Gokarna’s stench

From: Tommy Hermansen
Date: Fri Feb 23, 2001 7:08pm
Subject: Gokarna’s stench

Greetings earthlings! I was finally able to leave Varkala after five wonderful weeks lounging in the sun down there, I guess I only had a mild case of the well known Varkala Syndrome, the one that makes you never want to leave the place. Other people I met had been there for over two months, and where suffering from it quite badly. The last weekend was especially fun, when I and my Malteese friend Neville organized a techno party on the Papanasam cliffside on Saturday night. I also got to play myself, my first DJ gig ever! But we didn’t use a mixer, luckily – or else I don’t think I could have pulled it off just as successfully. The people seemed to have a great time, jumping around screaming their heads off. We also conected a microphone to the amplifier, so that Gert a Tabla player from Berlin could jam with us while we were playing out our records. After that, Jen – a vocalist from London joined in as well. Good fun indeed!!

On the train from Varkala to Karwar, I met some Marine Biology students from Goa. I was invited to visit them when I get up there in about a week’s time. I got to Karwar station about five o’clock in the morning and standing there waiting for the bus to Gokarna were Emma from Cork and Lucy from Halifax. They’d done the same as I had, quit their jobs for travelling around Asia. They were working together as radiographers at the st. Bartholomew’s hospital in London before going on their trip. We got on the bus to Gokarna, and after a bit of haggeling and paying a couple of extra unforetold rupees we finally got to our destination. Gokarna is a dirty stench ridden little town on India’s southwestern coast, about 50 km south of Karwar.

There are several good beaches around here, and my favorite so far is Kudle beach, just about 20 minutes walk to the south. The other ones further down south are also very nice, but the sand and the waves at Kudle are really special. Gokarna is also very important for the Hindus, and right now there’s a big festival going on here, so the streets are packed with pilgrims from the areas around. Yesterday I had lunch with some people from Belgaum and got really sick afterwards (Dehli Belly), so today I’ve just been relaxing indoors – drinking loads of water compensating for the massive fluid loss. Toworrow I’ll hit the beach again with Emma and Lucy, and our Danish friends Rune, Martin and Andrea. The place we’re staying at here in Gokarna (The Shanti Nivas) is really clean and quiet.


Lazy days in the sun

From: Tommy Hermansen
Date: Mon Feb 5, 2001 6:58pm
Subject: Lazy days in the sun

Today’s been another totally relaxed day on the beach. I have to cover up my bare head while sitting in the burning sun, so I won’t get a sun stroke. Yes – bare, my head is completely bald now. Just wanted to try how it was like, and I like it! Maybe I’m just getting bored – and needed something to do, I don’t know.

I met a couple of wonderful Dutch people the other day, Pantho and Jasmijn – brother and sister from Amsterdam. Jasmijn is working for Amsterdambackdoor.com a well-informed website containing everything you’ll need to know for a great night on town in A’ dam. Pantho who’s an Architect student told me he’s ganging up with some friends in Calcutta about a month from now (Jasmijn is heading back home). They’re going trekking in the Himalayas for several weeks, and I might be joining them later on. I’ll need some camping gear and a visa for Nepal; I’ll get that in Calcutta.

Nature here in Kerala is really breathtaking. I’ve never seen so many palm trees!! – whole forests full stretching all over the Papanasam cliffs. Below them the white sandy beaches, and the Arabic Ocean pounding on them, with it’s impressive waves. Bodysurfing is a very popular but dangerous pastime, and I’m getting the hang of it now. Last Friday night we had an out of Monsoon downpour (which rarely happens) – the sky opened up on us for about an hour, and afterwards we were treated with several hours of fireworks by the lightning strikes out over the sea. My German friends and I just sat mesmerized watching the show from the cliffside, and hopefully Helge who works for the ARD TV got some good shots of it all which he could post on the web when he gets home.

I’m not leaving this wonderful place yet! At least not for another couple of weeks.