I guess this will be the last entry of this wonderful journey I've been on. I am back home now, but India is definetally still on my mind.
Thinking back, it seems like I've done so, so much since I last wrote. After we sat on the beach in Varkala, we went up to Kollum and did an overnight houseboat trip through the backwaters there. It was expensive (for India) but well worth every rupee. The boat was made of bamboo, and there were three staff on board. One driver, one cook, and one I don't really know what he was suposed to do. He always looked busy though. The backwaters are basically canals that connect most places in the area. Half of the year, they are salt water, and half of the year they are fresh water. We first went along the bigger canals. As we went along, the kids would clap and yell to get our attention, and a wave. After a lunch (possibly the best lunch I'd had in India) of fish, 4 different kinds of vegetables, and fresh pineapple, we went to a village inland from the main cannal. We went on a small canoe through all of the local waterways that are used for local transport. We saw them making boats, rope out of cocnut fibre, and where they harvest prawns. I really liked the village - it's a self-stustainable community, and everyone there was really friendly and happy. That's something I noticed about people in the south in general - they seem to be much happier, and more relaxed. Maybe that environment is where humans are suposed to live. After the tour, we went back to the houseboat, and parked for the night. After a wonderful dinner, we spent the night playing gin rummy with the guys on the boat. We knew differnt rules than them, so there was alot of confusion, since we knew only a small bit of hindi, alot of arguing, and alot of laughter. In the morning, we headed back to the port and I took a train to Cochin. From this point on, I was travelling by my self. In Cochin, I went to fort Cochi, full of old buildings from when the Portugese and British were there. I really enjoyed walking around there, and wish that I had more time to wander the old buildings. This was my first day traveling my myself, and it was, well, different than travelling with other people. I seemed to be able to attract every strange male in the city. That night, I went to go see a Kathakali performance - the traditional dance in Kerala. I went early, so I could see them do their make up, and they explained what each colour means. Kathakali dance is so expressive. There are hundreds of different facial expressions used to tell the story.
The next day I flew up to Goa, and went to the capital Panjim. I spent the day wantering the city, while was facinating with all of it's european influences. There are beautiful churches and government buildings in Panjim. The next morning, I took a bus at 7 down to the very south of Goa, to Palolem beach. It's a beautiful cove with a white sand beach. I met another backpacker from Switzerland on the bus, and I spent the rest of that day with him, sitting on the beach reading. That afternoon, I had a flight back up to Delhi, and the next day, a train back to Chandigarh. I had planned to spend 2 nights and one day in Chandigarh visting all the people I met, but I just ended up staying at Anu and Naveen's house since I got really sick.
I am back in Vancouver now, and although I really miss India, I am happy to be here. I have made wonderful friends in India, and feel like I still have so much more to see. I am sure I will be back there at some point in my life.