Saturday, 16 May 2015

More of India

Selfie in Varkala, Kerala

It's definitely not new news but I'm sure you can all relate to how time flies; already 8 months since my month in India and it's about time to update my blog. I'll start with the rest of my fantastic trip to India in September 2014.

After I left my friends in Pune, I decided to limit the amount of destinations I would visit and give myself more time for writing over doing touristy stuff so I stuck to the southwest coast, starting with Goa.

Walking around Goa

Goa was off season, which was probably better, certainly quieter. I enjoyed discovering the area, managing to get a good deal on a brand new hotel, and one of the only bars open on the beach nearby to sit and write to the sound of the waves. I gave myself a break from drinking and focused on writing - anything as long as I hit my daily word count. Developing texts from random ideas, brainstorming for the theme of the novel I'd write in November for NaNoWriMo. On the other hand, I didn't like the big tourist feel, I had a tough time finding good food - aside from a couple of exceptions it was generally sub-par and overpriced touristy fare. Many of the better restaurants were closed for the off season. I moved on South to Kerala with the night train after a few days.

The famous Chinese fishing nets in Fort Kochi, Kerala

I loved what little I've seen of Kerala and would definitely go back. It was touristy but the off season was a plus, and generally it's pretty laid back. The food and weather were fantastic - just the end of the rainy season, not high season yet. I found some lovely spots to spend time writing and enjoyed walking around Fort Kochi.

The backwaters of Kerala, near Alleppey

The main tour I went on was a day boating in the backwaters of Kerala and it was beautiful - I would recommend this tour, a day with a traditional row boat in the little canals, over spending time in a houseboat. Those are huge, the mass tourist trade and sheer amount of them have heavily polluted the waters of the lake, and they can't go in the small canals.

My last stop in Kerala was on the cliffs of Varkala, again very tourist but it was off season - it's a beautiful area as well. Staying in touristy areas worked for my schedule, I didn't want to go too far off the main roads this time to spend more time sitting on terraces writing (with wifi access) and off season Varkala was perfect for this.

I hesitated on the next destination, and in the end chose to come back to Pune and spend more time with my friends there, whom I probably wouldn't see again for a while. We managed to organise spending the last few days in Mumbai together. Four weeks had gone by in a flash, it was time to fly back to Europe and spend a few days in London.

Many people told me beforehand that I would love or hate India - I loved it. I loved the atmosphere, the food was awesome, and the people were great. It feels like a bit of a mad-house at times and I'm not certain I'd want to live there though I definitely want to go visit again and experience more of the country.

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