The boys have been enjoying their summer holidays, spending most days parked in front of the PC. I tried to get them out of the house whenever I could make the time. One evening last month I took them to the lighthouse on Vypin island. I first toyed with the idea of taking the boat to Vypin, and then catching a local bus. Finally, I thought that might be too uncertain a journey for two young boys, especially in view of the intense spells of summer rain we’d been getting. I finally hired a taxi, and the sky was clear when we set out.
Forty-five minutes later, after crossing the Goshree bridges, we were at the lighthouse. After I’d bought the tickets, the boys told me we must be careful about the wild bees. “This is a lighthouse, not an apiary,” was my baffled response. They then showed me this notice.
No footwear, umbrellas, sticks, or bags. I assume there must be some logic behind these prohibitions, though I can’t think of any. A couple of years ago, cameras were not allowed; I was thankful they’d dropped that silly restriction. We began climbing the steps (over 200 of them!) with our bare feet. Three quarters of the way up, my younger son, clutching at his crotch, expressed an urgent desire to pee. “Why didn’t you tell me when we were down?”, I asked, exasperated. Well, we’d climbed too far up to retrace our steps. “Try and hold it,” I advised helpfully. We continued wending our way up. It was hard work!
The views from the top were spectacular. By now, the sky had become cloudy and overcast.
This church stood out among the coconut trees.
The Ernakulam mainland was faintly visible in the distance.
And here are the wild bees we were warned against. They seemed peaceable enough. Perhaps they had been provoked into attacking visitors earlier?
The coconut trees that Kerala is famous for flexed their green power:
By now it was clear that the heavens would open up any moment now, so we made our way down and walked to the beach. This lone tree, defiant, stood etched against the lowering sky.
And as the first big fat raindrops began falling, we opened our umbrellas and huddled under them. This was the last shot I got before I had to pack my camera.
Before I close, there is one little detail I must mention. On top of the lighthouse, the pressure finally became too much for my younger son to withstand. I looked around. There was nobody on our side. I moved him a bit more inside, farther from and safely out of sight of the other visitors, but closer to the bees. And as I apprehensively watched the the bees hovering around, my son let fly, joining a select handful of 9-year-olds worldwide who have been lucky enough to pee from lighthouses.