During the third week of our six week stay in this southern part of India, Michael and I started to tire of the non-western standard of living and the garbage.
However, we’ve heard the further north you travel, the dirtier India gets. So, we’re grateful to be in the “cleaner” part of India. Except, further north, along this western coast, we’ve been told Goa is cleaner than Kerala. It seems in Goa, they understand the importance of clean beaches to attract westerners.
I’m studying traditional yoga here with a yoga teacher who is internationally renowned for his Yoga for Stress Management program. After my training sessions are finished he’s off to Switzerland, then Saudi Arabia.
I’m mentioning this, because I asked him why is India so dirty? Along with the obvious answer, the unavailable infrastructure to handle so much garbage from the ever increasing population, there isn’t the western awareness of the importance of an overall cleanliness.
A very simple answer to such a complex issue.
But, I get it because I see it here in southern India. There are westernized Indians with un-westernized ways alongside those Indians who have never been exposed to western ways. Not that the western way of cleanliness is “THE” way, as western cleanliness seems to have tipped to the extreme. Many North Americans anyway, seem to sanitize their hands after touching something. However, when it comes to India’s overall cleanliness and respect for the environment, it seems there are areas here that could be improved upon.
So, Michael and I have started to look for more westernized areas to balance our experience. So far, this involved an hour and a half scooter drive north, along the southwest coastline to the city of Kochi.
However, there is still beauty. Beauty in the people. The ocean. The many tropical birds, butterflies and lush greenery all around us. The beauty is here, I’m just processing my way through this reality to come though the other side.
Mararikkulam North Moments
Our homestay hostess, Mini is a beautiful woman, inside and out! Here, Mini is dressed for a family function in Kochi.
Clement, from North India, is the all-round homestay helper. I like Clement. He doesn’t say much, but has a sense of humor that slips out every once in a while! Clement is preparing to take the coconut that was drying in the sun under a mosquito net, into the kitchen.
Clement has our laundry hanging out to dry!
Selfies before the beach!
On our walk to the beach, close to our homestay, the neighboring homes are hidden within the trees.
A local dog, Michael has affectionally called Olive, stops by for some love!
The area across from the beach.
A shanty home covered in black plastic:
A newly constructed, more modern dwelling:
Driving south from our homestay is the neighboring village of Chethy. The streets are still decorated from the recent May 1st public holiday:
Here is the small restaurant that we were first charmed by, but the novelty wore off with us wanting to eat here because of how dirty it is.
The public, front kitchen, with the happy cook!
The back kitchen…..
Seeing the back kitchen was THE reason I no longer wanted to come here because vegetarian dishes like this one are always served from the back kitchen!
However the people are friendly and very welcoming!!
These treats sit out – without a cover while flies land on it. People grab and eat these with their tea. Kinda like, but nothing like, having a Tim Hortons coffee and a donut.
One evening, as the sun was setting, while we were leaving the Malabar Bakery & Hotel, a small bird sang a beautiful song.
The pink Catholic Church across the street from the Malabar Bakery & Hotel.
There aren’t any rooms for rent at the Malabar Bakery & Hotel. It seems a hotel can also be a place where you can sit, drink tea and eat food.
A transformer that has the electrician side of Michael fascinated because of exposed connections.
Michael and I stop at another little spot in Chethy, but soon discover there is less food available here than the Malabar Bakery and Hotel.
But there are cold drinks! Two young children enjoy lassies!
This little boy looks to be negotiating with the shopkeep to know how much can he buy with the rupees he has! 🙂
Pretty trees at a really nice house across the street.
At the entrance of a different home, young children are happy to say hello!
Continuing south, the next village is Mararikulam and Mararikulam Beach.
Bus stop at the four corners where you turn to head to Mararikulam Beach:
A family, like Michael and I, drive to the beach.
Driving to Arthunkal is driving north from our homestay.
Stopping to fill the scooter with gas!
A young boy is passenger with perhaps his father?
Meat for sale!
One evening, we stopped at this supermarket in Arthunkal, looking for peanut butter and apples. We found peanut butter but no apples. Lots of bananas!!
Inside the store.
Two of the young workers in the supermarket!
Someone rinsing a roof adjacent to the store.
The man on the bike is selling lottery tickets located on a board attached to the handlebars.
A nun walking along the road.
Mangoes for sale out of the back of the truck.
That evening, back at our homestay in Mararikkulam North, we see unique ant formations as they appear to be feeding on something.