Tanya and I first met 3 years ago in my past life in New York. 

We were both invited by a mutual friend for a day on the beach in Long Beach, New York. (See OLD photo) I knew instantly that we would hit it off. Our common love for photography, travel and sumptuous cuisine glued us together. We would often go on photo walks in Central Park or in Brooklyn. And once, we went on a road trip to Boston. Little did I know that I would see her again, years later, In India of all places!

A Reunion of Sorts

When I emailed Tanya that I was traveling to India in February of this year, she surprised me by saying: 'What? Me too!' It turns out, she would be traveling with a friend in India for a few weeks. We decided to meet up in Kerala, southern part of India. We both loved the beach so it was only appropriate for us to meet in the north cliffs of Varkala overlooking the beach. (See NEW photo)

I was still recuperating from a recent meltdown. I wanted to savor the moment and not have to worry about getting the perfect shot. So I told her: Gabe (my camera) will be staying at the hotel. Tanya is an awesome photographer and she was only too happy to oblige.

Varkala India

If you think the beaches of Goa had character, think again. Varkala is unlike any beach I've ever seen. It has restaurants and colorful shops perched perilously along a cliff edge. It has a sensational view of the beach from the top with a breathtaking sunset. The only downside is the creeping development which means there are many hotels and guesthouses and they throw their waste off the cliffs.

Varkala India

Varkala India

Varkala India

Varkala India

Varkala India

Varkala India

Varkala India

Varkala India

'Violating Massage'

One thing I've been wanting to try in India was the Ayurvedic massage. I had long been wondering how different it would be from the usual massage I got at home. I've heard that it was a traditional healing massage in India. Exactly what I needed after 3 weeks of carrying a heavy backpack. I knew very little about the treatment. Only that they used plant-based oils and sometimes used their feet to massage your back. Tanya and I just had to try it out.

Varkala India
Guess which Ayurvedic therapist I had?

We agreed to pay 350INR for a massage that was recommended by the Lonely Planet to be an authentic Ayurvedic experience. The first thing that worried me was when the therapist lathered my body with a very thick oil. I almost drowned in it. She then proceeded to give me a rather hard massage. But no, thankfully she didn't use her feet. I would say it was similar to any massage I've had in the past. The only difference would be the large amount of oil she used and her rather vigorous strokes. I was also very shocked when she massaged me in places I would much rather- well, not get massaged. You're touching me where? I was almost relieved it was over before the hour was up. I showered quickly and waited outside for Tanya to know if she had a similar experience.

I was surprised to see a fresh and very much relaxed Tanya stroll out 15 minutes later. It was obvious she just had the best massage in her life. Until now, I'm still not sure about the whole Ayurvedic experience. Perhaps that's one more reason I have to go back to India. And that's exactly how I felt then. Our India adventure was about to end but all I could think of was coming back.

This is part 7 of "Lois' Misadventures in India" series. If you haven't seen the breathtaking beaches of Goa, click here.

Just 2 more stops to go before the end of my India adventure. Next stop, the enchanting temples of Madurai and an 'Elephant Blessing'. 

Still missing Mother India while currently in Laos,
Sole Sister Lois

*All photography on this post are credited to TPH.

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11 Responses so far.

  1. ella says:

    hey lois, i dunno if it's just my browser but your texts in your recent posts are cut off short due to the layout. like the ends of every line are hidden by the blog columns or something.. i dunno how to explain it.
    i also encountered this problem in your 'sole food: guide to indian eats' post..

    great blog tho, and amazing photos! i've been stalking your blog since the your post about our bohol experience! :D

  2. Lois says:

    Hi Ella, we appreciate your feedback. Chichi and I have noticed this a while back. The text is indeed cut and many people have noticed it. Unfortunately, we lack the technical skills to fix it. If you know of anyone who can help, we will be sooo grateful.

    I do my best with the photos especially since I'm passionate about photography and FOOD! Thanks for dropping by!

  3. Lois says:

    It was great meeting you at the KIDS trek in Bohol. Hopefully Hutch and I will be joining again when we get back.

  4. ella says:

    hey lois, i had similar problems with reading other blogs before too, the bigger/smaller text option in the chrome browser before was able to fix it but they removed that option already. :/

    owell.. your photos do all the talking anyway and i'm green with envy everytime! :D i wish i could just pack up and leave too! (if only i have the resources.. lol)

  5. Steve says:

    What are the chances that you'd both be going to the same part of the world at the same time like that? It's so great that the two of you could meet again like that.

    By the way I had a weird massage once in Singapore. The girl used a lot of oil and climbed up to massage me with her feet. There was even a bar above us so she could grab onto it to keep her balance. I have to admit that I felt really relaxed and refreshed afterward though.

  6. love the snapshots of the beach, the vast shores remind me of the beaches in Australia

  7. Flipnomad says:

    love the beach... anlaki ng shore!!!

  8. Lois says:

    Thanks for the compliment on the photos. And we really appreciate any feedback that could help us improve the blog. Don't be envious, just start planning on your next trip! ;-)

  9. Lois says:

    I know Steve... Tanya and I are really sole sisters to the core. We keep meeting up in the strangest of place. And it always seems like no time has passed.

    I think they probably massage you with their feet if you're a guy. But they saw little me and realized they might break my back.. I wish I felt same as you after my massage.. All I could do was take a shower afterwards!

  10. Lois says:

    I want to see the beaches in Oz soon Claire. I've never been. I hope I get to surf there soon.

  11. Lois says:

    I loved it too... sadly, we couldn't swim very long in this beach. The waves were massive and they asked the people to get out of the water every few hours. The waves were THAT high!

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