Somehow my alarm didn't go off this morning or if it did I turned it off and then back on without waking up - either way it's concerning as I often rely on it. It wasn't a problem this morning as I only overslept about half an hour. I finished packing and left my bag at reception. The line for the ferry wasn't bad and I was able to get on the first boat. The ferry stoped at the Thiruvalluvar Statue first, where we were alowed off, but couldn't leave the landing due to construction - they're still finish the statue. At Vivekanada Rock I got off and wandered. There was nothing magic about the memorial mandapam or the temple over the Devi's footstep (a vaguely foot shaped lump in the rock) - they're much more spiritual when seen perched on the rock from across the water. Like most of my experiences recently the saving factor was that most of the other tourists on the rock were Indian.
Back on shore I hit the internet cafe, had lunch, then made my way to the bus stop to catch the bus to Kovalam. The "direct" bus got to Kovalam via Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) - some miles passed Kovalam. But the bus wasn't too crowded (for a change a fairly high percentage foreigners - maybe Indians don't go to Kovalam), and the scenery (mountains, jungle, rice paddies, and villages) was fantastic so the three and a half hour trip wasn't bad. Near Kovalam the man sitting across from me offered that he managed a hotel and gave me his card. I would normally be very suspicious of this, but the card had a name on it, didn't look used (and he let me keep it), and it was the hotel that had already been recomended to me. So from the bus station I followed him along the beach, then through a maze of walled back alleys, raised walkways through flooded paddies, and among the palm trees to his hotel. The hotel was fantastic - very clean, nice, new, cheap, and close to the beach - I bargained him down a little just on principal and then took the room (less than $3 a night). I sat on my porch and talked with the manager and his wife, then a couple other tourists who had been on the bus with me (including one who had been on the train from Madurai with me). As it got dark the intense heat let up a little but vicious giant mosquitoes appeared. I took shelter in my room and enjoyed a well needed and deserved shower before heading out to eat. Outside the hotel I ran into June (from Japan), and Christina (from Austria - she was on the train from Madurai) also heading out to eat so I joined them. I had a mostly fantastic (there were some strange bits - like the very strong, and wrong tasting, pickled lemon peel) thali.
Walking around the area I realized that it's almost all foreigners here - it's basically a Dahab, Phuket, Nungwi, or Lagos resort type place. But somehow it's still got the charm and hasn't been built up, plus there is a beach that's kept clean and isn't used as a toilet - I think this place might be perfect for a few days (or weeks) rest!