The state of Kerala, way down south, is where those beach-combing backpackers-in-the-know go when Mumbai leaves them feeling cold and Goa leaves them feeling guilty. Here you’re back in the ‘real India’, at least, both good and bad. The good is that you’re actually in a foreign country, not just a tourist colony. The bad, depending on your tastes, is that alcohol once again is a precious commodity. That’s no problem for me, but it is for some people.
But the worst part is that the banks don’t work. You never really know until you enter a country or a province whether your ATM card is going to work or not. Theoretically they always do, but sometimes they don’t, depending on whether they’re inter-connected with international systems. In Pakistan I could only find one, plus all their branches, of course. In India I’ve had no problem, until Kerala. My ATM card worked at the train station in Trivandrum, so I figured no problem. In Varkala, I have no such luck. (More …)