Christmas in Kerala

Trip Start Sep 03, 2006
Trip End Jan 30, 2007

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Flag of India  ,
Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Getting to Varkala was probably the biggest joke of the trip.  We went to the train station ... no train till 11 pm ... too late.  We went to the bus station ... every bus was packed so tight we would have surely suffocated.  Back to the train station ... still not convinced the train is a good bet.  What about a taxi?  It was a staggering 1800 rupees - but we were tired and did not want to wait another 5 hours for a train that would put us into Varkala until 2am.  What could go wrong?

The simple answer is EVERYTHING.  Did the car break down?  Yes.  Did the driver fall asleep at the wheel?  Yes.  Did we get lost?  Yes, temporarily.  Did we end up getting there at roughly the same time as the train?  YES!  But hey, you live and you learn and then you realize that when it comes to India there is no one right answer - particularly when it comes to transportation.

Varkala was amazing - and definitely one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever been to.  The water was the perfect temperature, the waves were decent enough for some body boarding, and the palm trees were doing there swaying in the wind thang.  The place was surprisingly calm for a tourist spot during the high season - no complaints there.  All the restaurants had tasty food if you knew how to order correctly and are willing to wait triple the normal time.  The stores were full of all the typical touristy tiny tops and crazy pants ... weird shoes, chunky necklaces and salespeople who were IMPOSSIBLE.  Would you believe that they actually made me feel uncomfortable at being in their shops ... yikes.
We had Christmas dinner at the local Taj ... it was a nice buffet complete with outdoor seating and a live Indian dance performance.  The food was not AMAZING - though Tobi seemed to enjoy the steak a bit too much - after is fourth serving I thought he would stop ... but in India you eat when you can as he says.  I think he is right.  Truth is, you never know when you really will get your next good meal.
We rented bikes on the first day - or the boys did actually.  I just got to sit on the back and take pictures.  YEA!  We ended up doing a bit of discovery and found a great coastal road that went through a series of villages.  The people were so friendly - our favorite was the man who randomly began to dance in the middle of the road as we passed .... or maybe the little boy wearing the santa mask who posed for a picture.

I got to see a Kathakali performance with Johannes - the newest addition to our trip.  Sweet guy who let me borrow his shoes after someone STOLE MY SANDALS ON THE BEACH.  I mean REALLY - whats that all about.  It was great ... pics here tell it all.  The skill demonstrated by the dancers is stellar ... I was truly terrified by the demon ... and somewhat embarrassed by the beautiful lady when she smiled ... the characters were so elegantly portrayed - the costumes were crazy - the makeup an art.  In my opinion, this is a must see if you visit Kerala.

We are off to a house boat now as we have finally booked a boat ... thank goodness that pressure is off - it was so difficult to make the reservation - yikes!  High season certainly has its low points - one of them is trying to get your plans straight without all the hassle.
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