We are sweaty, packed tightly on the crammed bus. Bodies against bodies, sweat drips down our head and necks. Babies are passed from neighbors to friends. We stare out at the dusty ground as each movement vibrates through our bodies. Another world.
Emerging to winding streets we are relieved. The sunset casts an orange glow. Traders shout to each other comparing their sales and readying themselves for an evening of trade. The smell of incense is thick in the air.
We pass the famous granite carvings. We will explore them later on our trip but even at a glance they make an impression. Impossible to believe they are so old, beautifully carved elephants and an array of vivid scenes.
We make our way into the main town, which is not so big, but has a distinct charged energy. Beachside stalls, hippy cafes and hostels. It isn’t hard to see why weary travelers stay here. A stark contrast to India’s big cities. Shabby and calming. Space like and atmospheric.
We stroll along to the beach at the end of the road. Against the rocks the sand is bright white, littered with shells, sticks, gravel. Fishing boats line the shore, painted brightly in an array of colors: orange, yellow, pale blue.
We are unsurprised to see cows. But walking through the shallow water, they still engage our interest. Ribs visible through their thin strong frames, white skin and dark eyes, huge curved horns. We follow them into the warm water, looking down at the crustaceans and fish which surround our tired feet.