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Part 8
KERALA FEATURING VARKALA

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Three lovely, little ladies with what seemed to be a never ending enthusiasm for our camera, this shot taken during the bull races which we attended near a village between Kollam and Varkala (in Kerala). These races are held by the local villagers in a mud field not far from the main highway and so attracting peasants from all around. Immediately as we arrived, they offered us two seats with the very best view facing right up the center of the race track.




Some contestants were dragged along while being submerged in the muddy water until they reappeared hanging on to their leases and then quite dramatically continuing to belly surf up onto the surrounding grass. Sometimes the contestants had a hard time trying to make the bulls simmer down after their run had been completed and with so much bull power unleashed we were momentarily just a bit frightened that the entire entourage would come crashing  through the embankment where we were seated.





After half an hour or so it all calmed down
whereupon the races continued to
everyone's delight.






Along the beaches of Varkala fish is being caught using ancient but effective methods. Early in the morning, just before the sunrise, fishermen start tugging at endless hawsers to tow in the latest catch. Soaring above this scenery are sea eagles which occasionally come swo- oping down to grab hold of a bite.  It's a tough job and the men are continuously shouting while struggling with the ropes for all that they're worth.




View facing down from the cliff path of the ridge of Varkala.




A tattered poster hanging in a tree in Varkala village; such a common sight and so typical of India where advertising can occur virtually anywhere, sometimes lining the highways with gigantic boards out in the middle of nowhere in such a multitude that you can't even see the palm trees behind them!




Ritual music at the Hindu temple of Varkala.





A pair of young men and red bananas by a kiosk in the village.





One of many misspelled menus which we came across along our journey. The word "spenis" refers to spinach but what potto means I  haven't got a clue!





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High expectations filled the air.




There were some disagreements at one point concerning the exact whereabouts of the flag marking the far end of the race course, somet- hing which eventually turned into a wild frenzy of men shouting on top of their voices while gesti- culating  with clenched fists.

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It was a challenging demonstration and as far as I could tell aimed at showing off physical strength, both by animals as well as by men. But after a few hours it started to rain and so we returned to our taxi which was waiting  in the outskirts of the  campus.




Today's catch was truly amazing and as you can see, some of the fishermen were more than knee deep in the silvery wonders of the ocean, sorting out the variety of species before dividing it all between themselves and their families.





Surfing is pretty good on this coast line though one must keep a close watch on  the rips which  regularly carry out unwary tourists into the ocean. Also you have to be prepared to get bitten all over by tiny prawns, though they really don't hurt that much.




Me strolling along in the hot mid day sun on the path look- ing over the ocean. Walking the same way at night one could hear the breakers in the dark way down below while one had to step ever so carefully not to topple over the edge.




A sadhu taking a cleansing bath before climbing the long and steep stair case up to the holy temple.




Traditional Indian transporting system with Asian cows strapped to their overloaded carts while waiting for their boss to return from a luncheon next to the Kerala highway.




Carina seated behind the mosquito net in our room. All day long it's sun tan lotion but as soon as the sun goes down the repellents come on with their funny smells. As with all soap, washing detergents and perfumes, Indians seem to reason that the stronger the odour the better!


In front of Taj Mahal
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