Dadu Aur Madak


From Kanyakumari we crossed the foothills of the Western Ghats to the Kerala coast. The first really developed beach coming up from the south is Varkala. We reached Varkala just before New Years, and the clearest waters that we had found beckoned from below the headlands. A walk along the cliff tops will take you to Black Beach (right) about a kilometers walk from the roads end at cliff top.

The beaches directly below the cliffs attract everything from the impromptu cricket game (left), to an early morning yoga session. Kerala is world renowned for its Ayurvedic medicine, and attracts many who have come to practice healthy pursuits, as well as those of us content to loll about the beach. Note the guy in the highlighted area. In the blow up below, you see that he is so confused about why he is here that all he can do is scratch his head.

The thing that really struck us about Varkala was the density of foreign tourists, and the segregation of them. The cliff top (left) was almost completely void of Indian tourists. Instead there is a stretch nearly a kilometer long that is a pedestrian mall where every other place was a restaurant, travel agency, guesthouse, or chotchky shop selling things mostly from other parts of India at grossly marked-up prices. Varkala Town's beach that was approachable by car, on the other hand, was crowded with Indians enjoying the beach in their way (right). The yellow clad pilgrims were the same as those we had encountered on the roadsides in Andhra Pradesh walking barefoot to the Venkateshwara Temple at Tirumala. Below is a close up of a multi-ethnic "sand castle" on the Varkala Town beach.

We are going to SKIP AHEAD now to Mumbai, and I promise to try in get back and fill in the blanks at some future point. My lazing about on the beach, coupled with the logistics of hooking up with Lalli's man to get the bikes sold back has put me way behind. I had hoped to get caught up in Mumbai, but a cut under-water internet cable in the Arabian Sea had left Mumbai with interminably slow connections. We have now actually been in Bangkok for a week working on the much more costly and difficult process of purchasing bikes here. But more on that later. The "NEXT" button on this page is temporarily disabled until I get off my lazy *#% and fill in the missing pieces.