It is known as “God’s Own Country” but it is really just India. We arrived fresh off the train the other day in Trivandrum and decided to try to go directly to Varkala, about 50 km north of the city. I tried many different places by telephone, but either could not find anything available or felt like they were being dodgy about prices. After about 45 minutes of calling guest houses and trying to hear anything over the roar of trains, people, PA announcements, (why do local telephones in India all have to be outside where you can never hear what is being said?) and all other loud things, we decided to stay in Trivandrum for the evening – easier said than done…
You see EVERYTHING affordable near the train station was taken by early afternoon. I mean EVERYTHING! We ended up spending way too much at Wild Palms Home Stay which was actually very nice and included a typical Keralan breakfast the next morning which consisted of rice noodle patties with shaved coconut and a coconut curry that was reminiscent of a Thai coconut curry- very delicious. We tried to go to a movie in Trivandrum and that fell through as well- it just wasn’t our day. So we had some dinner and went back to the room to go to bed.
On first glance, Trivandrum is a very clean city- full of the normal hustle and bustle of other Indian cities, but somehow different. People are more educated here and most that I talked to speak at least some English. Kerala’s government has been Communist since the 50s and that may account for the push for literacy- which is amazing for a developing country at 91%! A strange thing about Kerala that I have notiiced is the absence of street dogs- I mean they are gone in Trivandrum itself. I think I saw one street dog the entire day.
Next day, we took the state bus from Trivandrum to Varkala- which does not go straight there by the way- just ask at the bus station which bus to get on- people are very helpful in Kerala.
So here we are on the cliffs of Varkala overlooking the Arabian Sea. I’ll post more about this beautiful place later.