From: Tommy Hermansen
Date: Thu Jan 18, 2001 12:00pm
Hello my friends, I’ve now made it down to Varkala in the Kerala district in Southwestern India. Bombay was way too dirty and noisy for my liking so I left after only one night at the Gulistan Hotel. My buddy Kjetil never showed up at the hotel that morning (he’d apparently been there the following day), so I decided to head south on my own. I had originally planned to go to Goa, but I met a couple of Finnish girls who were going to Kerala, so I tagged along. The slow train ride was a wopping 44 hours, so I got to know my fellow passengers quite well. Salla and Kamomilla were both students who were taking a few weeks off, from their jobs among the street children of Jaipur up in the north.
Varkala is situated in a popular tourist area, but is still quite laidback and quiet compared to the bigger beaches around Trivandrum and Kollam – not far from here. There’s only a few hotels around here, so most travelers are staying in private homes and chalets. My hosts are the Padmaviljasam family, and their house is right next to the local temple. Every morning around 6 am the Hindus are ligthing their firecrackers, which is the Hindu equivalent of lighting a candle. Only that this wakes up the entire neighbourhood!! Kamel, the 22 year old boy who’s acting as manager while his father is out working in Bahrain, is very fascinated by my psychedelic trance albums, and the minidisc walkman I’ve brought with me.
I got a room with bathroom for only 2000 rupees a month (400 Norwegian kroners), so I’m staying here until the 18th of February. The beaches are very nice and clean, and the Arabian Sea is soothing after being cooked tenderly by the scorching sun. There are some beach merchants here, but not as many as at the more popular places I’m told.