This is the final instalment from my Christmas holiday; for New Year we headed down to the south of Kerala to the most welll known beach resort, Kovalem. Here it is much more touristy and we certainly weren't the only white faces with German and Russian tourists lining the beach. In fact our most well trodden haunt while we were there was the German Bakery where we could get pizza (gasp), pasta (shock) and even cheese (!!!!!!). Even more unbelievable was the fact we could get cocktails (remember Kerala is a pretty much entirely dry state) and enjoy them on the terrace watching the sunset over the beach.
There are several beaches around Kovalem, sadly I only had chance to visit the most touristy (don't ask why!), but this had lovely sand and plenty of bars and restaurants, although the water was a little rough to swim in for my West Midlander sensibilities.
Not far from Kovalem is Trivandrum, the state capital, which was definitly worth a visit. We'd had torrential rain the night before (left overs from a cyclone in Tamil Nadu) and bad drainage in the city meant lots of the streets were flooded. Still this is India and life must go on so men in suits and women in beautiful saris waded there way to work as though is was a normal day.
We did a bit of shopping, went to the zoo (india's oldest) and stopped off at the Indian coffee company for a drink. Grand waiters in crisp, white, regal uniforms showed us to our seats but one waiter in a plain white top and trousers ushered us over to a different table. On further questioning we found out that the company was a cooperative and ours and two others were this waiter's tables. I asked why he didn't have on the same uniforms as the others , "I've only worked here for five years, you have to work here for fifteen before you get promoted; then I can have the suit". I guess this puts the whole job for life idea into perspective!