<<  Kanyakumari, 18-Jan-2013  >>

Where the 3 seas meet. Uhuh.

Sunrise over Bay of Bengal, sunset over Arabian Sea and Christian Portugal in-between

Apart from being able to say that I was at “the end of India”, there is not much reason to come to Kunyakumari (for non-Hindus). While Rameshwaram was a fantastic surprise for me, Kanyakumari was a major disappointment. First of all, it does not have too much cape-like feeling, it is not a narrow cliff-dominated peninsula (like for example capes in Portugal which I loved) - without looking at the map, it would be hard to say, that you’re standing on the cap. It looks just like a slightly curved piece of coast. Secondly, Kanyakumari looks like the worst combination of sea-side resorts: it has loads of silly souvenir shops of promenade of small Croatian towns in Makarska Riviera (but without magnificent backdrop of Biokovo mountains), crowds and kitschy-Disneyland-like atmosphere of American beach resorts and characterlessness of typical medium-sized Indian city. To put it short: it SUCKS. The only aspect of the city worth of mentioning, is its surprising cleanliness. There are trash bins and only little mess on the streets. So there is hope for India that one day, people will use trash bins and dumpsters instead of throwing everything straight on the ground.

Kanyakumari is described as “place where 3 waters meet – Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean” and even Gandhi said that “it is place of unparalleled beauty in this world”. He either must have forgotten his glasses or this place has dramatically changed since then… Anyway, although I found this fascination by “3 waters meeting” bit childish (it’s all Indian Ocean anyway), the truth is, that when you look to the east (Bay of Bengal), you see the sea of small, “aggressive”, wind-broken waves (like waves of European seas when it’s windy) and when you look to the west (Arabian), you see the sea of huge “patient”, rolling waves, that could be surfed, if the sea floor was right.

Disappointed by the city itself I went for a longer walk along the coast, and believe it or not, I must have walked into a cosmic wormhole, because I was transported to Portugal. The village next to Kanyamukamari was full of churches (4 churches in one village!), fishermen everywhere (good bye rice and spice, enter fish) – I helped few fishermen to drag their boat onto the beach and two of them introduced themselves: Maria Luis and Emmanuel (Maria Louis in India!) - fishing boats and house fences decorated by Christian motives and names like Franco and Madonna, colorful (and kitschy) houses, and I even attended Christian wedding. The only strange thing about this Portugal was, that if was full of Indians.
It seems, that Vasco da Gama left here something behind. Heheh, Maria Louis!

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     MARCEL STRBAK | www.strbak.com | www.facebook.com/marcel.strbak