Money, Money, Money
Money - Bring Euros and get them changed in one of the many places around the backs of the Restaurants and shops on the beach front, they're safe sop don't worry it's just that you usually get a better rate than in one of the places on the beach. Other than that enjoy :)
Cloths - If you're getting cloths reproduced or just a suit made from scratch, give them a few days to do it, some places will create shirst and shorts within hours but a suit can take 3-4 days and even then give them 5 in case you need it taken out or adjusted.
Beer - Comes in bottles and a paper bag or news paper, the licence to sell alcohol is so expensive that it's cheaper for them to bribe the local police and then give you the beer like this, they usually ask you to place the bottle at your feet too.
Be a fisherman for a day.
Kovalam is still very much a fishing town and every night boats leave for the sea bringing the nights catch early next morning. Also used on these beaches are nets dropped by boats every night into the sea and pulled in full of catch the next morning. If your up to it you can help pull the nets in (takes around 50 - 70 people to pull in a single big net). It's quite an experience with the fisherman signing their local songs as you pull away. You can feel yourself truly morphing into the local culture and getting a strong taste of their daily life.
Backwater cruise - part 2
After cruising the backwaters we entered the estuary, the place where the lake, river and sea meet. Here we went up close to a holiday resort and a statue erected by locals. I also had chance to buy a coconut from a local in a boat.
"Light House Beach"
The Light House Beach is a beautiful sight at sunrise, the place is completely empty except for the odd surfer trying to get a few decent waves before the crowds appear and the life guards tell them to move into the safe areas.
Up and down the beach during the day you will get people trying to sell you things, most of which aren’t great but you’ll also get women selling fruit. Be careful of who you buy fruit from, you could start a war… Each woman has her own patch and if you try to buy from someone not supposed to be working in your area the arguments can get heated and very funny. There’s no violence though so don’t worry, they all do it and only one of them is mad enough to get worried about it, the one with coke bottle glasses.
The Sand gets very warm during the day but you can rent sun lounges and umbrellas for next to nothing, as soon as you walk onto the beach someone will approach you to rent one so don’t worry about not finding one. We stayed at the far end of the beach, away from the light house and close to the life guard, boogie boards are great fun but can knock the life out of you. We rented the beds and umbrellas from Michael, very decent man, he always kept the beds for us even if we disappeared for lunch and always moved the umbrella and beds to keep us in the shade, I felt bad about it but it’s part of the service and everyone gets it. Oh and you’ll find a few dogs on the beach, they’re very friendly and they’ll sleep under your bed in the shade.
"Somewhere to eat"
There are a lot of decent places to eat on the beach front and even one that'll do both Indian food and western food but a word of warning, what you expect and what you get won't be the same :) Fish fingers might be on the menu as Fingers of Fish and won't look like birdseye when you get them but they're just as nice. My advice, stick to local food, try a little of everything. The fish is always fresh and plentiful due to the fishing villages down the road. We were invited by a friend from the area to lunch but in a restaurant the local shop owners would use and we got some really great food. We passed it everyday going to and from our hotel off the beach but never realised it was a restaurant so keep an eye out for little places like this. We had our food served on a Banana leaf.