We still had two more days to enjoy in Gokarna. Our room is close to the beach, so it’s easy to leave our stuff and go for a swim. To shop and eat we walk 30 minutes on the path leading back into town.
There are cafes all along the beach, but we prefer to eat in town to avoid the beach premium. Pai Restaurant is our favorite and has lassis for 15 rupees and dosas and other items for around 15-20 rupees a piece, although we usually get an order of samosas as well to fill us up. We are still taking a little while to adjust to how cheap things are here in India. We asked Mariana how much various things should cost, and I’m still shocked that things are cheaper here than in Thailand. For example, we had dinner at one of the restaurants in town and each ordered the thali (meal set), which was 35 rupees ($0.77) a piece.
George and I are working on our eating technique, of eating just with our right hand. The restaurants all have a sink to wash your hands before and after the meal. It takes some skill to tear bread with just one hand. I always liked using bread to eat food, but when my bread runs out I steer towards the spoon that is usually provided. We are working up to mixing curry, or other sauce, with rice and eating it with our right hand. Still a bit too messy 😉 … I was brave enough to try a lassi (yogurt drink) the first day at Pai Restaurant, which is clean and has refrigeration. My stomach was fine, so I even had two today. I only knew about mango lassi before, but there are lots of flavors here, and mango is out of season, so I’ve tried pineapple, rose (yes, the flower), and sweet lassi. Yummy and refreshing! I wouldn’t have even tried a lassi if Mariana hadn’t been with us and told us that she hasn’t gotten ill once from drinking them. Once we move on to another city I will probably be reluctant to drink them. And of course there is good chai tea here, too! I just wish there was a cold version, like Thai iced tea. It’s so hot and the restaurants only have fans, so drinking a hot drink and eating spicy food makes us sweat like we’re working out. So far the food hasn’t been too spicy to eat, and yogurt or a lassi helps to cool down the burn.
The hotel we are staying at has the Dragon Restaurant right out front, on the beach. We got a triple room with attached bathroom for 500 rupees per night. There were cheaper huts along the beach, but some were dimly lit and dirty, and the bamboo ones would let the mosquitoes right in. Ours is clean, has real walls, and is more of a luxury version. They even provided towels and soap! I wish we had bought one of those micro fiber quick-dry towels before leaving home, but we thought they were too expensive at the time. When we traveled in SE Asia the rooms almost always came with towels and toilet paper. But it’s not so here in India. We had to buy a pack of tp for about double the price it would cost back home. We haven’t stayed in an air conditioned room so far, but a fan is usually enough. And there isn’t much need for hot water in this climate.
So we are relaxing at the beach for a couple days while finishing planning out our route throughout India. And the Arabian Ocean is so warm! You can walk right in. Too bad it isn’t crystal clear blue like some places we have visited. Still wonderful, though!
We are really enjoying India and it seems to be one of the least touristy country’s we have visited. Of course we haven’t gone to the most visited sights up north, but for example, we were the only foreigners on the bus ride from Bangalore to Gokarana. There is a whole hippie/foreigner crowd here at the beach town of Gokarna, but you can still see lots of locals and culture as well.