So I was now in Kovalam and it was holiday time. By that I mean, just about every person from India was on holiday and visiting Kovalam! What a friendly, welcoming and chilled out place to be. The beach was busy but still comfortable and the lifeguards certainly earnt their pay each day, which would not be very much. Whenever they saw an local going too far into the sea or in between the red flags, the whistle would blow and many hand signals would be made to tell them to move. Note this does not really apply to foreigners, as they are deemed to be strong swimmers whether that is true or not. So remember this if you dare to venture into this beautiful Arabian sea.
Kovalam is a relatively small town, so much so, that if you google photos on the internet, you will most certainly see faces you recognise once you have visited – women selling delicious fruit, men selling colourful shawls, small businesses offering anything from jewellery to shoes to fishy feet! Bargain, bargain and bargain again and get the price down before you buy. This is not to do a seller out of money, they expect this and set their original price very high; don’t be fooled.
And so to that crazy lighthouse……. I say this because when I went there at the end of December it was mobbed. The only other westerners to come down from the lighthouse described it as “crazy up there!” That didn’t put me off – I was there for a special treat. There is a tiny lift that takes you not quite to the top. Coming out of the lift I then had to walk back down quite a few steps to get to the back of the queue. Things moved at a reasonable speed and soon I was at the entrance to the top – be warned, it is a metal open ladder, straight up! That was a surprise to say the least. Hands were there to assist everyone up the ladder and boy was it worth the climb – the view is spectacular and it was sunset – what a treat.
On our return to the Kailas Hotel on the Beach Road later that night, we were treated to guitar playing from the hotel manager – a fan of Pink Floyd And as for the beer – you need to know that Kerala is a fairly dry State. Beer can only be bought in brown paper bags and kept under the table whilst drinking it out of a tea mug!