We’ve just spent a lovely and very chill few days in a coastal town called Varkala on the South West coast of India. The area that we stayed in was very tourist focused but a nice place to hang for a few days all the same – a very vanilla introduction to India I think. We found a great little hotel that was a few hundred meters from the main tourist walk, which was simply a little paved path along a cliff with the ocean on one side and little shops selling all kinds of wares on the other – clothes, bags, sarongs, sandals. All very welcome as I needed some light but long clothes to cover up which I found for just a few dollars. We also managed to find a big double sarong/blanket that it perfect for traveling with that has a huge African style mandala on it.

We spent our days hanging out and our nights at different restaurants watching Mark and Mitch playing a few gigs in exchange for a meal and some drinks. We also met a really lovely American guy from Alaska called Laughton who had lived a big life for a guy of 24 years and absolutely was absolutely loving life. Mitch gave himself quite the injury – no one is 100% sure what happened as the rest of us were asleep, but we know it involved alcohol, lost keys, balconies and a lot of blood. Either way the end result is a Harry Potter-like forehead scar, a busted knee and a very sore shoulder.

Yesterday we hired scooters and checked out some of the beaches to the south of where we were staying, ending up in a tiny little area where we had lunch and were the talk of the town – the hole in the wall restaurant was full of people by the time that we left.

We’ve left Varkala today and are on a train to a place called Alappuzha where we’re looking to hire a houseboat for a few days to explore the Kerala Backwaters which are apparently a world (national?) heritage. We’re all currently squeezed on to a train, taking up whatever space we can, though most of us managed to score ourselves the top bunk in the sleeper carriage because not many Indians want to jump up onto them. Not bad for a $1.50 train ride!

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