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Varkala, Kerela

Written on: Monday May 4th, 2009

A journal entry from: In the spiced Indian air....

Seeing the ocean for the first time from Varkala's cliffs completely took my breath away.  This place... I can't even put it into words how beautiful it is!  Coming here was kind of a fluke...  we had originally planned to get off the train 4 hours earlier in Kochi.  But we got talking and decided to start far south and work our way back up. It would save us time of backtracking.

The train ride this time was much more bearable. It was a little cleaner, and since our expectations were straight, we had a good time.  We were on board a total of 17 hours this time (7 hours longer than our trip from hampi to bangalore).  Coming into the state of Kerela was breathtaking. This place is completely.... and I mean COMPLETELY covered in palm trees. It's incredibly beautiful here - and I now understand why the Indian's call it "God's Own Country".  

So we disembarked at Varkala, a gorgeous little town of about 48 000.  There are little shops, hotels and bamboo huts lining the cliffs... and a few hundred feet below is a white sand beach with a surprisingly cool ocean!  We treated ourselves to staying in a Balianese-style bamboo hut for 350 rupees per night each ($9). We had real beds, real pillows, real towels, real toilet... paradise!

The men here (and some in Hampi as well) wear short Lungis and Dhotis, which at first sight look like towels wrapped around their waists.  Sometimes they even wear one with no shirt and cook our food.  Interesting!  But understandable since it's sooo hot here... I don't want to wear pants either.

We spent our first day laying on the beach again under an umbrella.  This was a mistake. The sun here is impossibly strong, but you don't know it until later when your skin is completely baked. I was even under the umbrella most of the time and my entire body is burnt. I don't think that umbrella provides any protection.

We had a nice western dinner of pizza and pasta with a frapaccino overlooking the cliffs and ocean, while applying Aloe Vera every 10 minutes to our extremely sore skin.  Also watched Slumdog Millionaire at another restaurant which was even more interesting now that we've seen Mumbai and the Indian countryside. 

We went back to the room only to find a cockroach running in circles around our floor. I'm sure you can imagine us two girls reacting to this situation. Jennelle bravely hit it with her sandal...about 5 too many times as the insides were spilling out and emitting this awful stench in our room. As if that weren't enough, while I was busy blockading the crack under our door to prevent any other visitors, Jennelle found a gigantic hairy grey spider on our wall. It was too much for us so we got the security guard to kill it for us.

Consequently, we decided to check out the next morning of our paradise and hop the train back north to a town called Allepey where we will surely encounter more bugs, but we'll be able to stay out of the sun and cruise around the backwaters on traditional rice barges.


From mom on May 4th, 2009

I think you did quite well with the cockroach/spider ordeal. I would have booked a flight back to Canada.