In just a few hours myself, Kim and Morgan depart for the southern-most state of India, Kerala, there to vacation for 5 days at Varkala Beach. As you can see from this Google Maps capture, Varkala is pretty far south – only 8.7 degrees north of the equator, it is at roughly the same latitude as Somalia, Ivory Coast and, in South America, Panama and Venezuela. Weather for our time there will be in the 90s F, clear and sunny. The beach is below a cliff; our hotel is atop the cliffs and looks out over the Arabian Sea.
From my reading, Kerala is an interesting place: It is the state with the highest literacy rate in India, and oddly also with one of the highest rates of alcoholism. There are a great many elephants in Kerala – which we plan to visit – as well as numerous lakes and waterways, which we also may visit but, truthfully, we Salazars are mainly looking forward to beach time and scanning the horizon for dolphins that are said to swim thereabouts.
Another thing we doubtless will learn more about happens on the beach itself:
The beach we will be at is called Papanasam, often called the “sin destroyer”, because its waters are thought to wash away sin. It is a tourist place, and one many foreigners visit, but the beach also has great significance to Hindus. There it is considered a very meritorious thing to perform a special puja on the beach with the ashes of the departed.
Soon we will learn more. Now, all I can say is, if the dolphins can take it, so can we.
Pictures and a full report when we get back.