We haven't moved at all since our last post, the beachside town of Varkala is simply too beautiful for us to depart! The sunsets over the Arabian Sea are amazing, the food is tasty, and all the people we have met are very nice, both Indians and other (mostly European) tourists. We are planning on staying in Varkala for just about two weeks, which means we've only got a few days left here. We'd been saying for days (around 5 straight) that we were going to leave the next morning, but each day came and went and we just couldn't bring ourselves to go! However, the cliffside and beaches are getting more and more packed, as the tourist-season is just about to begin (for Christmas/winter vacations and holidays), so at least some of Varkala's charm, being it's quite and peacefullness, is unfortunately rapidly decreasing. Not that it still isn't amazing here; today we body-surfed 2-3 meter waves during the afternoon, which is actually more challenging than one would imagine, because even though the water level is quite shallow for an extended distance, an extreme riptide is often literally yanking your body parallel to the beach! So you often are walking in chest-deep water in order to stay in the same spot, which gets very tiring very fast. But the warm water is a nice break from the even hotter sun, not to mention the ever-present humidity. It seems every second or third night we get to witness a rather intense storm - though the rainy season is technically over the weather obviously disagrees. Last night the thunder was so loud at one point it sounded like the sky was ripping in half, and the lightening will often descend from all sides over the ocean, lighting everything up for a few seconds. The sea is usually lit-up at least a little bit, since the majority of the local fishermen are out at night, catching what ends up as the "catch-of-the-day" at all the clifftop restaurants. The fresh seafood is pretty varied, with massive marlins (2 meters long) aside piles of prawns, red snapper amongst many types of fish, plus crabs or lobsters on occasion. While pricey compared to the far cheaper veg options, a seafood dinner can still be had for around $3, for a large serving that leaves you stuffed from seafood, not from the side-dishes. But we usually eat vegetarian, since the food is amazingly good, and at around $1/dish, hard to resist.
We've been playing lots of Yahtzee, often at restaurants while waiting for our food, but tonight we are going to play chess (well, Anderson's going to teach Liz how to play), and since our hour on the net is just about up, you'll have to wait for more news until another day!