02.02.2013 - 02.06.2013
as it goes, the only thing to write about chennai is that there's nothing write about it.
madurai was the temple.
so, the train. i took a night train from madurai to kanyakumari, the southern most tip of india, where three seas meet. it left at 1.50am and was running late. i ran into the only tourist and chatted with him a bit, then a train came, i hopped on, found a woman in my bunk, told her she was in my bed, and slept on and off. i woke up an hour before my scheduled arrival time. i asked a woman near the bathroom how much longer to Kanyakumari. "Later," she said. "2 more hours," another said. i switched to a bottom bunk when it opened up and looked out the window periodically. then we got to whati was told was the last station. oops. had i missed my stop? no. i was on the wrong train. ha! luckily, it was daylight, and the 4 men traveling together in my section were headed to the same place, so we took a rickshaw to the bus, then a bus to Kanyakumari. i found a place with an ocean view (and, as i learned, a place right next to the road) and visited the temples. then i ran into a canadian at my place who was in search of a quiet beach. we met up with an indian guy (from the wonderful Chennai) and went to a quiet, beautiful beach. naturally, the first question out of the indian guy's mouth was whether or not i was married. ugh. we all had a conversation about women in India, as the masogynistic nature of their culture is becoming clearer and clearer to me, even in more liberated Kerala. he said, 'yes when women get married they are more like slaves than wives'. i asked him why he laughed when he said that and he got uncomfortable.
unfortunately, the canadian had to take a bus out of there, so i was stuck having dinner with the indian. i thought, great, here is my personal tour guide to tell me about indian food. within about 5 minutes it became clear that he thought it was a date and he was pushing to have beer or wine. gross. i brought up my imaginary boyfriend and said i had to go.
so, at this point, i would say i enjoyed only madurai.
then to varkala. i took2 buses and got there in the afternoon. BLISS. super touristic, but just what i needed that day. i stayed at this great place called Shiva Garden. i stayed in the dorm for $4/ night. on the rooftop of buildings, there were mats with mosquito nets and communal toilet/ shower. perfect. a lounge area, a yoga area, and good people of all ages. there was a beautiful cliff, along which was a path of shops and restaurants. it wasjust like thailand and i was okay with it. the beach was nice and warm, perfect and long enough for a run in the early mornings (running! finally!).
i spent most of my time with a german guy who ended up being the male version of debby downer, eesh. but i also hung out with a cool american woman from Utah and a Belgian, so that wasreally good. after a few days of beach and doing mostly nothing after 8am, i woke up and knew i had to leave.
so now i am in Kovalam Beach, which i knew was supposed to be more touristic, but this is where my ayurvedic doctor is. oh my, sooo many old people here! totally different energy here- way overpriced, way boring, not funky or hippy or backpacker-y at all like Varkala. i'm super bummed, to be honest, though maybe it's best that i take it easy anyway. more about Panchakarma in next entry...