Adventures in and around Varkala People had told me that Varkala is a pretty chilled out place, especially for India. They were correct. It’s an excellent place to enjoy life and just take it all in.
It helped moving to somewhere with a balcony, pool, and a sea view. It also didn’t hurt finding $100 bill. We gave it all away.
Lex and I having our standard 3-hour coffee and laughs at Cafe del Mar.
Watching the sunset daily from somewhere on the cliff top
Having dinner with Eyal, Lex, and Anna at Abba
Looking down the beach at loads of people. This wasn’t the kind of beach to wear a bikini. Tourists do, but locals stay on the beach and swim fully clothed. Even while I was wearing a dress on the beach, a man made a lewd comment and gesture toward me.
Going for walks along the cliffs and down to the beach
After days spent lazing in Varkala, it was time to take a little trip out of town. Lex and I rented a motorbike and headed north in search of some more remote beaches and local Indian flavor.
Crossing over the palm tree bridge to the beach in Edava
Locals were continually both fascinated and confused by Lex. They would say, “You look like Indian people,” and then probably think, but you don’t talk or dress like it.
We ended up getting a little bit lost… …but these boys were ready to give us directions. (My favorite part is hearing the brakes when the second set of boys pull up on their bike.)
After trying to give us verbal directions, the boys got on their bike gesturing for us to follow them to the nearest food stall.
Lex having a masala chai at a local tea shop
Quite accidentally, we ended up in Kollam, which had an India-meets-Coney-Island feel to it.
Roasting peanuts on Kollam beach – delicious
Other food stalls we were a bit too afraid to try
We bought a kite to give away to the first kid who wanted one
Lex getting his fortune told by a bird
Here is the bird fortune teller in action. I shudder to think how he was trained.
After Lex, I got my fortune told.
I got Ganesh!
Although my picture was different, the written fortune was the same. We figured he probably just had one version in English. “Don’t worry – be courage” the lesser known hit by Bobby McFerrin
Perhaps unsurprisingly, this place was called Mahatma Gandhi Park. It gives the sense of the Coney Island amusements, though clearly in India
One of the funniest things at the park was a haunted house, which seemed to have been both designed and operated by a group of 10-year old boys. They were enthusiastic to lure us into their dark, cavernous, house of fright. It was very cute and provided a lot more laughs than screams. OK, the one skeleton that popped up did scare me a bit.
Cute kids everywhere
After a fun day out, it was time to head back to Varkala, but, to continue with the theme of the day, we didn’t really know how to get there. At the gas station when asking directions, people pointed in two completely different directions, which wasn’t very reassuring. We decided on what looked like the more direct route. After at least 15 minutes of waiting at the railroad crossing this happened…
We ended up on a highway in rush-hour traffic and then it started getting dark. When stopping for directions, we were told a variety of ways, if people even understood us. One man corrected us on our pronunciation, “Oh, you mean Warkala! In English it’s Warkala. In Malayalam it’s Warkala.” Oh, I see. Now that we can pronounce it, how do we get there? After endless wrong turns, small village roads, near misses with buses, and hitting potholes in the dark, we arrived back in Varkala several hours later without even a scratch. Thank you iPhone, Waze, and Lex for being a tech savvy driver.
Back in the peace of Varkala
More coffee and laughs at Cafe del Mar. I am unsuccessfully trying not to crack up at Lex’s pose.
For the final day in Varkala, it was time to shop and have clothes made by the tailors
Burying and being buried in sand while fully clothed
This tailor, Anthony, finished sewing our silk items by candlelight…with a smile
It’s time to take a northbound train