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Danglevandangle
25th Nov 2014
Day 6 - Varkala (pen-ultimate day)

Day 6 - Last full day.

I woke earlier today with about 45 minutes - an hour to spare depending on sandy. I opened my curtains and went back to bed, where i could hear much whooping and gaeity (no not that kind).

Every morning there was some kind of hoopla going on, on the beach first thing in the morning, either people playing cricket or football, occasionally a group of people pulling in the cath, sometimes yoga was taking place, but everyday there was some noise where people seemed to be enjoying their lives having fun and playing in the sea or on the sand.

I decided i'd better get up and maybe even go for breakkie. I was somewhat dubious to be honest cos if i eat too much i may find it hard to train, but if i dont eat, maybe i cant keep up the stamina for the entire two hours.

So i went for brekkie! Had my usual full english but only a very small portion of it. A few bananas and a couple cups of coffee later and i was done.

I went back to my room, hoping that sandy handnt arrived whilst i was in the restaurant, he hadnt, it was now almost 10:00 so i was sure sandy was due to arrive shortly. My training starting one hour later today as ajith had something to do first thing.

The minutes passed by and still no sign of sandy.. Where is he i wonder. Do i give him a ring?! I'll give him till 10:15 i thought still giving us 45 minutes to arrive at the house to begin training. I grew anxious waiting, trying to potter around trying to make myself busy, i kept checking my watch to check the time 10:05, 10:10 i'll give him 5 more minutes i thought.

When i arrived home last night to collect more cash to pay for my exquisite meal, approaching my room walking past the other two rooms, where, the english couple had once resided. There now were new-people. A family from Norway, they spoke really good english and so for a few minutes i had a nice chat with them.

The son being mid-late 20's had been travelling around India, starting at chenai, then mumbai then new dehli, calcutta, amidst a few other places i'd never heard of.

Upon arrival in chennai, he bought a motorbike, he was telling me, a Royal Enfield, which are very commin in india. Once a british bike produced in the late 1940's but to my knowledge production in the uk had stopped in about 1977 (could be wrong).

India, it seems bought the company and continued the range, which was clearly very popular in India as they were everywhere. It was very weird seeing these vintage bikes, which you can buy for only £350 which is probably much much much cheaper than you could pick one up from the uk.

We all had a little chat and i was telling them about sandy and how he was soo good to me treating me as a friend and taking me to see all the things i'd been to see. I said to them that if they were interested i could ask sandy for a telephone number of a friend so they could do similarly to what i'd been doing.

I said i would go and get sandy to arrange this, i quickly ran back, having retreived some spends, to where sandy had dropped me. But he was no where to be seen.. I walked up to where his stand was in case he had found a friend to chat to whilst he waited for me.. He does have friends all over the place, dont you know.

There was still no sign of sandy, but then all of a sudden he came zooming up the road his horn sounding diddle-iddle-iddle..

I told him of what had occured and asked him whether he had a friend who would like this kind of customer, he thought for a second, pulling his phone out and within another few seconds was dialing a number and then making arrangements with one of his close friends.

We walked back towards my room together, sandy having pre-arranged their driver to be on standby. We arrived back at their room where they stood outside, enjoying the view and a drink. The young lad had a guitar with him and he has began playing it and when we arrived they were singing.

As we rounded the corner the singing stopped and i apologised for the interuption but explained to them that sandy had arranged a rickshaw for them to use at their convenience. I introduced sandy and i nipped back to my room, as if i'd forgotten something but really just to give him some time to chat and explain all the things that they could do whilst they're here.

Anyway we left shortly after to pay the man for the remainder of the balance of the meal we had eaten.

So back to today, i saw bjork, im sure he said his name was Bjork.. Couldve been bjerk or bjurk but as he said it my mind pulled up the icelandic singer. I asked him whether sandy had been here this morning, perhaps i had missed his arrival somehow.

No, no i dont think so, he said, we have been in all morning and nobody but the staff have been to tidy room only. He said with a thick scandanavian accent.

I looked at the time on my phone and it was now 10:16 i began to worry as, you can set your watch by sandy. I decided to give him a ring, i got my phone out and unlocked it using thumb-print recognition technology on my new phone.. very clever i thought as my home screen popped up. My apps being now available.

Just as i was searching for sandys contact details as he came dashing round the corner.. Ohh sorry danny sorry sorry sorry. This morning i oversleep he said panicing. Not to worry i told him he was here now and that was all that was important, tho, i told him, i was worried i thought maybe you have had a crash or maybe your rickshaw was faulty somehow..

We set off and sandy trying to make up for lost time was zooming.. Zooooming along now, i was getting a bit behind with my blog so whilst waiting for him to arrive i had been typing up the previous days events, and i also began to re-jig day3 which didnt read correctly as we trundled along, stopping for, what is now, the obligatory kapaparams, i couldnt seem to go without them now, as they were a really good source of energy just prior to training without making me feel full or manifesting in a stitch, which occasionally happens if i eat to soon prior to training, but kapaparams were fine!

On the way to training i noticed sandy wasnt his usual perky-self, he seems down. I asked him if he was ok, he told me he was but still i could tell he was upset about something, there was an obvious elephant in the tuktuk, if thats even possible, but i was leaving soon, this really being my last ful day as i had to be at the airport really the day after the next day, but tomorrow night i would be leaving for the airport for an early morning flight.

I broached the subject of me leaving, testing the waters with my big toe, to see if it was this or something else. It was! He was going to miss me, he told me and it felt as if he has been on holiday too, and therefore his holiday was also coming to an end.

I then saw something very upsetting. As we drove out of one of the little towns we went through, en-route to the training, (warning: some readers may find the following paragraph, upsetting).

There was a small puppy in the middle of the road, he had obviously been knocked over very recently, maybe one or two cars prior to us. He was on his back with his legs in the air, he couldnt get back on his feet and was yelping continually.

I shouted to sandy: STOP THE RICKSHAW!!

He refused. He said it was a dangerous place to stop as it was on a big blind bend. I knew what he meant but still i pleaded with him, "we have to go back sandy, please" sandy exclaiming, it's not like that in my country Danny, the dog is considered a common animal, is not sacred in any way and therefore we dont need to help him.

I explained how it was in my country and how dogs are very important to man, mans best freind, somewhat with a bit of ferocity in my voice, not directed at sandy but at the fact i couldve helped the little dog at least moving him out of harms way.

I looked back out of the rear window but i could no longer see him. Assuming that the next vehicle down the road wouldve hopefully squished him, putting him out of pain and mysery.

I was quite upset, almost in tears. I thought of max, and a few friends back home who have dogs and it filled me with sadness. If only i couldve jumped out and rescued him, i kept telling myself.

I couldve made a difference and it wouldve been easy, to do so but yet i was powerless to do anything. The journey swiftly continued, rounding corner after corner.

I told myself, this is India. It has its ways and customs, as we have our ways and customs.

Quite soon after, we arrived at ajiths house and went up to the roof as before. I kept thinking back to the dog, hearing his yelps in my head and i was still a little sad that i couldnt save his life.

Nevertheless, my training commenced.. and it was awesome. We bowed in as before and i had to demonstrate the 'set' i had learned the previous day. I wasnt very good cos i couldnt remember in which direction i had to go. I kept getting angry face and 'no wrong'.

But after a little practicing i had it right, it still needed fine tuning but i had the movements in the right order and going the right directions with each movement. It is really quite tricky!

We then went onto working with a stick. tho not a kuan, as i would know it, as my kuan (stick) is 6 foot, this one was short about 2.5 foot perhaps the length of your arm.

Ajiths friend suresh, was showing me some techniques, again fairly similar to that of kung fu, but still different, yet using the pressure points or 'malma' in hindi, and arm locks to disable ur attacker thus rendering the situation quickly resolved and in doing so removing the weapon, to use as your own if the situation were necessary.

He went on to show me how you could slide the stick, accross someones wind-pipe, then applying a lock which would obviously and quickly make them pass out.

But then he showed me how to get out of that lock, from my perspective, so if you were ever in that lock, you swing ur arms round like 'butterfly stroke' in swimming, locking the stick underneath each arm pit as you do, then bending down as if your touching ur toes, and with a twist of the body, you become released and now have the weapon, putting you in the driving seat, so to speak.

All of the technical stuff was filmed so that i can watch it again and again, practice more and more and hopefully improve.

I was absolutely loving it. Eating up each technique, which went on to form its own 'set', although each of the techniques can be changed, altered, adapted subject to the specifics of the fight.

I would like to say a few things. Firstly, as with my own style of fighting, the only reason they should be used, is for self protection.
I dont learn Kung fu (and other martial arts i've dabbled in) to create violence, or start a fight. It is a means of dealing with a situation, ending it peacefully and quickly, using only, adequate and necessary force.

In the eyes of the law if someone attacks you you are entitled to defend yourself with equal and necessary force.

Ergo; if someone comes at you with a stick, you can use said stick, once retrieved to defend yourself against your attacker, in theory, Whilst you call the police. Obviously keeping him in somekind of lock which he cannot get out of.

Secondly; if anyone is interested in learning any of the techniques i learned, or in fact any other techniques from kung fu, which i know far better, then get in touch and we can arrange it, as it could, one day, save your life, or maybe that of your family or friends. Food for thought.

Thirdly; After the training, i needed to go in the sea again, but in stead of going back to the leela hotel as we had done yesterday, which is just past my hotel, we went to a different beach at a place called Samudra. We had been there before at night time when the view was less spectacular (you may recall when the shadows were a bit eerie)

As we arrived we navgated the small path which lead down. As we arrived on the beach, a few people came to find out what i needed, fruit, sarongs, sun-loungers etc, when they realised i needed only the sea and the sun they quickly vanished to try and get more punters.

Sandy had taught me a word in malyalam, for "go away", which is eithdr, pula for a man or puli for a woman, apparently its not polite but it gets rid of them quickly! i hadnt used it yet cos i didnt want to be rude, but it got to a point on this beach with one particular man, who kept insisting on standing in my sunshine (not happy). I very nearly broke out my best native tongue, but i was polite and asked him to kindly move away, when i calmly told him i only needed the sea, sun, beach and peace... he got the message and left with his tail between his legs.

I went in the sea and had a swim, the sea here was a bit calmer, not much but a bit, than the day before, so i could just lie there and enjoy the gentle tide pulling and pushing me, the odd occasional wave catchin me out and splashing my face making me put my feet down. This would happen every fith or sixth wave or so. But not always as sometimes i would prepare, and then nothing, as soon as i relaxed. Woosh! Cought cought splutter splutter.

Today i had brought a towel for sandy to lie down on the beach too. As i had not thougjt of this the previous day. It was still slightly overcast and a bit sticky, but yet it was still quite nice, i was enjoying every minute, i kept thinking to how cold it would be when i get home.

i left the waters edge after i'd had enough of the sea for now, and i went and sat on my towel where we relaxed for a good 15-20 minutes.

Now since my religious education i had decided i wanted to buy some momentoes of india, so i had been searching for three main gods. Shiva ganesh and ayypan.

The money exhange place was where i bought my first, i found shiva, who was easy to find as he is most popular and therefore almost every shop had their own shivas, both for their shop, so to bring them luck and also for sale. All In various sizes.

When i was at the markets a few days before i forgot to mention that among the shops i saw, THE most common shop was a spices shop, there were spices shops which sold fruit, spices shops which sold wooden statues, spices shops which also sold phones, watches and gadgets. Basically nearly every shop sells spices, even at a barbers shop i noticed spices for sale. Im sure if you were to walk into a shop which doesnt sell spices, and asked for some spices, lets say at the workshop, im fairly sure there would be some out back you could buy, most likely from their own stock.

So we called in to a few spices shops, looking for ganesh and ayypan. I managed to find a wooden ganesh quite quickly and after haggling a bit and getting to the foot of the door, the man almost halved his price, so i bought it, almost feeling like i was ripping him off now..

Ayypan was proving very illusive, and being particularly difficult to find, sandy had told me that there was a very good shop near kerala's capital, trivandrum but he still had a few aces up his sleive before we went all the way to trivandrum.

We tried shop after shop after shop, but no-one seemed to have ayypan. Time was ticking on, and my belly began to rumble as i had bearly eaten anything at breakfast so as not to fill myself up, making me lethargic for the training.

I gave sandy another remit! I think we need some food i said, lets stop for lunch, sensing that sandy was probably hungry too. So i told him, i want a nice place where i can maybe get a nice seafood platter, has to have a good view of the sea, somewhere i wont be hassled and not too pricey.

His mind whirred like a computer powering up, i could almost hear the cogs turning. We werent far from kovalam, so he said maybe we should go to the samundera beach. Not to be confused with the samundra beach we had previously been. (It gets very confusing cos there are several place names which are so similar in spelling and in sound, with just a few letters difference)

We pulled up a short distance from the beach, like maybe a good ten minute walk, i said to sandy.. This isnt the beach, he normally parked so close to the beach we could almost fall out of the tuktuk and be touching sand... almost. But today we seemed a good 5 min walk at least.

Sandy told me there was a reason he hadnt pulled up that far and the reason was the hotel we had arrived to the right of, i had quite overlooked. This was where he has in mind for us to go to lunch. I looked to my left and thru a big archway i spied the light azur waters of a swimming pool.. Ooooh nice!

That works, i said, i will sacrifice the sea view for a pool view if the food is good. Sandy told me that he loved bringing people here cos the quality of the food was excellent. Fair doo's i thought, i cant argue with that.

We walked in to the property, and instantly i felt very relaxed and happy, apart from the sea view he had checked all the boxes i had set in my remit (as he always does). We sat down ordered some drinks as i began perusing the menu.

This place was of really good quality.. The rooms occupying both pool and sea views, having balconies on both front and the back of the hotel, and the rooms looked very spacious.. Not too far at all, from my place either. So i decided i would get some prices, if i wanted to come again to kerala i might consider staying here.

The menu was good! Exciting! Many different choices, all sounding very nice, and quite familiar, incedentally the restaurant was called "Molly's" which is a nice english name, so i enquired whether this was english owned as the menu looked like it had been very carefully written by someone who had a good understanding of what british punters enjoyed, but also how to dress it up to make it sound like a banquet, rather than a single plate of food. Very clever, i thought!

Each meal sounded really nice, i dont know whether this was genuinely just because of the way it was written, or because i was really hungry now my belly grumbling and it seemed a bit alien to me having really only seen indian menus which had spelling mistakes. Words which were not really belonging in a menu for instance, along with many other excentricities, making each menu unique in some way, usually for the wrong reasons, gramatically or logically. Even my own hotel menu had mistakes but this one was clean, crisp, precise. Well written!

I considered the steak, then the gammon, then thought i'd go with mixed grill, when i happened upon a seafood platter, fairly similar to that id had at the curry leaf, but this time i could also see the price 1400 rupees, (£14) oooh! thats good value ! Remembering the 35 quid one from before, so i had decided i would have this, sandy ordered his usual, fried rice with veg.

We had been talking recently about his diet as he rarely eats any protein at all. I kept saying he should order some fish, or chicken perhaps. He stuck with his fried veg and rice.

The food came after about half an hours wait. In the mean time a man approached our table and sandy, looking happy to see the man, as it was a friend of his, he has friends all over the place, you know!

They chatted and he introduced me at which point we shook hands, before they went back to conversing. When our food arrived he left us to eat, but soon after we were done eating he came back over and the conversation continued once more. I could see that he and sandy were close, by their body language and the frequency of the laughter, and the speed at which they spoke.

It was nice to see sandy relaxing and enjoying himself, smoking like a bbq, drinking beer and eating his staple diet. The food was Deee-Lisssh! Eating as much as i could force down me.

Sandy bid a fond farewell to his friend, who also shook my hand apologised for stealing sandys attention for a few moments and then he thanked me for allowing them to catchup, sandy's friend telling me, it had been a long while since they last saw each other, which had been evident for me to see really.

Very polite, very polite i thought, of him to thank me for, he hadnt disturbed me at all, really but yet he was so thoughtful to apologise and thank me. He scurried off and i having already paid the bill we got up to leave.

I had to take some pics of this wonderful boutique hotel, which was literally an oasis among the hustle and bustle of the samundra town area right outside.

With all the excitement of his friend arriving tho i quite forgot all about my desire to price it up, to compare to the "toms inn premium" where i had elected to stay. Thinking to myself as i had realised i'd forgotten, i can probably do so more quickly via the internet when back home anyway.

We got back in the tuktuk and we began our search once more for ayypan. time had been ticking by with still no sign of him anywhere, we still hadnt managed to find ayypan. sandy told me ayypan was very important as he was whom, Kerelans, preyed to, for protection, as you may recall, if you've read each day and been paying attention! Lol have you? Good!

A few shops later and still no signs of ayypan. Sandy told me that the easiest place to find him would be where they do the pilgrimage to the temple, at the temple there are many many shops selling statues of this god.

Take me there i (jokingly) exclaimed! Sandy almost revolted with, its too far danny, it takes maybe 1 or 2 days to get there by bus and train, maybe 4 / 5 by tuktuk. I told him i was joking and then releived he burst out laughing, we laughed as drove on looking for the next shop! I think we're gonna have to go to the shop in trivandrum, i said to sandy looking for confimation this was a good idea, he agreed, so we pulled a U-turn in the road, waiting for a few vehicles plants and animals to cross first.. Yes.. plants! There was a cactus we had to wait for, i think he was going for a haircut!

Selecting the right directions to head for trivandrum, taking a left, then another then a right, then a left. This went on for sometime, the roads changing with each turn, from tarmac to dirt road and back again, and back again.. Again. Again. Again...

Eventually we were on a busy highway with many vehicles journeying along to their own destinations various.

Along the way we would occasionally stop at a spices shop which sold the bijoux wooden objet d'art. Each place we tried was to no avail sadly. Each place trying to sell me something else instead.

They're very good at up-selling and switch selling. U go in to buy one thing you come out, needing a elephant to help carry ur purchases home, and they'd probably sell you the elephant too if you wanted it.. However today i was taking no prisoners, we needed ayypan only, if they couldnt oblige we quickly left thanking them profusely for their help and making a sharp exit.

Sometimes not even giving them chance to turn the light on enabling us to see, only the mere dim light of the adjoining room, just enough light to quickly check, to see from the ones they had ayypan was not among them, the light then flickering on, as we were about to leave, so we had a double check in the light, nope, still not here, where the shop keeper would join us to begin her sales patter. And we'd then have to battle our way out the shop like some gauntlet of obsticles she would offer, to us, for us to object to, for her to try and counter the objection, as we inched ever closer to the door. I breifly considered making it into a tv game show! Lol

Sandy told me there was one shop where we were sure to find Ayypan, if anywhere. Then this woild be the place, it sounded like a last chance saloon, sandy telling me if not here then maybe you come next time. Sensing the tone wasnt great i said, ok, lets try that one last shop.

We arrived about 15 minutes later. This is a government shop sandy told me, as in it was run by the government, therefore all prices were fixed, tax was additonal and a wrapping service was also commonplace. Oooh wrapping i thought, i breifly pictured indians taking on 'eminem' and 'fifty cent' tracks on the kareoke but then thought naaah, cant see it myself. At which point i thought of the two indian dancers who were on Britains got talent a few years ago, when the one guy is dancing like Michael Jackson, then the other guy comes in sweeping the stage. I'll have to show sandy this on youtube later i thought..

(Click here to watch said vid) http://youtu.be/0wsygHiSWiw

We arrived at the shop, and as we pulled in i began to take some pictures as it looked as if we were about to enter a temple.

Upon entry being overwhelmed by the sheer sizes of the wooden statues which stood outside, luring you in. There were two wooden elephants about the size of a medium sized dog, and then a gigantic statue of i think sarasouvi who is the dancing god, (i'll attach a pic so you can see).

We went inside and to save time sandy asked the people behind the desk whether they would have what we were looking for, they gestured towards the back section of the shop, to where there were more and more and more and more statues. This was like a wholesalers of statues i thought, all sizes, all shapes, all materials, everything you could possibly imagine.

The men at the back were helpful trying to find ayypan but we could not find it in wood, only a shiny metal which looked a cross between silver and tinfoil. Lol eventually and as i soon realised it was kinda this.. Or nothing, i bought the silvery statue!

Once we had left sandy said to me where would i like to go next as by now i had began to exhaust his list of places to take people when they're on holiday.

He began telling me of a black market in trivandrum where you can buy lots of electrical items. Naah ur ok ! I said thinking of what a black market meant; most likely stolen, or illigitimately gotten goods.

He said, so where... Hmm i thought as we drove around the busy city streets, sandy navigating us thru the busy traffic..

Ooh I know.. I know.. I said! Lets go to Varkala. Now varkala was somewhere sandy had been telling me about all week as it is one of his favourite places to visit. He told me that he had been there with some of his closest friends a few years ago and how it was one of the nicest resorts and if he didnt work in kovalam he would probaly work here at varkala instead.

But Danny, he told me this is nealy 75km or more away. Therefore we may not arrive back home till maybe 10pm. Perfect i told him! Lets go! He double checked, are you sure? He seemed reluctant to go. Yes sandy i'm sure, now lets go. We will need some fuel he said, i know this, so lets go to a fueling station and fill ur tuktuk up!

Fill it up? He questioned with an upward inflection sounding surprised.. Yes sandy brim it! So we have plenty of fuel! But danny this may cost nearly 1000 rupees.. (£10). I handed him 1000 and said.. Ok? Sure, sure ok, lets go.

I assume he doesnt very often brim his tuktuk as it seemed an awfully odd request. I think it mustve been because he added fuel but gave me 500 change.. Uh? Why did you not brim it i asked him. Because i think it is not necessary to do this, i think we need only 500 to get there and back. This wasnt really the point i had wanted him to brim it so he didnt have to worry about fuel.

We began our journey, i could tell he was quite excited about what lay ahead, he was smiling and bouncing around the pot-holes. He then told me, i'm very excited about going to varkala he said.. "It has been many time since i last visit".

People only drop there normally he went onto say, meaning i travel back alone. Ahhh i see, it all made sense now! He was excited cos he could show me all the things he wanted and still have company for the journey home! This is good danny, he said it is very good! Awww i thought bless him.

We were now blasting down the road, the quickest i think we've been. Even quicker than when we were going to get his tuktuk mended, zipping past all the other road users. He was clearly excited and happy to be taking me there.

On the way the sun broke thre the clouds and i allowed it to filter onto my face stickin my head out slightly as we went dow the road, as we did i was takin pics and snapping away trying to capture every last minute.

The sun felt nice, it was a shame we werent on the beach i thought frequently but we were now miles away from any beach or the sea. The traffic was really impressive.

I say impressive because it was heavy. Yet everything moved, very swiftly, sometimes there would be 4, 5 cars a-breast but they each moved over causing no fuss or dramas, just each flowing round each other like different schools of fish meeting in the ocean.

Breifly borrowing our side of the road to pass vehicles on their own side of the road, then we'd move back into the middle of our own carriage way to overtake something up ahead thereby joining the opposite carriageway.

We'd been driving for some time now and i was begining to worry that maybe sandy needed a break. I wondered how we were doig for fuel too as he'd only put in 500 not the full thou. I asked sandy to stop so we could get some coconuts. Id not had a coconut yet, except for with breakfast but there it was all nearly prepared. I wanted a rugged one from the tree.

We pulled over to the left next to where a man stood selling his coconuts. Sandy and he exchanged words and he turned his back on us, while he picked up his machette, off the side of the road, no sheath, no hook, just there for anyone to stand on, or trip over..

He then began Hacking into this coconut, choppin his head off with one fowl swoop, then he handed it to me, with a straw, for me to suck the milk out of the inside. He did the same for sandy, and so we drained the coconut of its milky goodness, which was really nice.

We then handed it back to the man for him to hack it some more so we could get the moist slimey fruit out of the centre. The roadside coconut selling man then hacked an extra slice out of the bottom and sandy showed me that you break this bit off to use as a spoon, to ge the flesh out of the coconut! Ingenious! I thought. They have an answer for everything! In the same way we do i suppose, just theirs is so much more natural. Like for example i was handed a recepit in an envelope at one of the shops i had bought something from. An envelope made from newspaper! It really looked quite arty!

We handed the man the empty shells once we'd finished and after paying the man, we continued on our journey towards Varkala.

We past towns and villages with many things to see as we drove. Sometime later we pulled over to the road side as we had run out of fuel. Sandy switched the tank to reserve and we carried on. And then we finally arrived in Varkala.

There are two areas of varkala the beach and cliffs and sandy had said we would go to to the beach first, then after, we would go to the cliffs which was where he liked it the most, as the views were spectacular.

He navigated thru the busy streets and immidiately i saw many white faces, it was very strange to see as in my resort its mostly indians except for in my own hotel. But this place was busy. Alive with activity, the usual shops bars and restaurants lined the beach, where a very strange thing appeared to be happening.

There on the beach in rows of about four deep by maybe 12 or 15 long, lay what appeared to be coffin shaped sand castles. All of them very neatly lined up and carefully finished off, with precision to form exact coffin shapes.

I asked sandy what was going on and he told me that there was some kind of mass funeral ceremony about to take place. This was bizzaare. I mean. Coffins on a beach!

I joked with sandy that i didnt really fancy waiting around to find out who was gonna end up in the coffins, so we left sharply, looking for a petrol station on the way to the cliffs.

When we arrived up at the cliffs i was transported back to Europe again. It was like a really classy spanish resort, with street artists along the front of the many many restaurants, one of them being called "Cafe Del Mar". It really felt different to my resort.

The restaurants were all at an elevated position one floor above the busy promenade, where the street vendors showed their wares, but wait.. Something was different here.. No-one was approaching me, no one was hassling me. No one at all, it was very peaceful. Now even with sandy by my side, i sometimes got hassle, sandy would say a few words and we'd walk off leaving them behind, but this was very different, you could look at what they had to sell, but if you wanted to buy something, you picked it up and someone would appear, as if by magic, like u'd rubbed a genie's lamp.

We walked thru varkala sandy saying hello to some of his friends. One of whom he said was his cousin-brother. We got to a nice restaurant where sandys friend worked outside of. They stood chatting for a moment when they gestured upstairs, where we made our way to, sat at the very front seats, perched high up on the face of a cliff with an infinity view.

The waiters appeared and handed us menus as i was taking photos of the views before the light had faded. There was no sunset to speak of, it just went dark. And as our food came the last of the light faded as we were plunged into darkness as we began to eat.

I dont mean there was no lights in the restaurant, of course there was but, the natural light i mean.

I had ordered a pizza my first choice of steak not being available. The pizza wasnt up to much either, basically it was a naan bread with pizza toppings and rather than the toppings being integral to the pizza base, they more just sat on top, so as you picked it up to eat, you had it covering your hands and falling back onto the plate, making it a bit difficult to eat.

I had given sandy the other 500, for the fuel, in case i didnt have enough to pay for the dinner, in which case i could offer them all i had in my wallet (i had 1500 in total) without handing over the 500 we needed for fuel, well, the meal only came to about 600 for both of us including drinks and stuff. So there was no need to worry really.

Once the plates has been cleared and the bill paid we headed back to the tuktuk, sandy telling me we had 20 minutes to get back to the tuktuk if i wanted to be home for 10pm which had been my bed time since arriving, well its what i aimed to be tho sometimes it didnt turn out to be. I told sandy there was no worry anyway as it didnt really matter what time we got back.

We walked back to his rickshaw and we set off once more in search of a petrol station.
He told me of a time he dropped a customer off at Varkala and when he left he took the wrong turn and went the wrong way for 15 miles where he quickly checked his mistake and turned back but then found himself out of fuel.

He had gone a different way back to the way we came, taking us under a fairly long tunnel, then straght back onto a high-way. It didnt seem the same as the one we'd pulled off so i checked with sandy we were going the right way.

We are going the right way Danny we have just joined at a different place. Aaah i see, i said, so where's this petrol station, worrying slightly about the situation, knowing we had less than probably ten miles worth of fuel.

We pulled over and sandy asked for some directions from one of the street fruit sellers, without having to get out of his tuktuk. They had a chat and soon we were, with a change of direction, travelling towards the much needed fuel.

We arrived and sandy got some fuel whilst i popped to the loo. I photographed a fire extinguisher as it was the first one i had seen since arriving there in kerala, except at the airport.

Sandy paid the man the rest of the 500 and we drove away and continued on with our 2 hour journey back towards home. On the way he told me stories of him going to varkala when he was younger and how he was taking a fare, at the time he was using his friend's tuktuk. His friend being the same friend of Pauls, back in London who's friend was the friend of the friend who had a friend who's friend was the friend who did the Khaladi martial arts training. Ie. Ajith!

So on his way back from delivering the fare to varkala he had quite a big accident on the way home. He was out cold and an ambulance was called and he woke up in hospital with his friends mom sitting there.

Confused as he came to, she explained that he'd been in a serious accident and because he was using his friends tuktuk they called his friends mom, so his mom had driven here at brake neck speed thinking her son was injured. So somewhat releived i imainge to find sandy there not her son, but feeling bad for him, she paid all his medical bills for him. Which he now pays her back bit by bit.

Sandy and his frend Giresh went the next day to retrieve the tuktuk. All that was left was the frame work and a few pieces of metal. The engine was gone, the pedals, the gears, the handlebars, the seats, the roof, the side panels, the wheels, the glass.. Everything stripped ! Nothing left.

Sandy had to pay his friend back for the tuktuk also so it has been costing him dearly, hence he has to work long hours to try and afford some money to pay back to his debtors.

He was telling me this in the strictest confidence, he said, i wouldnt normally tell people of this because they need to be able to trust me and if they see my scars the locals wouldnt get in my tuktuk which means i would have no business.. Ahh so thats why you always wear jeans, i asked. Exactly! He said. I felt very for my little friend as i could start to see his way of life was very hard.

I could also see i had spoilt him somewhat this week, which was also attiributing to why he was a bit low this morning he confessed. He is going to miss me he said, miss my company, but also miss the nice lifestyle i have afforded him, as he gratefully thanked me for everything i have done for him, in treating him so well.

It was very humbling to me that he was so grafeful of my help. It wasnt as if i'd done much really to be honest, he had charged me hardly anything for transport, really, or anything else for that matter, mostly charging me only what he himself spends. And yes granted i pimped his ride but that cost peanuts compared to the costs back home, but yet to him it truly meant the world.

Arriving back home, and he came in for a coffee, i wanted him to relax before driving off towards home as he'd driven for nearly 2 hours straight and i nearly fell asleep on the way home... and i wasnt driving!

We chatted while he drank his coffee and he smoked about 14 ciggarettes, and then he left and i went to bed.

Quite aware as i lay my head down that this would be the last time i actually slept there as the next bed i would be sleeping in would be my own.

I took one last look on my patio before turning in, with a towel wrapped round me, i stood there leaning on the bannister, taking a full lung of air, as if smelling india one last time. I stood for a few seconds, then remembered back to a few nights previous where i'd stood there to do some filming, to find myself eaten alive by mozzies. I quickly ran back in side my room, where i enjoyed the same view, just less risk of mozzy bites.

I brushed my teeth with my ayurvedic toothepaste i'd recently bought, and then went soundly to sleep.. 💤

Next: Day 7 - Departure Day #Booo
Previous: Day 5 - indian martial arts training begins!


Diary Photos

Wooden Objet D'art

Royal enfield

Coconut man

Funeral

Cafe del mar

Fire Extinguisher


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