If it’s stops the depression on a bleak, miserable Monday in Blightly, the sun isn’t really shining in India, it’s probably about 32 degrees, so a bit muggy, but no blistering sunshine. That would be yesterday. 😉 Oh and a mosquito just added another bite to the rather fetching collection on my right leg.
So 3 weeks ago saw me slamming the door on a sham of a charity and heading for a holiday with the other volunteers. Indian trains are WICKED! They have about 50 fans attached to the ceiling in the carriage, people sleeping in the luggage racks, chai wallas who bring round the most amazing sweet and milky chai and coffee and lush scenery. The experience is infinitely enhanced by being in 2nd or sleeper class, unreserved is wooden benches all the way and the people take a little longer to warm up, but the scenes out of the window justify whatever seat you end up with!
First stop on my beach bum tour was Warkala, Kerala. Quite sleepy little beach town with a lovely run of guesthouses and bars/restaurants running across the cliffs overlooking the sea. Whilst the sun wasn’t really shining and we had to wait out some serious rain in the kerala coffee house, there’s nothing quite like the sea for purging stress from the system.
Next we skipped onto the train again for a fleeting stop at Kollam to try and get a houseboat up to Alleppy, but we got the bus instead and then hired a houseboat from there for 20 hours touring round the backwaters of Kerala. Absolute, pure, peaceful bliss, even when the monsoon chucked it down. And the best food I’d had in India, almost as good as the Sri Lankan rice and curry I make 😉 After a quiet night listening to Nick’s MOWO playlist (thanks Nick!) and reading by oil lamp, Melanie, Michele and I tucked into a hearty breakfast and moved onto Kochi.
Stashing our bags at the station we took a rickshaw into Fort Kochi, really peaceful part of Kochi, with Chinese fishing nets across the shore, the oldest church in India and a deluge of Catholics. We whiled away the rain in a restaurant where the seemingly nice waiter invited me back to his room… Indignant, we braved the rain and left for our night train to Mangalore.
Considering my issues with sleep I was surprised that when I climbed into my tiny berth I fell asleep straight away and pretty much slept through until morning when we were woken by the cries of “Chai Chai Chai Kappee Kappee Kappee”.
With a few hours to kill in Mangalore before our next train we set out on foot, scouring a predominantely muslim area for food during Ramadan (not my smartest moment) and visited the Chapel of St Anthony’s where the walls and ceilings are covered with paintings and quotes from the bible, looks a lot cooler than I’m describing it, honest!
Next a 5 hour journey turns in 8 hours, a not uncommon occurance, but at last we arrive in Margao Goa, grab an autorickshaw to the bus stop and catch the last bus to north goa as it pulls out of the station. So tired I actually fell asleep crammed into the back of a rickshaw with about 25kg’s of rucksack on my knee, but woo-hoo Goa!
Marmite Chappati’s and nescafe the next morning as we tried to deal with our dissappointment that Goa has more western food on the menu than indian, no Masala Dosa for breakfast or Idly and Chutney And then my friends, catching some rays on the beach and the weekly flea market before a big night out for full moon with Matthias and Chris, Trance DJ’s from Sweden, who we’d met on the beach.
So it’s full moon, we’re in Goa, with Trance DJ’s… but alas the trance parties we associate immediately with Goa aren’t really anymore. Music licences finish at 10 pm and we’re about 6 weeks out of season. But we gave it a go at café mambo, danced away to some cheesy tunes and stayed up until 5 am at Vichy’s trance palace enjoying some of the local charras.
With my first hangover in India, I think it was lucky the sun wasn’t shining the next day and we took the opportunity to head over to Panji and Old Goa for a bit of sight seeing and a night in sleeping in dirty sheets in the most minging guesthouse yet before heading down to Palolem the following day.
Good old facebook put me in touch with a friend of a friend, Greg, who lives out here running a Kayak business, and whilst out for dinner bumped into Michael who I’ve not only worked with now twice but also has a flat 30 seconds away from mine. With the world as small as it is, it felt only right to get quite drunk.
And then the days blur into idleness… at some point I said goodbye to Michele and Melanie who headed back to the charity, moved back to Anjuna, watched many DVD’s, met Lucy, Matt & Swaati, got wasted, went on a rave finding mission & failed, lost my camera, did a bit of yoga and learnt the art of relaxing.
My yoga teacher and Caty hit the Ashram on 16th October so it’s about time I got on the road again. Planning to visit Hampi and head back down south via a quick stop off to say hi to Zoe who’s working in Bangalore and maybe some temples and ashrams in pondicherry, thanjuvar & trichy. After I get another bleeding camera that is..
Anyway, I’ll be surprised if you’ve gotten this far, I won’t leave it this long again, I promise, if only for your attention spans.
Start planning your holidays next year, Big Chill Goa, mar/apr anyone? 😉
Love to all