I found Trivandrum to be the nicest of the Indian cities I had seen thus far. It had broad, tree-lines streets and it was very clean. It also wasn’t nearly as busy as other cities like Mumbai and Kochi. The view from Chako’s apartment showed mostly a landscape of coconut trees that was here and there broken by an area of houses or a high rise apartment building. The beach at Kovalam was tropical and gorgeous, and so was the Vivianta hotel, where we were staying. For dinner, I had prawns grilled on a stone slab that kept them hot even 30 minutes after they were served. They were charred with lots of hot spices and served with vegetables and potatoes. We had a wonderfully relaxing meal right on the beach, listening to the waves crash and watching the distant lights of fisherman’s boats.
Getting my first massage was very much a strange experience. For one, getting naked and having a man feel up my body was an idea that took some getting used to. All I had on was a little loincloth. The guy started by rubbing oil into my scalp, which actually felt really good. He chanted some kind of prayer beforehand, which was a little weird. Then he did a funny karate-chop-like move on my head and shoulders with both hands, and massaged my shoulders with oil. Then I laid down on my stomach while he spread oil on my back and seemed to squeeze my calf muscles down into my feet. At this point I was feeling pretty awkward and was kinda staring at the wall while my mind raced around, failing to keep clear and calm down. The man could tell I was tense and kept telling me to calm down and relax. Eventually, when I as on my back, about 2/3 of the way through, I stopped feeling awkward and started to enjoy it. It was too bad that the massage was almost over at that point. When it was over, my muscles felt great but I could not wait to get the oil off my skin. Well, I had to get a massage at least once in my life and I am open to the idea of getting another one sometime.