Hi everyone,how is it going?
It's been a super fast ,10 days and so much happened that I couldn't update the blog daily as I planned. So I'm catching up 10 days after my walking journey across this land started to briefly share with you some of it and I promise I'll try to update,if not daily, at least 2/3 times a week.
-on the 31st of DecemberI took a train from Bombay to Kanyakumari. 45 hours on an Indian train. The first night my coach was packed and I struggle to fall asleep. Luckily the second night my compartment was empty,it was just me and some man that arrived late,past midnight but left his berth after an hour or so because it was snoring like a pig and I kept waking him up to shush him. Poor fellow.
During both nights I would wake up in panic asking myself what I was doing. I thought of getting off the train number of times but stayed.
I got to Kanyakumari and spent there a few days. Deciding to start was the most difficult thing and kept postponing mainly because the only way out of Kanyakumari was a busy highway full of big trucks and fast cars andIwas not yet used to it(now I am).
In Kanyakumari I managed to see both sunset and sunrise. The guy at the reception of the hotel was so helpful and took very good care of me. I can't stand noises and I still didn't come to the awareness that INDIA IS A LOUD COUNTRY. I had to argue with some Indian guest the second night because they arrived late and started slamming doors and shouting in the stairs like it was their own place. One thing I DIDN'T LIKE was the mountain of rubbish in a small piece of land opposite the hotel entrance. The houskeepers would just empty there the guest's dustbin when making the rooms. It might be standard for India but I was shocked.
I left on the 5th and walked my way to Nagercoil jumping every time a car was passing by me on the highway. It was hot and dusty and excitement and fear were the feelings which accompanied me to my destination.
Upon reaching Nagercoil, I called a guy working at the reception of the hotel I had booked that offered to pick me up at the railway station.
We talked on the way to the hotel about one of his friends studying in Italy and how much he wanted to visit. The hotel was big and noisy and I had to walk around all the time with earplugs. Luckily I stayed just one night.
Nagercoil is an ordinary polluted Indian city and leaving the next day,despite the early morning departure,was manic and I almost got run over.
20 km to Colachel passed in 4 hours. The initial fear of walking on such a busy road and the fact that there was little to no space on the side soon turned into excitement and an overwhelming feeling of vibrating togheter with the cosmos.
I immediately forgot about the heavy backpack I was carrying on the shoulder. This is something that happens everytime i hit the road. All I focus on is the present moment,my feet,the air on my face,the life flowing around me. It's a mindful way of walking that connects me to a higher place of peace and eternal joy.
Men out of bars and restaurants stare at me all the time, sometimes suspicious, but I smile at them and they smile back, waving and welcoming me to their land.
On the way to Colachel I stopped at a small shop to buy some conditioner but they didn't have any.
A guy from a bar near by heard my conversation and came over offering to go home and bring me his mother's conditioner!! I had to beg him not to.
I stopped for a while at another bar,just 5 km before entering Colachel for a bottle of cold soda. The man at the shop smiled and with a sweet gesture invited me to sit on a bench outside.
Bikers would honk and waive at me smiling.
Reaching Colachel was epic and I took a picture in front of the sign,just outside the city.
I crossed the town with everyone's eye on me. Seeing a white woman walking alone must be something they are not very used to.
When I got to my hotel,no one was there and a door with the sign 'reception' was locked. An old man appeared right when I was about to leave and took me to my room,neat,simple,quiet for me,the only guest in the whole property.
I did the laundry soaking my clothes in a bucket and went to the backyard to enjoy the sun of the early afternoon.
I went out to buy some food but no places other than small shops or bars so I bought a pinapple and cut it on the bathroom floor using the knife I carry.
Outside the entrance,in the street,a loudspeaker with nonstop devotional songs in preparation of a temple festival.
I woke up early and left Colachel at 7 am the following day to get back on the road to Puvar where a sweet lodge on the backwaters is waiting for me.
It's Sunday and the streets are filled with people going to church. Women wrapped in colourful sarees ,kids on the front of their dad's bikes asking for one more ride around the block, groups of men drinking chai sitting on the side of the road in the dusty sun.
The maps says that,in 12 km, I have to cross a bay with a ferry and I ask a man who's cleaning the windshield of his rikshaw if the ferry runs on Sundays.
There is no ferry,no service to the public, it's a small harbour with just fishermen's boats,he says.
Nevermind,I'll work something out.
The road climbs up for almost a mile then turns towards the coast and continues straight parallel to the sea offering me a stunning view of white, untouched beaches and palm trees woods whose shade rest my eyes and my soul.
Small villages,one after the other where children run towards me when they see me approaching and old men,out of their bars, throw inquisitive glances.
Children scream "foreigner, foreigner!!" in their languages and roar with laughter,women smile at me timidly with eyes filled with wonder and love.
Shiny white churches in the bright sun light with the doors wide open, diffuse ipnotic musics in the air and up in the sky, shoes in line all around them.
After 5 km a line of small wooden huts lead me to the harbour. No women,no ferries. A long row of boats and no one there beside two fishermen folding a big,green net.
The only way to get to the other side of the bay is knock at the fishermen's houses doors and ask the favour to be taken across but no one is there and I have no choice but to go back on the main road (another 7 km) and walk around the bay making the route 10 km longer.
It's hot and my phone is shutting down.
one night. All I do is resting and reading watching the backwaters from my terrace.
The hotel manager is about my age and when I get there he is at the church with his family but leaves just for a while to come and check me in and meet me. I tell him about my walk and he says that everything will be all right because God is with people that do good.
I order some food and go to bed.
I leave Puvar quite early but the street is already warm and after few hundreds meters I'm already sweating down my back.
I don't feel my backpack, it's like walking on the air. People smile at me at every corner. The road is quite narrow and there is no space at the sides and I try to be as careful as possible. After an hour or so,I see on the other side of the road the sign "welcome to Kerala," and I cross to have someone talking a picture of me in front of it,holding my italian flag. A dog with 3 legs jumps out of nowhere and start following me until I stop to give him some biscuits. I walk on brig across the backwaters and it's beautiful. The emerald green of the water blends with the forest all around and reflects the sky above while a boat passes and disappear among the vegetation.
People keep stopping by offering me a lift but I refuse and keep going.
The road is a tongue of burning fire run in its length by lines of beautiful palm trees casted upon a deep blue sky. Women seated in front of their shops,waiting for customers in the shade of a roof,smile at me and say " welcome to Kerala".
I get off the main road and turn on a narrow, secondary road that atfter a while climbs up in a steep salita. I'm exhausted and it's hot.
Loudspeakers every 50 metres suggest me that a temple festival is about to come.
I start seeing Ayurvedic resort and boutique with tapestry and clothes.
Finally my resort. For 2 days of rest.
Back on the road for just 10 km. Although I already pre booked a hotel,as I walk down the road that takes to Light house beach where my hotel is,I suddenly stop in front of another place feeling something strong attracting me.
It's a nice red hotel,Kerala style with wooden terraces and a bunch of tall trees in the yard. I enter and ask if they have available rooms and they do. The price is out of my budget but the guy at the reception ask me to follow him and see the room first.
The room is neat and quiet,a huge white bed is calling my name and outside the terrace door a deep blue sea crashing against the coast in white foamy spurts.
The guy gives me a huge discount and I decide to just go with the flow and stay there postponing my departure day 4 times.
Finally I manage to pick up my stuff and leave Kovalam even though I would have stayed another week,maybe another month. Back on the road heading to Trivandrum where one of my friends family is waiting for me. His name is Kirian and all I know is that he grows leeches for medical purpose in a room next to the one I'm supposed to sleep in and that alone is enough for me to be excited and curious.
It's all highway til Trivandrum and after 7 km my backpack decides to break and I'm forced to stop a rikshaw to take me to my destination after stopping somewhere along the way to have my backpack fixed.
Kirian is not home but your parents are and they welcome me warmly.
After two days I'm off to Varkala
Some health issues ,a small skin infection that makes everything more painful and annoying but luckily I have some days to spend in a friend's resort right in front of the beach.
This is my first 130 km and more amazing days are yet to come!