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Beaches, banana chips and fighting with rickshaw drivers in Kannur, Kerala

Posted by on October 3, 2012
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We had agreed on 150 rupees, and yet there we were, finally at our accommodation, Shoreline Beach Resort, in Kannur, Kerala, arguing with the rickshaw driver, who now demanded 200 rupees.

He had gotten majorly lost along the way, and we had a feeling he’d up the price.

Once we arrived, he wouldn’t take 150. He started ranting in Malyalam and said something about 170. So we said, “Fine, we’ll give you 170″ just to get him off our backs. Then, the driver all of a sudden wanted 200 for all the gas he spent trying to find the place. It wasn’t our fault he got lost. If he didn’t know the way, he shouldn’t have taken us.

Eaman staunchly refused. The driver threatened to call the police. He kept yelling in Malyalam. Then he got all up in Eaman’s face. He probably would’ve spit in our faces if he didn’t want our money so badly.

The fight became a shouting match — with the driver doing all the shouting — so finally, we paid 180, only because Hamza himself gave us the 20-rupee difference.

And this was our welcome to India’s most laid-back state.

We unfortunately let this scuffle get to us. There was a whole day of feeling blase and a morning of badgering the hotel owner to fix the broken but promised WiFi — something that normally wouldn’t have bothered us. But after cooling down and smelling the sweet coconut air of Kerala, we opened our eyes to what was in front of us: a beautiful (and cheap) beach resort where we were the only guests, with a beautiful ocean view, a deserted beach to stroll down and freshly cooked meals brought to us on our balcony every day. What the hell was wrong with us, worrying about a stupid fight? It was an important reminder not to sweat the small stuff.

During our four days, we did little worth mentioning as far as acitivites go, but for us, nothing was everything. It was an opportunity to see a different side of India, one where crossing the street isn’t a game of Frogger or toilet smells don’t pervade the air. It was also a wonderful way to charge up before heading north to complete our busy Jaipur-Agra-Delhi itinerary, commonly known as the Golden Triangle route.

So what did we really do? Well, we watched ridiculous sunsets and played in the warm ocean water. We saw a theyyam ritual at a local temple and watched fisherman catch a day’s bounty. Oh, and did I mention the sunsets?

Our balcony.

Lunch of fish, veggies, fruit and rice.

Walk through the neighborhood.

I know the thing to do in Kerala is the overnight houseboat on the backwaters, and we had every intention of doing it, but as it turns out, the backyard of our hotel was basically a backwater, so we skipped it to save money and avoid further transportation frustration.

We visited the local temple in town to watch the ancient ritual known as theyyam, a tradition found mostly in northern Kerala. During the performance, a man in an elaborate costume assumes the spirit of god and bestows blessings on those in attendance. As in, people literally go up to him and whisper their wishes into his ear. It was pretty trippy — loud drums, chanting, fire. Good thing there were some lovely, English-speaking locals who explained it to us after.

We got the inside scoop on the best banana chips in town. You can find banana chips in other parts of India, but the Keralan speciality is cooked in coconut oil. Nomnomnom.

Those birds in the sky are actually bald eagles. Dozens of them would migrate from one end of the beach to the other at sunset.

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