Varkala was a really relaxing, chilled out and laid back beach resort, just a few weeks away from shutting for the season. It was very quiet, tourist free and cheap way to spend some time before heading back to Oz.
The weather was pretty rubbish bar two or three glorious days which was a shame being so near the beach, but it didn't stop us un-winding and reflecting on the rest of our Indian experience.
We shared a cab from the airport in Kerala to Varkala with two hilarious Russian guys, who would end up being companions of ours for the ten days we were there. Good old Sergie and Edward, with their porno style speedos and translator iphone app. They made such an effort to develop their English, and almost managed to crack a few semi funny jokes by the end of our time together. They were at their most funny when they were at their most serious. If Mr Bean was Russian, he would have "bean" a mixture of these two guys. Mr Beanovich.
We experienced some crazy weather, and the night we arrived we walked through apocalyptic lightning and thunderstorms trying to find somewhere to stay and get a meal. The sunshine is nice, but the stormy weather will be what we remember for years to come.
The beach came alive in the early evenings, with people playing Frisbee, cricket and 'football.' (Have you ever seen Indians trying to play football…?)
Yoga classes took place amongst the crashing waves and people laughed and chatted with friends. The dramatic cliffs which over looked the sea created a great setting for an Indian sunset on a balmy evening.
In a weird way, the thing we will remember the most of Verkala, and maybe of India, was something we experienced one strangely warm night.
We were sitting at a candle lit table, sharing a beer with the Russians and an American guy, Walt, we met a few days before, when suddenly we were distracted by the waiters pointing in the distance and shouting. The restaurant about 5 doors down was on fire. Within seconds, the fire was blazing above the palm trees and spreading to shops which also set alight. Local children were running scared and tearful, and we all took it in turn to help the store owner's move their stock back away from the spreading flames. Running towards this huge fire to move stuff away is definitely something I will remember for a long time. Katie tried to comfort the children who had lost their parents in the commotion, keeping them calm and safe. The locals and tourists came together to fight the fire and after a traumatic hour or so things seemed to be under control. Lucky no one was badly injured.
The most memorable part of the whole evening was watching one old lady wale in agony, assumingly watching her lively hood burn to ashes, unable to hold back her emotion, standing still watching on, while everyone else moved at 100 mph around her…..
Lazy, if anything…
The next day, work was already underway to re-build the shops and restaurants, hopefully by next season they shall be up and running again.
I was ultimately very grateful for meeting the Russians. One night, as Katie and the rest of the world slept, I was unable to sleep (which has been a theme of the past 9 months or so…)
So I decided to watch a film, which turned into a 'Harry Potterthon,' I was into the 4th movie and cruising. However, my boat hit a huge ice berg in the form of my Dr Dre headphones. One of the protective rubber ends had managed to come off as I rolled over and inserted itself into my ear. Like proper in my ear, down the canal, so far that it couldn't be seen and I could feel it touching my brain.
In a slightly nauseous and twitchy manner, I woke up Katie expressing my concern that my ear had eaten my headphone and I had about 10 minutes to live. Watching the fire service take 3 hours to turn up to fight the fire the night before, left me without huge confidence that a doctor would be available at 4am on a Friday night on a cliff top about 30km away from reality.
Suddenly, Katie remembered, Sergie's father was a doctor in Russia, so therefore, Sergie must definitely 100% be able to perform minor ear surgery. So at 4am, and with me freaking out slightly, Katie went and knocked on the Russians door and told them what had happened. Not that I could hear what she said.
Just imagine trying to explain that your boyfriend was watching 5 back to back Harry Potter movies, when suddenly, and with no warning, the rubber part of his headphone had lodged itself inside his ear canal, causing him to become deaf, feel sick and twitch slightly.
The broken English being spoken by a Russian man sitting in his Y-Fronts and rubbing the sleep out of his little eyes, would have been hilarious to see, but more importantly, it meant Sergie may be able to save my life.
In he came, in his pants, asking me to bend over while he got Katies tweezers…. I was equally concerned and then humoured by his sign language for 'tweezers..'
However, I was in no position to mock him, so I bent over and let the Russian man enter me. He was gentle but ruthless, forced his way inside my ear, and with skill that only a doctor's son would have, removed my headphone protector with Katies tweezers.
This moment is now referred to as the incident.
It will be sad to say goodbye to India, a place where we haven't even scratched the surface. There is so much more of the country we want to see, and the more we learn of it, the more we love it.
India is not a place to go if you are looking for an easy first experience of travelling; it is challenging, but ultimately so rewarding and beautiful.
Nic and Katie xx