Hey’ y’all, I’m back once again with the flavour! Bringing you that knowledge on India that nobody ever gave ya!
So I travelled throughout India for about 2 months and 1 week. I never made it up to the north, there is just too much to see in the south. The north, from what I hear, is a very different experience from the south. In the south, people are way more laid back and it’s more tropical down there, with many beaches scattered all the way up the south west coast. Loads of amazing spots to see! Whereas the north seems more intense and maybe not quite so laid back and relaxed. But I can’t vouch for that as I haven’t been. That is one place that is to be experienced in my future for sure.
In my first post I left off after I arrived in Varkala (it’s a trap!), which was really only just at the start of my journey. In this post I will continue my journey, list the places that I went and maybe it will inspire you to visit. I’ll post up pictures too so you can see what each place is like! If you have never been to India, the picture in your head will most likely be of crowded places, dirty streets and chaos, but the south is not always like this. I went to many picturesque and beautiful spots where there weren’t many people at all, and then I did of course also go to some of the more chaotic cities as well.
I am guessing that if you are looking for a relaxing holiday destination, India isn’t one that would pop up in your mind. But why not? You lot don’t know nuffin’ (it tried to auto-correct this to ‘muffin’…I’m hungry, yuummmm muffins *drool*)! And maybe you don’t know muffins either? But let’s not go there, I’m not one to test one’s muffin knowledge…I’m hardly an expert myself! Having said this, in Perth at the airport I had the most amazing muffin I have ever had in my life. It was massive! And warm as well. Damn, I wish I had a muffin right now. I’ll see if I can find a picture of it. Actually, hang on a moment I just have to Google some pictures of muffins for five minutes………*tick tock*…….ok I’m back. These ones look pretty good don’t they:
What was the point of this blog post again? I might just scrap it and go make some muffins. No, no I better finish it first. Ok, so it was about my top ten muffins in India right or something like that? God, I can’t even remember. If you’re still reading this I feel sorry for you….this post could probably take quite a while to get through!
OK, back on topic for real now…muffins. Right? What is your favourite type of muffin? I personally like blueberry. I love blueberries! Blueberry and white chocolate sounds good too! And heated up so the chocolate is melting…yuummmmmmm…. *ahem*
Ok, so India.
Let’s do this!
Come on Patrick. Focus!
So as I was saying, India can prove to be a very relaxing holiday destination after all. There are many nice spots up the south west coast, which is where I spent most of my time. So let’s start with Varkala as that’s where I got to last time.
This is in Kerala, which many say is the most beautiful (and green) part of India. It is basically a cliff with loads of shops/stalls/shacks that sell stuff, plus restaurants, etc. It is quite touristy. We kept calling it ‘our holiday from India, in India’, if that makes sense. You can figure it out. You’re smart people. Below the cliffs are beaches and it’s also a pretty decent spot for doing a bit of surfing as well! Surfing in India, who’d have thunk it?! I stayed here twice on my trip. The second time I stayed there had been a murder on the cliff after some local Indians had a dispute with a restaurant owner and his son. The suspects ended up fleeing, and for all I know could still be on the run as fugitives. About a week later, someone tried to burn down this same restaurant/guest house and the fire started to spread down the cliff, destroying shops. And also, some young shop owner apparently died during the night a few weeks before this. So, all in all, a perfect destination for a relaxing break! Hahaha….next…
But honestly… aside from all of this madness, this place is super chilled out. In total I spent over three weeks here basically doing not much. I cursed myself a little for ‘wasting’ time not seeing other parts of India but hey, I was enjoying myself and that’s the most important thing right? This is why I say it’s a trap! It is easy to get stuck here. All of the food is super cheap and pretty good quality. Fish is brought in fresh every single day by the fishermen. I had the most amazing fish I have ever had here, a swordfish fillet. It was huge! And I had it with rice and vegetables and it all came to like £3 or something. Bargain. Normally I would consider £3 a lot for a meal but that was truly first class. Just don’t tell any of the restaurant owners that the fish once had a mother as you may get into a really awkward, weird argument. Moving swiftly on…
Oh and also whilst here we saw a moondog, or moon halo which was pretty amazing. What is that you may ask? Well it is a relatively rare bright circular spot on a lunar halo caused by the refraction of moonlight by hexagonal-plate-shaped ice crystals in cirrus or cirrostratus clouds. Moondogs appear at 22° to the left and right of the moon. They are exactly analogous to sun dogs, but are rarer because to be produced the moon must be bright and therefore full or nearly full. Moondogs show little color to the unaided eye because their light is not bright enough to activate the cone cells of humans’ eyes. You got that? Good. Thought I’d keep it nice and simple for you.
Here are a few photos from Varkala…
A Hindu shrine (if that’s the right word?) in a shop.
This was probably the best thing about this shop. After we finished playing with this puppy, he went over and took a pee on the entrance doormat to the shop. We clearly got him too excited.
Now that’s a face only a mother could love! (no disrespect to any Hindus out there)… This is the monkey God known as Hanuman. I have no idea why I bought this, ummm, tea towel….? I think actually you are meant to hang it on your wall like a painting. I think that I was bribed into buying something from a shop because I took a photo. It probably only cost like 20p anyway.
Kiya on a train again from Varkala to Om Beach. He just loves being photographed on trains this guy. Haha.
It was extremely hot at this point. I was in for a lot of sweating that day. Honestly, I don’t know how my body can produce so much sweat sometimes. Maybe it’s like a superpower that I need to learn to harness in some way…?
So that last photo shows Léna and Kiya just after we got off the train from Varkala to Gokarna, where we would head to the next destination known as…
This is just near Gokarna town. Om Beach is really nice. This is the same place that I got that tattoo from that guy in that shack on the beach that could have potentially given me some kind of disease. But you know…YOLO! (did I just say that?) …It makes me wonder, who comes up with these sayings and how do they spread? I’m guessing they start in internet forums and then are somehow spread and adopted by the coolest of the cool, unaware that they were invented by that same person that they bully at school…who’s the cool one now eh!? So I YOLO’d it all the way to the tattoo ‘studio’ in Om Beach and got a tattoo of an ‘Om’. Which is a Hindu symbol that you see EVERYWHERE in India. To be honest, I don’t really understand it and I’ve read up on it loads. It’s just too complicated. Hey, don’t judge me. I only did it cos I thought it might make me look cool, like one of those travellers that is totally in touch with the culture and is totally at one with mind, body and soul. Yep, that’s me now. I am well spiritual. Whatever that means.
God this post is taking far too long and all I can think of is muffins. Does it show? It’s probably well boring to read. Maybe I should write about muffins next time? I am highly addicted to sweet things. LOOOVE my fro-yo, and gelato ice cream as well! I am surprised that I’m not double the weight I am now. I put it down to all of the running that I do, often to the muffin shop.
So anyway, whilst at Om Beach, one of the most amazing things that you can do at night time is to see the glow in the dark plankton. Or bio-luminescent plankton as they are known. They are tiny creatures in the water that glow up when disturbed. So when you swim with them, it is like you are in a Disney film with tiny crystals of light all around you. It is pretty magical. I saw this twice in my travels. Once in Om Beach, here and once in Cambodia on Koh Rong. It was actually much better and the plankton were brighter in Koh Rong, but I didn’t get robbed whilst I was in the water in Om Beach so that was probably the better experience on the whole!
Another amazing thing to do here is to get a boat (or you can walk as well) to a beach a few bays over called Paradise Beach. This was once populated with guesthouses but I think the police shut it down for one reason or another so it is now completely empty. We were there for a few hours, wandered through the bush behind the beach and went swimming (with our new tattoos held high out of the water!). Now because we (three of us) were now tattoo’d with the Om symbol and were clearly at one with our inner spirits, we decided to do some yoga on the beach. We were clearly qualified now. It didn’t really go too well and we got the boat back to Om Beach. The end.
Can I get my muffins now? No I will carry on, there is still much to tell. One day we got a tuktuk into Gokarna town and I had some of the best food that I had in all of my journey throughout India. I had a delicious cashew nut curry and also some fried cauliflower (gobi manchuri). We were there for sunset and the whole town turned golden as the sun was setting, it was rather incredible. I have never experienced such a reddish, golden glow that seemed to just hang in the atmosphere around us, like were we inside a blanket of soothing light. That’s the best way I can describe it. I wasn’t on drugs, I promise.
Look, the cows are on holiday again. This time a bird with a stick in its beak has joined them. Joy!
I went on to Mangalore next. My 30th birthday was approaching so I decided to leave this beautiful beach spot, a sacred place and supposedly the birthplace of Shiva to go and celebrate in some crowded, shitty city. It seemed like the only sensible thing to do. Haha, no it wasn’t that bad. One of my close friends lives here and so I thought it would be nice to go and celebrate with him and his family! They bought me a cake! Here it is!:
Yes I did put this photo in one of my previous posts but no-one probably reads this crap anyway so no harm in posting it again!
So I turn 30 and all of a sudden I feel some kind of clarity in my life. Things are finally starting to make sense and I feel as though I have a clear vision for my future. I am a grown man, I know my purpose, my role and I am finally on the right path. Ok, no that’s all bollocks. Nothing changed. I was still a bum, wandering around Asia aimlessly. I think I ate some fried squid at the side of the road on some plastic chairs at a really sketchy looking place, and had a few beers. My friend treated me. In fact he seemed to be treating me loads, I really need to repay his kindness one day! In India they have a saying which when translated (sorry, I don’t know the original saying!) means “guest is God”. So if you ever stay with an Indian family, expect to be treated like royalty. I really liked that. Obviously.
So Mangalore was alright. To be honest, I don’t remember anything in particular that was good about it. God I’m rubbish at this travel blogging malarkey aren’t I? You may as well just stop reading now. It’s probably wise. Here is a photo of my friend and me just before I left for my mountain trek…
Gotta love the Jeep!
Now I have told this story in my last two blog posts so I’m not going to tell it again. But this experience was one of my most memorable in India for sure. I basically climbed a mountain, almost got eaten by a lion, had to persuade a guy I wasn’t going to kill myself, had a spider in my ear, almost got attacked by a snake, finally reached the peak of this mountain to find a monk in a tiny temple on a mobile phone and took a photo of a man far, far away on a mountain peak in the distance which looks like this:
Can you see him? He is there standing with his arms out…look closer!
Here are a few other photos from my trek:
The start of my trek. Well I am just feeling fine and dandy right now. This will be a walk in the park!
Ok, time for a photo! Oh dear, it’s awfully hot and I’m doing that sweating thing again…
Oh jeez, it’s going in my eyes! I’m blind! I can’t even take a GoPro selfie without my sweat ruining everything…
…maybe I’ll just climb the rest of this mountain with my eyes shut.
Can you see that look on my face? Yes it is either sheer terror from the sight of that mountain lion that was chasing me, or I have gone fully blind now from all of the sweat in my eyes and I can’t actually see where the GoPro is.
I finally reach the top to find a monk on a mobile phone. Surprised he even got reception up there.
Party capital, here I come! I have a funny story about this place actually! So I ended up getting the local buses all the way from Kollur to Goa which took all day. This is also where I met ‘My New BFF’ from my last blog post. When I finally got to Goa, I decided that this was my chance to truly party it up in style for my 30th as I hadn’t really done so yet. I met up with two friends in Palolem, and we started on the apple vodka…classy! This was just the beginning to a messy night. Basically we ended up meeting up with some people we had previously met on our travels. As the hours were passing by, people were slowly starting to leave. Hell no, I thought! I want to party all night until the sun comes up! I am only 30 once! Apart from the 364 other days of the year of course.
Anyway, so I started buying a guy drinks who was with our group because I wanted him to stay out. Everyone else had left pretty much. We ended up playing pool and we played one game for money against some locals, won and decided to take the money and run. The most sensible thing to do…I’m sure he was going to try and hustle us! But, no I’m too smart for that. I wasn’t born yesterday. No, I was born 30 years ago young man! We then moved on to the dance floor and I attempted to do a handstand and crashed face first into the floor. Nice moves as always. Anyway, the night ended up by me being sick in the sea and falling asleep on the beach (I am such a disgrace). I then made my way home and used my friend’s ali baba pants (hippie trousers basically) for a duvet cover. Once again, classy as ever! I later found out that the guy who I was buying drinks for and hanging out with was gay and he thought I was hitting on him. Whoops. I can’t help it if I am just a super friendly, nice guy! If he is reading this, I had a great night and thanks for hanging out with me it was fun! If it wasn’t for you, my 30th birthday celebration would have fallen flat on its face, just like me when I tried to do that handstand! Haha.
This is like one of the only photos I took in Goa. Clearly too busy being sick in the sea. But this was where we stayed. It had walls that were made of cardboard and it would probably have blown over if the wind picked up above 4mph. One evening as I was taking a shower the toilet just started flushing for no reason and wouldn’t stop. This meant that the shower stopped working. And I was all covered in soap ready for my rinse off! What am I supposed to do now? Well, you know that bum water gun that you use to flush up your bum hole to get rid of all the poo? Yeah well I had to use that instead. And guess what? The connecting cable wasn’t long enough to reach my head so I had to finish my shower crouching next to the toilet, rinsing myself with the water that is normally used for flushing the mess from your rear end. Lovely. Just bloody lovely!
So the rest of my time in Goa was fun, but mainly we (my friend Léna and I) just chilled on the beach and didn’t do much. Our next destination though was without doubt my favourite in all of India. Hampi! Yay, Hampi! Oh how I miss this place. I will be back one day. I think I will continue my blog post next time about this place. 1) because I could be here forever chatting about the fun times I had here, 2) there is no way I can cover all of my trip in India in the rest of this blog post, 3) you’re probably really bored now and 4) I want my muffin. In fact, let’s just remind ourselves why we are reading this post at all…
This time I Googled “delicious muffins” in case you are interested. On the whole, the search results were a little disappointing, but I still found these tasty looking treats. If you would like further tips on keyword combinations to search for your desired muffin of choice, please shoot me an email any time.
Is anyone else hungry right now? I wonder why… So next time I will continue my story from Hampi, the greatest place in all of India. I hope that this blog post has been informative and educational because after all, that’s why you’re here isn’t it? To learn? Well I think we’ve all learnt valuable lessons about life today. I have probably missed my calling in life as a teacher. I am always focused and I never get distrac…..ok that’s enough shite for today!
Sorry, I mean:
No that’s not right.
Yeah close enough.