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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pressing "pause" in Varkala

On Saturday Byron, Patsy (another English teacher, who I have mentioned before, from the south of England) and I went to a beach resort called Varkala. At first I wasn’t too sure whether to go or not. I was feeling I needed to chill-out, maybe by myself. But I hadn’t been hardly anywhere in Kerala since arriving and this was the perfect opportunity to explore. It was only for a day and a night, initially. And how glad am I that I went along with these open and warm people!! Because, I’m still here now! That’s how much I loved it here. It’s the first beach I’ve spent any length of time at, since Thailand. And this fact instantly reminded me of many magical moments I spent on the Thai beaches. Everything was coming back to me. And I was feeling amazing being here. So I decided to stay, because I was at a loose-end, even though Byron and Patsy had offered me to stay at their apartment in Kottayam (which is 3 hours by train from Varkala). But I needed this time to myself, this week. I had been wanting a little piece of paradise where I’d get the chance to write again, to read some amazing books, to reflect, to connect.. Whatever name you would like to give it. And this was it. This was what I had been wanting and it was all here!

Saturday and Sunday, I had the most lovely time with Byron and Patsy, when they were here. They stayed until Sunday. We had so many great conversations about so many things. It had been so long since I’d spoken so freely. It was brilliant. Patsy is 30 years my senior and an amazing woman. She is a true inspiration to ALL women and through our talks, I learnt so much. I’ll be seeing her at the weekend again because when I leave here I have, again, been offered a bed in their apartment for that night. How amazing it is, when you find such generous, loving and caring people, so unexpectedly. It continues to fascinate me and it will continue to do so, regardless of the amount of times it’s happened before and, hopefully, will happen again.

Right now, I’m sitting on a hilltop, overlooking the beach. The rain is coming and going, the sun is also around, now and then, peaking through the grey clouds. The monsoon is on it’s way and the sky can be very dark at times. The temperature is so refreshing and warm, even in the rain. It’s brilliant and just giving the rain the name: “monsoon“, makes it so much more appreciative and magical, for some reason. It’s low season at the moment, but I was still amazed at all the tourists I was suddenly seeing. The first day it was so strange to see so many Westerners! It’s been 4months since I’ve seen so many. It felt even weirder when, on the first day, I got talking to an Irish guy. I hadn’t met any Irish in India and to hear the Dublin accent so strong and to so quickly pick-up on the Irish mentality of: “you are Irish too, then I’ll happily get to know you!! (which is what most Irish travellers do, wherever you meet them: they give priority to their “own kind”), made me reject his company straight away. I wanted to run, I didn’t want to speak with any Irish, nor was I bothered with “sticking to my own kind”. O no! And I was rejecting of all other tourists at the same time! Once I got used to seeing white skin again, the novelty wore off and I was missing the Indian women, the teachers from school and my special kids. I wanted to re-connect with my Indian friends, so I made a few phone-calls, just to hear their voices and to feel their spirit with me, as I sat in this paradise which is focused only on tourists.

Now though, it’s Niamh on her own. How nice it has been. I’m staying in a guesthouse overlooking the beach. It’s safe and I’m not getting too much hassle from Indian men, who see a female tourist by herself and instantly assume they can take advantage. This was my main concern, when coming to a resort like this. It’s happened before and it ended up being the reason for my leaving a particular tourist spot. But this time around, I’m keeping everybody at a distance. I don’t want hassle or distractions. So I feel I have to be cautious when being friendly to the men, because they instantly jump to conclusions. It’s a shame because I don’t like being rude, but sometimes I have to be, just to keep this week as my “alone time”.

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