I want to be like water. I want to slip through fingers, but hold up a ship. – Michelle Williams
My next two destinations – Kochi (Cochin) and Varkala provided me in many ways a short escape from the sometimes challenging travel conditions in India, as both places are crowded with tourists, which gives them in many ways a more Western touch. I found myself staring at people in bikinis and shorts, as well as couples showing affection, as if I would have never seem something like this before. Apparently I dived so deep into the Indian culture, that it felt somehow wrong and not appropriate to me, so in the end I stuck to my long trousers and suffered in the heat, although this would not have been necessary at all, but well… 😀
Let me point out my three main highlights in Kochi. First of all, a boat tour in the backwaters – I chose an eight hours trip on the canals, including lunch and pick up from the hostel (Vedanta Hostel Kochi). Don’t get me wrong, the trip was nice, the scenery beautiful and I was lucky enough to share the boat with some really nice and interesting people, but… It was long. Incredible long. The boat kind of moved in slow motion, and the first part of the trip we passed by rather similar scenery with few highlights. I would guess 70% of the participants considered to quit after lunch, but in the end the promise that the interesting landscape would just start in the second half everyone stayed in the end. (They didn’t lie, the second part was far more stunning but I would still recommend to go on a shorter tour in a nicer area OR to rent a houseboat, if you’re in a group).
Second was my first yoga experience, for which me and Catherine, a girl from England, had to get up before sunrise. The lack of sleep was compensated by the experience to do all the exercises on a rooftop, giving the Suryanamaskar (sun salutation) a deeper meaning 😉 I was still suffering from aching muscles after our mountain climbing in Munnar, but the instructor (a very solid lady) didn’t show any mercy but pushed us in the proper positions instead. Nevertheless, it was GREAT! The feeling after the whole torture was incredible, the breakfast tasted even better than normally and well, I ticked one point from my Indian bucket list – trying yoga while being here. 🙂
Finally, third were the Chinese fisher nets you find along the coast, that are operated manually. Although there were barely any fish around, the fishermen would show how the whole mechanism works, and I could take some nice shots, before I tried to escape – it goes without saying that they requested money the moment I turned to leave. 😉
My impression of Varkala was similar, and equally positive. However, I have to admit that instead of exploring all the surroundings, I stuck with the beach and some souvenir shops, where I spent plenty of time. I enjoyed good food (Kerala style fish in banana leaf! Yumm!) and nice company (special thanks to Matthew, hope we meet again soon and that you enjoy India!), went for the first time in India for a run outdoors (yes, finally in shorts! :D) and bought my first loose hippie-pants, which I simply love – best investment ever. 😀
Conclusion: Kerala definitely rocks, scenery is beautiful, and I turned into a real tourist for a while. 😀
PS: Lagging so much behind… On my way to Vietnam…