Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Day at Kovalam Beach

I found out where all the white people in India are. For our rest day, we went to the beach, Kovalam Beach, on the Arabian Sea.  I've posted my pictures of it for you here at Flickr. It was a lovely day. 

The Indian women demurely play in the surf holding hands in a long line in their colorful salwar kameez, careful not to get wet above the calf. Young Indian men drape their arms around each other or holds hands (something you see quite often here), and try to figure out how to break into the line of girls. The other Indian men strip down to their knickers and jump in the waters. The lobster-hued Europeans wear far too small of speedos and bikinis and look on from their towels like fleshy shellfish who have lost their shells.

The Americans are the young spiritual sort, looking deep in their dreadlocks and headwraps. When the sun starts to set, they scurry out onto the sand to sit in om position, legs crossed, and meditate. It's a bit odd. All these people coming to India to be spiritual and doing it in the very least Indian place I've seen, a beach resort filled with flabby Australian women and be-speedoed French men. 

We stop at a German bakery along the boardwalk, frankly relieved for a break from authentic India, and anything with "masala," "dosa," or "biryani" in the title. I order a pineapple boat, because it's less than 3 dollars, so how could I not get a fresh pineapple boat on a beach in India? It's warmed up with a scoop of ice cream on top. 

Then we climb up to the lighthouse. From the top of it, you see a white mosque with elegant teardrop towers in the distance. We take many pictures, and they share their photography knowledge with me. Because I'm with people whose cameras that look, with their long zooms, more like machine guns than cameras, we just look serious and impressive, like National Geographic photographers, not tourists. I'm sure. 

As the sun sets and the Americans meditate, the Indians line up on the rocks, watching the salmon sky with their arms around one another. Rats scurry down among the rocks, hoping the distracted spectators will drop their fried banana snacks. 

On the drive home, we try to take pictures in the dark and the others' pictures look like masterpieces and mine look like your 3-year-old's work. A women riding a motorcycle in a blue scarf flutters all the way home in front of us. 


Mike said...

Did you take all those photos? Because they're great. You're making me look like a total amateur. Which I guess I am. And your blog story is disgusting excellent. When did you turn into James A Mitchner? You're going to need to tone it back a bit. You're making the rest of us writers and photographers feel bad. Really great photos, really great story. You should be a professional. But I guess you are!

barleygreen said...


A. Skidgy said...

Wom, I love your pics, especially the mosque at the beach. It really shows the tropical nature of the area.
It was so wonderful skyping (sp?) with you. Have a super remainder of your time in India. Looking forward to hearing all about everything when you get home.
I guess it's Mon. there now - about 4:45 AM since it's 5:15PM here. Stay safe.
Love you!

Amber said...

Aww, thanks Mike. You're sweet. I took all the pictures except the ones I'm in, of course. I bumped up the contrast in the first three. And I had help because when I'd take a pic and it wouldn't quite look right, I'd ask Chuck what to do, and he'd say, "you need to dial down," or something official sounding like that. Whenever I noticed Chuck or Dave taking a picture of something, I'd look at their composition then copy them. So really I'm just a cheater. :)

Tara said...

The pics on Flicker are great!! I really love the sunset picture of you! It is so interesting that the people were just getting their lower legs wet! How different!

DadMom said...

Hi, Amber,
It's great to be able to talk with you and see from your photos exactly what you are doing. I almost feel like we went to the beach with you after skyping about it last night then seeing the photos today. The ocean looks beautiful. I love the photo of the India girls and the boys looking on. You look so colorful in the photos - beautiful. Thanks for the very descriptive picture you paint. It's 8:50pm here now, so for you it must be about 9:30 am. Have a wonderful day!
Much love,
Mom & Dad

Mike said...

Well, cheater or not, your pictures really are beautiful. The exotic subject matter makes them look cool too, I suppose. All those colors and exotic looking people. I'll be thinking of you. Pray for me as I'm doing my work here!