Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Cleansing the soul with sea, sun and yoga

I was wondering today about language. Yoga. It's a perfect example of how we use a noun as a verb, with 'do' as our operative verb in this case. You see, in Japanese, sometimes words that are adjectives in English are actually nouns, and trying to teach someone else to get their head around this concept can be struggling at best, but the word 'yoga' is a perfect example. I wondered if in a few dozen years our language might evolve to the point where yoga has a verb counterpart. To 'yog' perhaps?

Enough musings for now. India. How can I ever live in England again?

Well, hence the opening paragraph, I was roped into a couple of days of yoga here by my darling Aya. Well, I say 'roped', I didn't take much convincing. It's always been a bit of an interest in one of those dark recesses of my mind. I've been trying to open myself up to some of the more... alternative ideas in life. I'm still a scientist through and through, but my attitude recently has stank of arrogance and all knowing, so I'm trying to knock myself down a few pegs. It's certainly more difficult to truly believe in golden energy when all I can imagine is a few neutrinos passing through me, and, well, everything else.

Still, I'm trying. It's certainly relaxing, and my muscles feel nicely stretched out now. The teacher was good enough we booked in a second session on the dot, and the second one was just as good as the first, with a few new things included. The kind of teaching I like, a little new, practicing the old. A shame we leave this beachside heaven tomorrow.

You may notice my writing is slightly less all over the place today. I was writing these at stupid 'o clock in the evening before, so frazzled, tired and wanting nothing more than to curl up and sleep. Now, I'm sat in a restaurant, munching on tibetan food and feeling highly relaxed.

Well, the last couple of days have been bliss. Fantastic seafood, cheap ice cold beer, sea breeze and feeling myself relax like nothing else could. Last night's sea food was particularly good, earning it a spot in my top 5 meals of all time. You have not lived until you have tasted snapper, caught an hour previous, tandoori oven cooked and dry rubbed with spices. Each chef seems to have it's own mix along here, and last nights was pure perfection to me. The fish was so tender, yet with so much flavour, perfectly spicy, wonderfully moist. The thought of having fish this fresh cooked this well back home made me laugh to myself, and Aya (who is used to fresh seafood according to her) watched with amusement as I practically gorged myself.

A word to the wise though, the calamari here is awful. Go for the fish.

From all of this you may be able to tell I love Varkala. I recommend it completely to any future travellers. There are 20 or 30 hotels along the cliff, so if you don't have a place booked, get an autorickshaw up to the cliff face (don't tell them you don't have a place booked, the commission racket is alive and kicking), a good place to ask them to drop you is the helipad. It's at one end of the cliff, where the path starts. Almost everything is along this path, shops, restaurants, hotels. Just walk up, enquire, ask to see a room. Everyone is pretty happy to help. Don't expect honest advice though, they'll all recommend their friend's restaurant/shop/hotel. Though amusingly I have had some backstabbing where our hotel receptionist endlessly praised his friends restaurant 2 doors down, and the waiter recommended the hotel up the way a bit. Woops.

So we head off tomorrow, an early awakening, a hectic auto-rickshaw ride, another awesome train journey, another rickshaw, onto the boat for an 8 hour meander down the backwaters of Kerala, and then try and find a place to stay in Alleppey. I'm quite nervous excited once more. It was strange, when we were coming from Trivandrum to here, we were boarding a train, heading to a new place, with our bags and little else, not enough rupees, no hotel booked, no way of getting to the beach area from the main town, and I felt fantastic. To this hour, I have no clue why I wasn't in full blown panic mode. Was I tired? Who knows. I'm not now anyway!

We've been planning a basic route north, and in a few days time we plan to be in Goa. Mmm, Goa. Looking forward to that! Some of the best advice we've had so far has been from fellow travellers. 'Go here!' they say, 'Fantastic place, 800 rupees a night, wonderful manager. Tell him we sent you, he'll give you a discount, trust me.' Between the advice and Lonely Planet, I think we'll be ok.

I've bought some traditional pants, probably paid too much in hindsight, I've been trying to refine my bartering technique. An American travel writer I met gave me some good advice, which I'm looking forward to put into practice. So far, my best method of saving money is by not buying souvenirs. It works great. How do I not by? Simple, get into the attitude of 'I don't need it'. Hee hee. Even though that doesn't always work, sometimes it does...

Well, I've rambled enough for now. As always, thank you for reading. The internet here is pretty awful, and power cuts happen almost hourly, so trying to upload pictures is a challenge in itself. We'll do our best!

Next post will be from Alleppey or Kochi I guess. Depends on what we find internet wise. Wish us luck!

Andy

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