One understands the value of a car while travelling around a state like Kerala. In the mountains you trek to solitude, in deserts the dust and emptiness stun you and in Kerala you get travel across a never ending landscape painting.
Location hopping is the most prevalent style of travel here and you will find bus full of people crowding before a waterfall for half an hour before packing up and moving to the next site; a dam probably.
But these spots get way too crowded and noisy and I often find myself wondering what all the hype is about. It’s what makes the experience truly Indian I suppose. But to have the luxury of a car in Kerala is equivalent to having access to every little detail of that painting. So you can stop at your own liberty and pick your own spots. Because Kerala, every inch of it, is breath taking beautiful.
And Thanks to Hari and his red Datsun Go, Pabla and I will now get to zip through the state and truly own its roads.
After Varkala, it’s time to set out on an elaborate road trip that will take us past Alappuza, to Changanassery from where we will head out to the green valleys of Idukki and even digress into Tamil Nadu to savour the natural beauty of Kodaikanal.
But let’s take it one curve at a time. From Varkala’s helipad we drive into the city to stop for my first traditional Kerala meen curry and chor meal (fish curry and rice). I’m so hungry by this time that I have already bisected my share of the delicate Aila slice. But then the netizen in me wakes up and I pull out my precious and somewhat damaged mi4 to capture this half eaten culinary delight. It was fulfilling to say the least. And didn’t cost more than Rs. 90 if I remember correctly (I do).
Stuffed, slugging full bellies back to the car, we are on the way again, with the ocean to our left. Always.
Sunny and breezy, there is never a moment’s stuffiness on this route. Next up is Kollam beach with its warning signs of heavy under currents and 21 deaths in the past couple of years. And also that strange science park of sorts with a gigantic white mermaid statue with tits from heaven.
A little too graphic maybe but do stop at Kollam beach even if for just half an hour. Just to pick up the pickled mangoes and amlas marinated in big glass jars with salt water and cut up chilies. Let the sourness of the ocean and the pickle swell up the veins of your saliva gland.
Enjoy the journey to enamel ridden teeth as you watch the waves crash noisily ashore. Then, if you dare, sip some refreshingly sweet coffee. Not such a bad way to spend a late afternoon in the breezy late summer, next to the Arabic sea.