go go Gokarna

In the Nilgiri region, around Ooty, it seems every farmer and his goat has a tea plantation…makes me wonder what kind of quality you’re getting when you purchase Indian tea overseas (let’s not even think about here)…it could just be your run of the mill, grown by the side of a busy road with cars, buses and trucks charging up and down daily…the tea’s growing like it’s on steroids…from all the FUMES!! disgusting..we can only hope they wash it!

sadly i can’t tell you how they make tea (well..the process involved) after a night of shivering in bed (it was bloody freezing…i’m not exaggerating) we woke up to rain, and clouds so thick we could barely see 30m…there goes the tea plantation visit, or any walking at all…we left after a hot shower (my god that was incredible! first hot shower since Oz…and well needed too!!) and some food. a short walk to the bus station, i was told that the bus to Calicut (our next stopping point) wasn’t till 2.15pm…so we waited….and waited….and waited….it was drizzling non stop, it was absolutely freezing, and just really miserable…what a place!
after many MANY chais and coffees, the bus finally rocked up…around 3.30…luckily we were waiting (out in the rain) and managed to jump on quickly enough to get seats (yea there were heaps of people standing) and even fighting each other to get the spare seat next to us…we picked a woman…

thus began another long journey here to Gokarna…
the bus down to Calicut took about 7 hours (not the 5 we were told it would take…with only 1 toilet break) and we finally got there at night, starving and annoyed..if a little stiff too…we went to the train station where we got some unidentified curry with paratha and waited…till 12.05am when our train got in…of course we only had spaces again so we had to walk through the whole train of people sleeping, in the dark, with all our crap, finding some spare beds…thank god we did, and managed to get some sleep…before arriving in Mangalore at 4.40am….after another two hours or so waiting we boarded another train to Gokarna…no beds, just hard, upright, packed bench seats…great.

the ride was fine, after so many chais and coffees i couldn’t have another (that’s ALOT) we finally got to Gokarna and got shoved out of the way by all these little old ladies with heaps of bags…spiritually enlightened im sure (they were on a pilgrimage) and managed to get out…

we headed for Om beach, but realised it was full, so after lunch and a swim and some pretty hard bargaining with a boat guy we headed over to Kudlee beach where we trekked over the beach with our packs in the blaring sun like a desert movie to find a place to stay…

my first thoughts (and notes) on Gokarna…
a bunch of stoned, dreaded backpackers…Israelis dancing to crap techno on a hot little beach…little shacks dotted around a palmtree studded coast…

this place couldn’t be more of a polar opposite to Ooty if we tried…and only 24 hours later too! this country is unreal…
it is so rare to find a place still so sparsely developed, there are more people here than places to stay…

i was listening to a conversation in Israeli yesterday, my neighbours were trying to put up a hammock chair..sounded super complicated…i suddenly felt so displaced..was i still in India? this place could be in Thailand? you wouldn’t know the difference…oh wait…there’s masala…a LOT of masala…and cows (shit) on the beach…ahh India…

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