Friday, October 28, 2005


I'm finally here.

Took one bus for about 30km. The front of the bus was full, but there were a few open benches at the back, so I plopped myself down. Suddenly, people start smiling, and gesturing.. Eventually, I look around, and figure out that i'm in the women's section of the bus.

Now, it's not that women are oppressed.. it's not some kind of Rosa Parks era situation - more a way of protecting women from the ass-grabbing nature of men. I understand that some people claim the same thing when defending the Burqa in Muslim countries - but this is 100% honest. Women have their own train carriages, their own waiting rooms, etc. That doesn't mean they can't use the rest of the train - but when you're surrounded by mustached men leering at you, why would you want to?

Back to the point at hand - I was in the women's section.. and I'm not a woman. All the male seats were taken, and I wasn't about to stand up due to my gender.. so I just sort of shrugged, grinned widely, and they forgave me for my genitalia, and let me stay where I was.

I had to get one one more bus for the last 6k.. and shorly after getting on it, we pulled up to a school - and our commuter bus suddenly became a schoolbus - full of little kids. These guys were really really excited about seeing me. The boys talking to me non stop. The girls smiling, and then quickly looking away when they saw me smiling back. An older man wanted to sit down next to me, but the kid sitting near me started arguing with him, and hung on to my arm - it seems that he was happy to make space to his left, but he didn't want to give up the prized seat next to the foreigner.

Eventually, I made it to Varkala... and then up to the tourist ghetto. The main town is a normal dirty indian road with a bus stop, a few restaurants, etc... the Tourist ghetto is on a cliff above a beach, with fancy tourist restaurants serving pasta and fish, kashmiri clothing shops, and a few places even showing movies...

It's just before tourist season starts, and so I was able to get my own bungalow (a private hut, with a bathroom inside, fan, electricity, etc) for 150 rupees (after much haggling). This would cost about 600 rupees in 3 weeks. Score!

While this place is rather touristy, and the restaurants are a bit more expensive than those in town.. I'll probably stay for a while. It's a nice place to relax, The beach is pretty, and unpolluted, and there is a constant stream of pretty western women walking by - and after a few weeks of mainly non-touristy places - I'm quite happy to enjoy eye candy, and someone to talk to..

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