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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Backpacker (Gokarna): Paradise…

Sun sand surf sunset sunrise serenity simple surrendering sweet swim sensual – all in 1
Abeer’s dad said to him that if you REALLY wanna know a person, travel with him/her/them. Nothing invokes raw personalities and characters whilst on an unknown terrain and situation. I kept this thought in mind.

We reached Gokarna at 3:00am and camped out at the surprisingly well-equipped and pristinely well maintained (by that I mean spotless) Gokarna Road Station. There were several student revellers post the recent board exams so we helped out 2 young girls with transport and reaching Kudle along with us in the morning. The journey was fun and sweet. We captured some moments on camera as the train trailed through the slightly inward Konkan coast. Watched how guards sent signals and managed an ever-running-never-stopping Indian railway system, which still employs manual labor and skills across the country. A thought that makes me smile.

Gokarna was trekking walking trudging and exercise from the word ‘Go’ ‘karna’ – a play on we have to do it on the mark. I was pleasantly surprised by this extremely small beach-town so interwoven and colourful yet so modern and humble. There was seva everywhere. Tourists thronged every nook and corner – mostly hippies, yogis, long-term vacationers and part time marvellers. What was common between them all was they were all comfortably and barely dressed, some even without footwear and they were all over Gokarna like they would walk through their living rooms back home. It was a v v beautiful sight and something Abeer and I can relate to. The temples and the facilities are all walking distance but mind you there is nothing that you will need in Gokarna and it isn’t there. Nope… it’s ALL there. The tourist attraction hasn’t upped the greed scale of this place like other destinations in India and that’s why I never argued much about paying for anything cuz it was always in INR 100s…

Our stay was comfortable at best. I see the logic now as we barely stayed indoors. Just came to take 1 of many 100 showers in the day and change there. Our room became a laundromat come baking oven. It was supremely hot but since we had dragged our tired feet through deep dry sand across Kudle beach at 6:30am and were told no shacks, huts, rooms or even beds were available… we took this 1. We were glad we did and I would go back there anytime. Ref: Sea View Resort. Don’t be fooled by the exotic names. They are v v bare basic living quarters and for INR 400/- a night they were easy on Abeer and my travel pockets. Abeer kept drilling in my head too that we were backpackers and backpacker stay was the way to go. My biggest pet peeve was bathrooms ALWAYS. I REAAAAALLLLYYY had to let this 1 go as I shared common toilets and showers with all other roomies at the resort. Abeer was understanding and always accommodating of my needs – something that I learnt on this trip on a deeper level. He didn’t leave me to fend for myself as a grown up capable woman. Rather he was far more caring and even watchful of me and my movements, needs, pangs etc. This was what I was looking for in this trip – to learn about each other.

Happy feet boating through all 4 beaches!
I watched as he soaked in not doing anything. We barely had 2 days so there were times it felt like we had nothing to do and then moments later an awesome plan would fall into place. In 2 days we visited Kulde, Om, Half moon and Paradise beach, went boating on the local fishing catamarans, trekked through scenic and sometimes wretched terrain between beaches separated by rocky hills, watched the most beautiful sunrise and sunsets, tried more than 5 eating joints, marvelled at every meal and bottle of beer (thank you UB for keeping us sorted), and swam a lot. I was happiest in my bare minimums. Happy that I could wear and look like whatever at any time of the darned day and no one would judge or gossip about it. I felt my skin soak in everything and was open to wearing my bikini for the 1st time as well as get tanned. Most of all I was happiest that Abeer and I made this trip. We were childlike and hungry and thirsty altogether. We went about town and even visited the local most famous temple – Mahabaleshwara. There was minor drama when we were down to planning the next leg of our trip – Abeer always changes his mind every 20mins. Something he proudly calls not planning and going with the flow. I wasn’t following the flow cuz it changes streams and directions all too many times. We finally settled on our Kerala tour map and planned the next leg of the trip.

It’s amazing how a change in destination and setting can change or alter your relationship. I had been on mini 1s with him but this was our 1st big one. I like how much of a beach bum, raw and amazing Abeer gets in such places. Like me, he is a water baby. The tropics calm us. The intimacy takes several detours (all good 1s) and vacation romancing your boyfriend is a new thrill. I was sold. I was excited for more exhaustive days ahead and having really chilled at Gokarna, I was all set to rough it out. 1 of the memorable moments of this trip was trekking it to Om beach for a romantic dinner at Namaste Café and beers at the Dolphin Café. We witnessed a live police drill with the youngest graduates of the Gokarna Police Acad versus some long term hippies (I guess that’s the term) who indulged alternately in water and beer and had interesting conversations that made no dynamic sense on a beach. We still felt like it was the right place. 
Sunset at Om beach from Dolphin Cafe -
the perfect perch to capture this view!
P.S. Recommend a beer with a loved 1 :)

I miss Gokarna. I do. I miss what it gave me till Sunday 17:00pm IST. It gave me my Abeer in a very loving interesting fun crazy and himself form. It gave me his and mine 1st trip. It gave me his time and some of his undivided attention. It gave me backpacking story –I’ll be honest this was barely backpacking in the true sense and I am looking fwd to a new rugged 1. It gave me a weekend away from the city and some of its prime evils. It gave me until it decide to take some… (next post)