We woke up at 4AM. To my surprise, I was not at all hung over, and managed the waking up better than many, by the looks of it. We were there for a morning sunrise pilgrimage, something completely lost on me as we loaded into prepaid taxis to the southernmost land tip of India. The cab driver stopped at what looked like no point in particular, given that it was still completely dark out, and made a gesture for us to continue on foot. Without any real idea where to proceed, I declared that I was going to “follow this group of guys who look like they know where they are going” and we headed down to the shoreline.

We were early enough to secure a spot wherever we wanted, so we chose a bench and ordered some chai. Checking my iPhone’s trusty compass, I thought I might find a better spot closer to the water, so I headed out to find a spot. Others joined me a bit later, and we talked while we waited for the sun to rise. While my iPhone camera does not do it justice, and the actual “sunrise” was marred by clouds on the horizon, I really felt happy that we had made our way there. There were thousands of people there, as there probably were every morning, overlooking Thiruvalluvar Statue (thank you wikipedia), bathing in the sea, and generally there for reasons more purposeful than our little stopover on our way through India.

Back we went to the station, we took a local train to Trivandrum, which featured some of the most striking landscapes i have seen in a country full of beautiful things to see:

Then on to Kovalam, which highlighted a different sort of beach town than Calangute, where my wife and son were waiting for me to return. It was smaller, quieter, more picturesque, and based on the prices being floated about from shop owners peddling their goods, there was a great deal more money thrown around here than you will find in northern Goa. Kovalam was where I decided once and for all, SOUTHERN INDIA IS TOO DAMN HOT DAMMIT. Troy and I thought we might get away from the usual act of securing a room to stash our bags and/or take a shower, but it was too hot not to shower, so we caved and went in with the rest of the group.

I tried to drink more, maybe continue the drunken good times from the day before, but the first beer just made me extremely sleepy, and I didn’t want to wake up in a beach chair with someone from the group yelling at me to jump in a Rickshaw, so I just stuck to window shopping and charging my dwindling phone battery.

It was a nice place to spend our last full day. We headed back out to Trivandrum and to the remarkable spiraling Indian Coffee House where we had the cheapest snacks one could possibly imagine. Then it was one last mad dash to our final train, another Rajdhani Express, which made me very happy.

Next: The final day, and the decision not to proceed to Panvel.