Varkala’s Expensive Little Sister

So me and Jill had rocked up to Trivandrum in the pissing rain and did that thing where you ask every other person where the actual fuck you’re meant to catch the bus to Kovalam because Indian directions often involve a vague hand wave in a general direction with a “and then you turn left… left left left” thrown in. The bus stand for Kovalam isn’t too far from the main bus stand, it just seems longer when you have to stop every four paces to accost the next person who so much as glances at you to say, “Kovalam? Bus to Kovalam?” The rain isn’t actually too bad. I mean, it’s the kind of rain which drenches you in seconds but it’s a pleasant temperature and let’s face it, you were already soaked to the bone thanks to your oozing sweat glands.

One good thing about cloudy days is the fact I can make full use of the dramatic filter on my Olympus TG-2.

As we jumped off the bus at the other end we bumped into another couple I’d briefly met in Alleppey who advised us that they were leaving, they hated Kovalam because it’s a complete rip off. Hmm… ok. Varkala is pretty expensive too to be fair but I loved it there. I mean, anywhere where there’s a high concentration of western tourists, multi-cuisine western tourist restaurants will pop up selling unimaginative Indian dishes along with Chinese food, pizza, continental breakfasts and lemon nanas because clearly, no one comes to India to eat good, traditional Indian food. Nope.
We checked in to Vedanta Wake Up! (don’t forget the exclamation mark) which is a chain of “budget hotels” which charge way more for a dorm room than anywhere else in the whole of fucking India. Seriously. If you book online through HostelBookers or Booking.com you can get it for around ₹500 which is more reasonable than the ₹700 they usually charge. You can generally get a decent double private room with attached bathroom for that in India, buuuut not in Kovalam it seems. Kovalam wants all of your cash monies. You might as well hand it your debit card with your PIN jotted down on the back.

Kovalam at night.

This particular Vedanta is set amongst some pretty lush greenery though but I think the recent rains have flooded the area and now it’s dengue fever waiting to happen. And and and! A fucking monster watched me shower! I have’t seen an arachnid this chunky since Bolivia when our jungle guide found us a tarantula to photograph. From a distance. Whilst panicking slightly. I fucking hate them. I was halfway through showering when I spotted the fucker and managed to compose myself enough to get dry and dressed rather than streaking through the dormitory stark bollock naked whilst screeching incoherently. I don’t think Jill would have forgiven me for that one. It’d require a few months of therapy and a retinal bleaching to get over that sight.

The local mosque in Kovalam.

Anyways, we went for a wander along the teeny tiny little seafront where we discovered that Kovalam totes makes Varkala look like a budget holiday to Rhyl. I’m not even shitting you. I mean, if you’d come straight here from London then you’d think you could buy the whole bastard place with a flick of your Platinum Amex, but arriving from anywhere else in India you find yourself scanning the menu for the cheapest item before trying to find someone who wants to go halves on a bowl of plain rice with you.

Vizhinjam Lighthouse

Kovalam is a beach town and it was very much not beach weather unless you happened to be some manner of web-footed waterfowl. Fortunately, Kovalam has a back up plan… Kinda… Ok, so there’s this lighthouse you can go up for some pretty awesome views and I’m a sucker for a view. So I did that, then me and Jill wandered in the vague direction of anywhere. There’s actually some good aimless strolling potential here. We ended up in a fishing village where men in mardanis untangled and repaired nets and I didn’t have the bottle to ask them for a photograph so I settled for taking photos of the boats and the mosque instead.
There are loads of little roads and footpaths that lead who knows where and at one point we were sort of, well, lost. Or temporarily unsure of our position. Which basically means lost but don’t want to admit it…

Here’s a few fishing boats because I was too shy to ask the fishermen for a photo.

That was pretty much Kovalam then. Jill planned to bail the next day because hanging out in a beach town in the rain is about as fun as having your face chewed off by a chihuahua on steroids. I decided to stay on because I still had a million years (might not actually be a million) to kill before heading back to Varkala, and Kovalam is a good base to head to Trivandrum, and Trivandrum has a zoo I wanted to put in my eyeholes.

Kovalam, Kerala, India
Stayed at: Vedanta Wake Up! Kovalam Beach

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