As promised, ten year old Craig is my guest blogger. Here is his account of Cherai Beach:
"At Cherai Beach we went high wave jumping and built sand castles. It was sooooo much fun! Until the second day:( we were walking on the beach with big waves right at shore. First, I tripped then came a big wave which smashed me into the rocks. I got a big bruise on my thigh, good cut on my foot, bump on my head and blood on my knee which, after a few days is still hurting and sore but other than that great trip!!!"
Well that about sums it up in a nutshell from Craig.
I'll elaborate a little but I'm sure my account won't be half as exciting:
From the houseboat we took a 2 1/2 hour taxi ride to Cherai Beach (1000INR). The drive was ok except through the city of Ernakulum which is big, busy and full of grey highrises. Made me appreciate Bangalore with all the trees, parks and low buildings.
We stayed at Cherai Beach Resort. Our hut looked out over a peaceful lake. And just across the road from the resort is the Arabian Sea. It was so nice to swim in the ocean. Actually the waves were big, you couldn't really swim. In fact you couldn't let your guard down or you would get pounded by a huge wave. Hence, Alanna coined a new term, "sea walloping." We all had so much fun trying to jump higher than the wave, diving under or trying to body surf. And if we didn't time it right we got a good "sea walloping!"
The beach was long and sandy but they are in the process of building up a breakwater with boulders between the road and the sand. I guess when it gets stormy the water would easily swamp the road.
We booked the "Monsoon Package" - 2 nights, including all meals for 12,200INR (for four of us). The food was good for the most part. The Kerala fish in banana leaf was excellent, as was the mango milkshake and fresh grape juice.
The Monsoon Package also included an Ayurvedic Massage for both Michael and I. We decided to take advantage of it the first night. We didn't know where to go so we went to reception and they sent us off with a little old man to show us the way. We followed him to the lake and he motioned for us to get into the boat. Oh oh, we thought there must be some mistake and we tried to explain that we were going for a massage, not a boat ride. But he nodded vigorously, saying, "massage, massage." And so we got into the narrow canoe and he paddled us a short way to some huts. Off we got and sure enough this was the massage hut.
An older Indian woman and a man were waiting for us. We each went to a separate room, me with the woman, and Michael with the man. The room was bare bones, with a massage table with no linen on it at all. There was a two burner gas stove. One side was heating up oils, the other side was heating up water.
I lied down on the table and she plied me with so much oil that I was scared that I would slide right off the table. It was an odd but relaxing hour. After the massage I stood up and she had a tall drink ready and she said to drink it all at once. She spoke little English so I have no idea what it was but I drank it (I was a little bit scared of her). The drink didn't have much taste.
Then she put me into a steam shower, the kind that looks like a small capsule. You step into it and the door shuts around your body, with just your head sticking out. The hot water on the stove was heating up the steam shower. I sat there for about ten minutes by myself, sweating. She let me out and I had quite the time showering and trying to get the oil off of me and out of my hair.
Next she gave me another drink and a small pill which again I took but had no idea what it was. Then she had a small bowl of red, brown and white "paint" which she put on my forehead. That was the finishing touch and she walked me out to wait for Michael. Of course I was still sweating from the steam bath and immediately wiped my brow. Oops...she took me back in and redid my forehead.
Back to the beach. On the second day we decided to walk along the beach to where we had seen more people in the water the day before. The tide was right up to the rocks and down further there was a bit of a beach. When we got there no one else was there.
The kids jumped into the water but Michael and I noticed a group of fifteen guys coming down the beach towards us. Sure enough they stopped and sat on the rocks and stared at us. This is pretty common because there aren't many tourists on the beach and the Indian guys just stare at the westerners in their bathing suits.
We felt a little uncomfortable, being the only ones there so we decided to walk back to our beach by the resort. I took the road and Michael and the kids decided to walk along the shore. This is where Craig's story comes in.
Michael had a backpack on and was carrying four towels and the kids each had a towel around them. I lost sight of them as the rocks hid them from view. So after a bit I climbed the rocks to see where they were. That's when I saw Michael up to his waist in water and the backpack getting soaked. Waves were crashing into him and he was stumbling. Then I look behind him and I see the kids climbing up the rocks.
I start waving to Michael to come up the rocks but he wouldn't. So I went to help the kids. Just as I got to them about ten guys in matching blue shirts come running up, looking very concerned. I'm assuming they were lifeguards. Sure enough Craig had hit his head on the rocks and had some scrapes on his arms and legs. Alanna had some scrapes as well.
Luckily nothing more serious happened, the waves were really crashing in. The three of them had another good "sea walloping" and I think we all learned a good lesson that waves and rocks don't mix - at least don't put yourself between them.
So that was it for the morning, we walked back to the hut pretty dazed. Took it easy, had lunch and rested. But then we decided we didn't want to end the trip like that so off we went in the afternoon when the tide was out again. The kids jumped right in and didn't come out for 1 1/2 hours. We had a blast and watched the sun go down.