>Travel Pictures


Kerala - Varkala

Fort Kochi - Kathakali dance - Backwaters - Alleppey - Ferry Ride - Varkala - Kovalam - Fishermen - Trivandrum
After an overnight experience in Kollam replete with tumble down hotel, dirty sheets, no food at the restaurant, mosquitos, and no electricity, we took a quick cross lake taxi to the rickshaw stand to grab a ride to Varkala. Things got off to a rough start when our rick broke down as we were leaving, but after a few tense minutes of roadside repairs (supervised by Alea), we were back on our way.
The men in Kerala - which is more tropical in heat and humidity than is Bombay - wear a wrap called a mundu that allows air to 'flow' all around as well as provides easy access for sanitary functions. I love the fact that this guy at the left was hanging out, smoking, as he waited to fill gas tanks at a service station! 

We also passed stands selling bananas. There's not really anything too unusual about that, except for the fact that there were red bananas! We've never seen those before and were quite fascinated by them.

When we finally rolled into our hotel in Varkala, we were a bit apprehensive. Billed as bamboo huts, we weren't really too sure what to expect. Well, Susan fell in love with our open-air bathroom and the cottages seemed comfortable enough. 

We got our things moved in just as it started to rain, so Alea and Breck did a little "Let's all rejoice that there is water in the air" dance outside.

Varkala is noted for having beaches that hug dramatic cliffs, and we found that this was certainly the case. A notable drawback of this set up is that all the refreshment stands are on the tops of the cliffs, which makes for a long walk when you are hot and really looking forward to a cold drink!

On the other hand, the beach and the waves were fantastic, and there were even lifeguards. Of course, as you can tell from the picture at right, we were glad we never had to rely on them. This is a great picture: the plump lifeguard, facing away from the water, chats on his mobile phone while smoking a cigarette. Awesome!!

Over the next three days, we did little more than sleep, eat, walk the sidewalk along the cliffs, and play on the beaches. As we walked down the promenade at the top of the cliffs, we did enjoy some almost-spectacular views of the cliff. They could have been improved just by having people clean up all the litter, but we have come to accept garbage as the one true constant of life here in India.

But there were certainly colorful and beautiful sights for us, from flowers in the morning right outside a cafe...

to a young helper at a clothing store (where Susan found a shirt she liked so much she bought three identical copies!!)
We ran into an old friend painted on a palm tree, and passed under fluttering Tibetan prayer cloths draped from many of the trees and balconies.

But, the bug focus was swimming in the ocean. The kids discovered boogie boards, and had hours of fun riding the surf in. The beach area was shallow enough to walk quite a ways out, and the crashing waves got everyone soaked and salt filled.
When the sun went down, the swimmers went home and the hippies came out. We were serenaded by a saxophonist (who had some serious "ommmm" music coming from a portable speaker he had set up while another yogist was busy cleansing his inner self.

We decided to make a midnight swim, and then daddy snapped a picture as the others came in, capturing them at their finest (this is his favorite picture from the entire trip!!)

Fort Kochi - Kathakali dance - Backwaters - Alleppey - Ferry Ride - Varkala - Kovalam - Fishermen - Trivandrum

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