Five days of rest, relaxation, and bloody hot sun–and boy, did we need it.
Most people traveling in India for any length of time spend weeks in Goa to recover from, well, travel in India. We didn’t have any desire to visit Goa, so we found a beach elsewhere. Varkala was much lower key and had way fewer people–especially in the post-season, when we went. The weather was getting too hot for most, meaning no crowds. Fewer restaurants and stores were open, but who cares? We didn’t go there for the scene.
Avoiding the resorts farther up the cliffs and sticking mostly to the area around our pleasant $28/night a/c room, we found Varkala to be a great place to recharge our batteries. Most of our five days were filled with great views of the beach from the cliffs above, fresh fish every night, and the best body-surfing I’ve ever done. The water was warm and it felt like it genuinely wanted me to have a good time. In low tide, that is. In high tide, it threw me around viciously and it felt like the surf genuinely wanted me to break my neck. Still fun though.
- Wake up
- Eat breakfast
- Go to the beach for sun and swimming
- Eat lunch
- Nap or read indoors (out of the noon sun)
- Eat dinner
- Go to bed
What’s not to love?
There were a few exceptions, of course, little adventures here and there, such as:
–My one and only Varkala yoga session with a yogi I can best describe as “pissy.” He had supposedly written a book on yoga that was used by the Indian armed forces (what, did you think they did jumping jacks?) . He complained about my not wanting to commit for a full week’s “study” (because how was I going to truly learn yoga?), but I think that he was more pissed that he didn’t have any students, period. I was the only one who showed up for his regular morning practice.
–Planning the next leg of the trip, which required lots of time at the one A/C internet café on the cliffs.
–A homemade thali dinner in the backyard of Kumari, a woman Dani recommended to us, who made a special dinner for Natacha, I, and the British woman who co-ran the Internet café.
Varkala also happened to be a vacation spot for Indians as well. We met a lot of nice folks there, most of whom were curious to encounter westerners like us. Lots of families and students on weekend trips.
All in all, we got lots of rest and relaxation, and I read a ton of Salman Rushdie’s MIDNIGHTS CHILDREN there. Good times.