Not doing much, in the traditional sense, but having a great time relaxing in Varkala, though we are honestly finally just about to leave, to head further north into Kerala. However, we are currently investigating purchasing an Enfield Bullet motorcycle, the quintessential Indian roadbike, and a much freer form of transportation, rather than our current forced reliance on the often rare buses and trains. Motorcycles here are more of a temporary investment, since you can resell them quite easily to other travelers for virtually the same price, and bikes are quite cheap anyway, between $400 and $500 depending. Our bike will need a rack attached to the rear, so we can strap down our packs, but since Liz's pack has ripped a bit , and we don't have tons of stuff, we'd been debating dropping down to only one pack anyway. Having a motorcycle would also enable us to travel much more off the beaten path, as well avoiding the relatively pricey rickshaw rides within towns, that add up quite quickly. Petrol isn't the cheapest in India currently, around 53 rupies/litre, but the bikes get between 20-30 km/litre, so while its more expensive to travel by motorcycle than to solely take trains and buses, with rickshaw rides thrown in, the additional expense is rather marginal. Nevermind that you can't put a price on freedom!
However, we haven't seen the bike we want (good condition, good price, nice seller), so we may be leaving Varkala by train tomorrow if the bike(s) we look at today aren't meant to be, otherwise we'll remain here in town for a day or three longer learning to ride our new method of transportation. We met a guy named Michael from Germany, who has an Enfield (as do many other long-term India travelers) himself, and he gave us some basic lessons on starting and gear-shifting and such, so we are no longer totally in the dark on how to ride a bike. The roads here in India aren't nearly as bad as they are generally described, they are often just crowded making high speeds impossible, which is obviously just fine with us. But traffic is primarily in the cities and towns, so that travel between towns isn't too congested at all. By the time we make it further north where the population is more concentrated we'll be in theory seasoned bike-riding pros, so our south-to-north plan should be benificial in this department as well. Helmets are super cheap here as well, around $10, so getting those won't be a problem either. We don't have our hopes to high for this next bike, since the others we have seen haven't but up to par, but one never knows (particularly not here in India), when things will actually work out!
Michael also taught us an excellent card game, called Skat, pronounced 'Scot' not 'scat,' which is the national pasttime of sorts within Germany. It's meant for three players, though often played with four with the dealer sitting out, but it's really quite fun, like a more challenging euchre, or a more varying bridge. Check it out next time you're bored, it's a bit complicated at first but very fun.
Not much else is going on, just having fun relaxing, eating at Mamma Chompos' Restaurant Once Upon A Time, reading, body surfing in the ocean, etc. The sea today was rather rough, with a strong side-current, but most of the time previously it's been just about perfect. A few days ago we walked along the cliff/beaches here for over an hour, the scenery was quite impressive, as the palms and peaceful sand go on seemingly forever.
However things work with the motorcycle we'll be on our way out of Varkala real soon, just hopefully on two wheels instead of four!