Gods own country
That is the slogan of the Kerala Tourism Department. Kerala is the southest state of India at the west coast; 30 million people are living here on an area 10 times smaller than Germany. Kerala has the highest literacy rate in India (90 %) and the highest alcohol consumption per head.
So I couldn´t wait to reach the sea after all the time I traveled through landscapes full of deserts and mountains. I asked around for a nice beach and the people said: “Ettikulam beach. Fantastic! 15 Kilometer only.That way.” They didn´t tell me that there was a huge mountain in between and when I reached Ettikulam, a small fisher village, it was already dark.
I went to the beach, saw the stars twinkling trough the palm trees, felt the sand under my feet and heard the sound of the sea.
I put up my tent, but like the night in the desert, I wasn´t able to sleep much.I watched the sea coming nearer and nearer, listened to the sound of the waves when they broke and the fizzling sound when they flodded the sand. I saw small crabs running left and right, try to catch some food out of the water without getting pulled inside the sea. It was a magical night.
Next morning the sun rose up and it became fast too hot to stay in the tent. I woke up, jumped out of my tent and ran into the sea. Some old fishermen watched me with curiosity.
Under the palm trees some guys were playing domino, and they invited me for the evening. I had almost forgotten that it was New Year’s Eve, and they planned to make a small party at the beach. One of the guys whispered to me, what I would prefer to drink, whiskey or brandy?
They were all Muslims in that village, but the young people assured me, only to drink on special occasions. Sadly, many of the old guys do not so. Everywhere in Kerala where I went to the beach and I looked in the eyes of the people, mostly fishermen, they were red and glassy, and I could smell the alcohol.
Sometimes in the villages there was a huge crowd of people in front of a store: Than it was the liquid store, where people buy cheap boost, or a store where poor people wait to get their part of rice and flour from the government.
Though Kerala belongs to the richer states in India, many people are poor here. It took a while for me to realize, because I haven´t seen so many beggars or people sleeping on the streets, in fact many people have their own small house, build out of stones or concrete, but that doesn´t mean they are not poor. There is no possibility of a job, no income, no way to make some money to feed the family, and sadly many men invest the small money they get somehow in alcohol.
The families which are better situated send their children to private schools and colleges, and then off to dubai or oman to work there. The money they send back home, is an important economic factor in kerala.
Another factor is the Tourism. Not only foreigners, also many Indian people come to Kerala, to see the beaches, the backwaters, hillstations and tea plantations in the mountains, and of course important religious pilgrim sites.
Have a look at the pictures and enjoy!
For full size please click on the pictures: