Now that I am down to my last week here in Amrita University, I have been pretty busy with all my classes and the research project I have been working on. It’s the end of November and it continues to be 90 degrees with endless sunshine. Therefore, it was necessary for me to take advantage of this opportunity to go to the beach every weekend because it’s always summer in Kerala.
Forty-five minutes by train, there is a little place called Varkala where everyone goes for a little weekend getaway. Luckily, I was able to get out of class and escape to the beach for my roommate’s last weekend in India. Unfortunately, time is not of the essence here in India, so the train was two hours late and we only had 24 hours to spend. My roommate, Kayla, was leaving back home to South Africa and she had never swum in the Indian Ocean, so it was a must. The funny thing is if you ask any native Indian person from Kerala if they have swum in the ocean, almost 50% of the time they will tell you it’s nice to look at, but they never swim and they also do not know how to swim. Being the foreigners we are, that did not stop us, so the minute we got to Varkala, my roommates and I ran to the beach. It was nearing sunset and we arrived late, so we dropped our bags and ran shoeless on the road for at least half a mile to the nearest entrance to the beach. It was really pointless because they don’t allow anyone to swim at sunset, but we went for it anyways just to swim for 2 minutes.
At night, we went to this cute little café with some solid music and beautifully grilled fish, and my roommates and I were able to bond over the funny things we experienced in India. There are way too many to list in one posting, but I think the funniest experiences are the modes of transportation for us. After the morning on the beach tanning and swimming, I had to leave earlier than my roommates to finish up some experiments for my project. To shorten up the story, I got lost like the mess I am lol. Like I said, Varkala is less than an hour away and I trusted myself enough with 45 minutes of traveling.
Well… I ended up almost 3 hours away from home.
I obviously found my way home, but I was on the bus for quite some time. Knowing a little Malayalam and looking like a lost puppy really wins over the pity of people, so they help you out. Other than that, people are genuinely nice here and are willing to wait with you and stay with you until you figure out your life. The biggest help ALWAYS comes from teenage girls who are really shy to talk to you at first, but are so kind in helping. After four and a half hours on the bus and four buses later, we got home and missed my experiment, but my project director understood my struggle.
So, that’s the latest struggle of the week, BUT I am now confident in taking buses by myselfJ Transportation is one way itself understanding the culture in India, and you really get to bond with locals because buses/trains are really crowded so it’s best to be kind to the person you are being squished next to. Getting lost is not a bad experience at all and it doesn’t have to be stressful. The countryside is beautiful and passing through the towns really reminds you how tiny you are in the world and how much there is to explore. Lesson of the story: keep your google maps on and have fun getting lost if you are ever put in the position. J