Wednesday, 9 July 2014

of red cliffs and black sand.

From my journal, on the twenty eighth of June...

As all of you at home plunge deeper into the dark days of winter (which, from what I hear, can only be described as Arctic), we are sitting on the grass of our hotel, under a frangipani tree, the monsoonal waves of the Arabian sea crashing onto the sand 10 metres away from us. We are lolling, relaxing off a huge morning beach walk and subsequent feast of a lunch. We are listening to the waves, the urgent whistle of the lifeguard in the background. It actually doesn't sound so urgent anymore. It is so frequent- sounding as soon as anyone gets their shins wet- that after a few days it becomes merely irritatingly insistent. 
We have made friends with a dog. She sleeps on our balcony and we feed her our leftovers. She is with us now but she won't sit on the grass because it is too prickly. Her favourite time- apart from leftover o'clock- is when the cleaners leave the cushions and sheets to air on the grass. Her name is Ana.

The ladies who work here have just, in a sudden burst of activity, gathered all the coconut halves that have been baking in the afternoon sun into baskets on their heads. It smells faintly of sewage, but only faintly and we are too relaxed to move. The breeze above our heads is tickling the palm fronds but failing to reach us We are waiting for a skype call. There's that whistle again. 
We are at Varkala, of the red cliffs, black sands and strong waves, and we leave to tonight on a train.

So it seems I wanted to paint a picture for you all, as I sat with my journal and reminisced on our week that was Varkala.

We walked, sometimes, past fishermen and grazing buffalo and boys collecting coconuts. We ate breakfast with our hands to the sound of fire crackers exploding respectfully at the temple across the road. We tried to sneak past the lifeguards who weren't letting anybody swim.

We enjoyed the quiet heavy stillness that is Varkala in the monsoon season- shops boarded, restaurants dismantled and people who would rather have a midday nap than harrass tourists- as we wandered those red clifftops and looked out to the rough Arabian Sea.

At Varkala time is spend your days doing nothing (or maybe you intersperse the nothing with a little walk, a bit of reading, a game of cards and a beer) but you don't get bored. Time seems to stand still but then you look up from your beer/book/nap and realise that a week has gone by and you really don't mind. 


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