value!

Back at the Cherukara Nest we head for an early night. The houseboat is booked for 11.30 in the morning and we want to be up bright and breezy in order to have a great day.

Christmas Day in Goa!! – By Ali (Finally!)

We have now come from Mumbai to Goa so that we can spend Christmas here. Goa has changed a lot since we came 5 years ago it has become a lot more commercialised , however it is still very good and were we are staying is peaceful. It is nice to be staying in one place for more than three nights, travelling is cool but a rest is well appreciated by us all.

On Christmas Eve it was really weird as instead of having a lovely meal at Nana and Granddads with our Aunty and Uncle, then going to bed early and waking up way to early the next day as you are so excited about your presents! But here there was a power cut and we had a Chinese takeaway in the dark and when the power finally came on we had to wait to go to bed as the mosquito coils burnt. As we waited me my sister and my dad all played cards, but when we got bored we played charades and that made it feel a little more Christmassy! So by the time we actually got to bed it was all ready Christmas day!

We woke up really late unlike usual a Christmas morning to a bowl of strawberry cornflakes they were ok until we smelt the bacon cooking down below! I and my mum were drawling on the balcony.

I got lots of sweets and chocolate as they would not be hard to carry and would probably be eaten by the next day. I also got a hundred pounds and a Jet Ski ride which I loved so much I used some of my money to go again the next day. On my second ride I was a lot more confident, I had already done a full 360 degree spin but unfortunately on my second attempt my Dad flew off the back and it was really funny.

We spent Christmas night at a 5star hotel and there was an amazing buffet. I had a small starter and main course as I was saving my self for dessert I had loads of strawberry coated in chocolate and a chocolate mouse a chocolate/strawberry jam log roll thing! It was heavenly.

We are now in Kerala and tomorrow we are going to live on a boat. On the way here we stopped off at Mangalore for New Years Eve the food was slow and not that nice but the party was great there was no countdown but fireworks went off and every one started shaking our hands over a 5 to 10 minute period of time.

I’m looking forward to the boat tomorrow it should be really exiting, but for now the hotel is pretty cool and a rest is nice.