Slightly confusingly, my blogs have got out of order; we went to Varkala after Munnar and before Christmas in Cochin. Mr Beet liked it so much that we were going to go back there again after Christmas, and therefore I was postponing blogging about it until then. But then we had to stay an extra three days in Cochin due to Mr Beet’s being unable to travel (Delhi Belly / Ooty Booty again – miraculously the only day we have both been well in India was Christmas Day). So now we won’t have time to return to Varkala.
Our trip to Varkala from Munnar had also been postponed a day due to Mr Beet’s ill health. We tried to leave Munnar, but after 10 minutes on the bus on the windy mountain road out of town, Mr Beet was distinctly green around the gills and we had to abort, go back to our hotel and put him to bed. The next day, we organised a private car to Varkala, which was expensive but more comfortable and less vomit-inducing than the bus.
When we eventually got to Varkala, we met up with one of Mr Beet’s old workmates, who had come for a couple of days sun following three weeks of trekking in Nepal. Mr Beet jumped at the chance of having a drinking buddy, but most of the premises in Varkala are not licensed. However, this is not a problem; you just have to drink your beer surreptitiously out of a mug rather than a bottle. I’m not sure that the authorities are entirely fooled by this ruse, but nobody seems to have the heart to enforce the licensing laws, so everyone is happy.
Varkala is pretty touristy, which we didn’t actually mind too much as our illness has rather dampened our enthusiasm for Indian food. I’ve been having fantasies about mashed potato and spaghetti bolognese, so it’s nice to have some Western food options during our recovery period.
Varkala is popular with the hippy / yoga bunny crowd. There’s lots of dreadlocks, baggy trousers and Paulo Coelho books. We spent our time chilling out on the beach and swimming in the beautifully warm Indian Ocean. After having a rather tough time in India, this was a chance to properly relax and we took full advantage of it.
The guidebooks warn you that some local men make the trip to the beach especially to perve at swimming tourists. Considering all the stuff that is available on the internet, or even on MTV, it seems rather sweetly old-fashioned that there are people who still get their jollies from the sight of a woman in a two-piece swimming costume. All the Western tourists were wearing swimwear and the perverts, if there were any, were perving discreetly. However, it is certainly true that Indian women go in the sea fully clothed in their saris, while Indian men go swimming in their pants. Hardly fair.
In order to enhance my relaxation after a day lounging on the beach, I booked in for an Ayurvedic massage. First I had a head massage, which was so relaxing that I went into a sort of trance, and then a full body massage that was pretty thorough! The oils the masseuse used left me smelling like a sort of curried mince pie.
More photos of Varkala are available on Mr Beet’s flickr page.