A Travellerspoint blog

February 2012

The last dance with dazzling India

Kerela & Mumbai

sunny 30 °C

Our last days in India were some of the most adventurous. The beautifully colored backwater villages of Allepy left us in tranquility. The volcanic stone cliffs and volleyball on Varkala Beach left us smiling. The strikingly rich suburbs and dirt poor slums of Bombay left us sad, angry and flabbergasted.

Our first stop arriving by train from Goa was Cochi, in the state of Kerela. This old fishing town was charming but did not hold our attention for long. We did some Yoga and watched some traditional Kathakali dancing. Within a couple days we decided to move on to other things.

Traditional Kathakali dancer
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Allepy, once out of the Indian city life and buried into the backwater canals, was quite lovely. Traditionally these large and small water channels are used for traveling and transport by local villagers. Allepy is a very happening tourist destination for backwater adventures, however the tourism is slowly taking over the tranquility as well as the very delicate ecosystem of the backwater villages.

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Allepy is said to be the Venice of India with its beautiful backwater canals.
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From Allepy we headed further south to Varkala. As soon as we arrived we knew we wouldn't be leaving this beautiful beach community for a while. Most of the accommodation, restaurants and happenings sat high above the beach, atop colorful volcanic cliffs. Almost anywhere (including our room) looked onto the never ending beaches below. It was easy to get caught up in the beach bum life. Yoga in the morning, beach bum during the day and play beach volleyball into the sunset. We met a good (very large) group of friends from all walks of life, it seamed there was never a dull moment. Days turned into weeks before we started thinking about heading to Mumbai. After a quick visit to the tourist grab beaches of Kovalom, we headed further south to Thrivandrum before flying to Mumbai.

Varkala Beach at sunrise
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Beach food!!
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Kovalom Beach
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Arriving in Mumbai was a true test of patience. There were not very many rooms available. The rooms that were available were either absolute shit holes and expensive or brand new and not affordable. We stayed in an expensive shit hole and neither of us were happy about it. We quickly saw why 60% of Mumbai's population live in slums and the other 40% have loads of money that they don't know what to do with. Regardless, we lived Mumbai to the fullest. Going to fancy restaurants and movie theatres. Boarding local trains in every direction to see the big city from a distance. Or so we thought. Instead we ended up smack in the middle of it. On a train with a capacity of 1800 with 7000 other people. Oh and did I mention they were all men? I reluctantly went with Eric into the slums. Its real, in your face, and tragic.

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Eric playing cricket with the local boys, I think he made the team!
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A very sad reality in Mumbai, I took this shot as we were passing by on the train. I think he was posing for me.
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Mumbai was a trip and although both of us miss India in many ways, I think its safe to say we are happy to be out of Mumbai. We are now enjoying the company of friends from our travels as well as friends from home. Its great to be back in the land of many smiles with familiar faces.

Posted by H-Dizzle 19:47 Archived in India Tagged beaches bombay backwaters varkala slums Comments (0)

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