Merry Christmas everyone! We hope that you had a lovely day. It was a very surreal Christmas for us – we spent most of the day sunning ourselves on the beach and not feeling particularly festive (despite the group of merry Aussies next to us who were wearing santa hats and shouting “Merry Christmas!” to every passer-by!) We celebrated the day by taking ourselves out for a delicious dinner in the evening, at a lovely veggie/vegan cafe in Palolem called Little World, and we watched It’s a Wonderful Life on our balcony, as well as Skype-ing our families to wish them a Merry Christmas and catch up on all their news.
Palolem was our home for the week, and it was beautiful. It is quite touristy, but not overwhelmingly so. The beach is golden, the palm-fringed sand stretching for miles, and the sea is calm and clear. Overall a perfect place to unwind for a few days! We even channelled our inner Jason Bourne and went for a few runs along the beach – it’s where they filmed the opening scenes of The Bourne Supremacy.
The highlights of our trip were definitely the two boat trips that we took. One day we took a fishing boat up the river, drifting peacefully through the green trees and watching monkeys playing in the bushes. At one point we stopped while the boatman took some chicken scraps out from a hatch in the boat and started to throw them in the river…suddenly we could hear the flapping of giant wings and then there were eagles everywhere! It was incredible to watch these beautiful birds of prey swooping and diving.
We also saw a few Kingfishers on our river cruise, blink-and-you-miss-it flashes of brilliant blue and orange flitting down to the water and then back into the branches. We were really lucky to be able to watch them from the restaurant balcony where we were staying, and David was even quick enough to snap one!
On Christmas Eve, Mary treated us to a boat trip out to sea. We sleepily climbed aboard the little fishing boat early in the morning – our mission, to spot some dolphins! Our boat captain had already warned us that a sighting was not guaranteed, so we were hopeful, but ready to be disappointed. The trip itself was lovely anyway, out on the open ocean with the wind in our hair, passing hidden coves and little islands. After around forty-five minutes, we turned and started to head back the way we had come, and we exchanged disappointed looks. Then, we noticed that there was a small cluster of boats idling up ahead. As we got nearer there was a shout – dolphins! We floated for around 10 minutes, watching two or three dolphins teasing us with tiny jumps, just breaking the surface of the water. We were so happy that we got a chance to see these beautiful creatures out in their natural habitat, such a great Christmas gift!
On Boxing Day we piled into a taxi with all our bags at around 11pm, to take the hour and a half trip to the airport. We were sad to see Mary go, but glad that she had an enjoyable trip (there were murmurs of a second holiday!) We said goodbye and then it was another taxi trip for us – this time a half hour drive to Madgaon railway station. Since our train to Kochi was due at 5.55am, we thought there was little point in finding somewhere to sleep for the night. We arrived at the train station at 1.30am and settled down for a fitful nap using our backpacks as pillows on the platform. However, when 7am rolled around and there was still no sign of our train, we were distinctly tired and grumpy. Eventually we rolled out of the station, cosy in our much-longed for berths, nearly two hours late. We were finally on our way to Kerala!
By the time we pulled into Kochi at 8.30pm we were tired, hot and rumpled, but we had made a friend who gave us lots of tips for the best plces to visit in his city, and helped us to flag down a tuk-tuk over to our hostel. We fell asleep almost as soon as our heads touched the pillow. Back on our journey, stay tuned for our Keralan episode.
C & D xx