Wednesday, 24 March 2010

The Southern Tip and Kerala

Kodaikanal was nice but boring. There wasn't much to do other than walking. I did a couple of 10 to 15 mile walks which felt pretty good, but the rest of the time it seemed like I was just watching the cricket with the Indian guys in the hotel. Anyway after a few days I was quite eager to get away, so I booked a bus to the Kanyakamuri. This is a town on the very southern tip of India, where the Indian Ocean meets the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. So it's quite a significant point, and a great place to watch the sunrise.
The bus ride back down the mountain was quite funny. The road was quite steep, and had lots of bends and potholes. So after a while quite a few people were leaning out of the windows being sick. I think 6 of the 15 passengers were sick. The sides of the bus must have been in a state. Anyway after we got down onto the plains it wasn't so bad.
We turned up in Kanyakamuri at 3 in the morning, which left me with about 3 hours to kill before sunrise. I ended up going down near the beach and tried to have a bit of a snooze there, but there were so many people around waiting for the sunrise that it was pretty hard. So about 5am I went down to the beach. It was pretty scummy really, loads of rubbish and some massive rats wading through it all. But on a little island about 100m out to sea there was a massive statue of a guy (I don't know who, but he looked pretty severe in the daylight). And the sun rose just behind him, which was pretty impressive.
Later that morning I hopped on a train (after having a more settled snoozie in the train station) to Kerala, which wasn't that far at all. My stop was Varkala, where I had heard there was a pretty nice beach and possibly some paragliding. Well the beach was pretty nice, and fenced in by some pretty impressive cliffs, but the tourist season was over, so I didn't see any paragliders, which was a shame. But there were a few cool people to hang around with in the hotel, and lineing the clifftop were a load of restaurants. Most of these did fresh fish and other pretty decent food. And they had pretty good views of the moonlit sea, and of the dozens of little fishing boats out on the horizon. It was pretty nice.
So I spent a few days there before heading up to Fort Cochin, one of the bigger towns in Kerala. The buildings were a mix of British, Portuguese, and Dutch architechture. The first church in India was built here. It was great to walk around these little streets, most of which were filled with antique stores. Before Isreal was formed there was a very high (and wealthy) Jewish population here. So when they left for Israel they left a load of antiques behind. There was some pretty impressive stuff around. One shop had 40m longboat in it.
Anyway today I move up to the next state, Karnataka. I'm hoping to see some bull racing, which sounds like pretty good fun. They race in a muddy field, and the riders are awarded extra points for getting the wheels of their chariot to splatter mud over a certain height. So that's that. Take care back home and have fun, Ben.

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