I had such a fun lazy day. Woke up, had breakfast, lazed by the pool and read my book.
Checked my email, browsed the local stores (carefully avoiding the taxi and rickshaw drivers who are constantly asking you where you are going and if you want a ride) and had a really great lunch by the beach.
All that hard work made me tired, so I followed the beach back to the hotel.
I went back to my room, showered and slept. While I was safe in my room, I heard thunder. Turns out there was a hot, humid, summer-style downpour. I decided to wait it out and went to sleep.
When I got up, I returned to one of the stores where I saw some things I liked earlier but didn’t buy. The store keeper, a young guy named Rameez was so nice to me. What I liked best about him was that he was not a pushy seller. I baught a ring and some bracelets from him, then asked him to pont me in the direction of Lighthouse Beach. I figured I’d walk until I got bored and hop a rickshaw from where I was.
He started to point me in that direction, then he walked me to the steps that lead to the beach promenade, then he said, “How about I just take you on my bike?” I asked him about his shop. He told me it’s been slow all day and besides, he’s bored.
So for the second day in a row, I hopped on a motorbike with a kind stranger.
I really don’t know why Rameez was so nice. I get the feeling that everyone around here wants so much for the foreigners to leave with this overwhelming feeling of how much they love India. One thing I can say for sure, folks here just LOVE the cities in which they live and want to show them off. Along the way, he pointed out certain things like the bank the supermarket, he then stopped at this one lookout point called “Golden Retreat.” “So you can take a picture, ” he said.
Anyway, Rameez took me to Lighthouse Beach. He parked his motorbike and walked with me. I told him if he was coming with me, I was going to enlist him to be my shopping ally. His job was to ask how much stuff costs and bargain for me, since he’s familiar with what stuff here is worth. Also, since I knew that if I was asking, they’d quote me a price ten times higher than they’d quote him.
Rameez works with jewlery and stones, so he pointed out to me what everything was, what’s fake, what’s real, what’s expensive, what’s reasonable, etc. He had this amazing necklace in his store made with silver and 5 giant pieces of tourquoise. It was waaay too expensive for me to buy. He didn’t take offense. As we were shopping, he even pointed out other people’s jewlery that’s similar to what I liked and told me how much it should cost.
There’s a shopping promenade along the beach with restaurants, where they display the fresh fish that they caught that day. Those fish were huge and I kept stopping to take photos of them.
It got dark and we decided to return to the resort area. Rameez agreed to stop by the supermarket first so I could buy some drinks and fruit. It rained again while we were at the supermarket. He says it’s so unusual to see rain in the part of the country and he’s really surprised. (Global warming?)
We motorbiked back as the rain tapered off, taking backroads on residential, unpaved streets. In a few minutes, we were back at his shop.
We sat down and he offered me something to drink (it’s a custom, a sign of respect and hospitality) then we sat and chatted for a bit. I baught one more thing from him, and then he showed me photos of Kashmir, where he’s from originally.
One thing I have to say for anyone who’s thinking of traveling but has no one with which to travel… just GO!!!! It’s amazing how many people you’ll meet along the way when you least expect it.
Gonna wakeup early. I have a flight to catch… headed to the Maldives next!
PS… I’m adding one more thing. Mike, I know you’ve been wondering about my internet cafes. Well, now that I can add photos, here’s where I’ve been blogging from in Kerala!
..and here’s a shot of the place with Nadesh, the Internet Cafe manager. (Though it’s not really a cafe, it’s more of a convenience store/book exchange with internet).