Kovalam turned out to be a sleepy little beach town, well about as sleepy as India can get. It is quiet though, away from the honking of car horns. Quaint little shops line the beach, filled with merchandise that is definitely geared towards a Western audience. Vendors sell coconuts, fresh fruit, beach umbrellas and chairs. Stray dogs roam the beach, and signs advertise the catch of the day. I breathed a sigh of relief as I took off my shoes and dug my toes into the sand. Kovalam is charming really, and full of Europeans in bathing suits, not big baggy ones but Speedos and two-pieces. Some of the women were topless. I was giddy with delight at this natural expression of the body. Were we really still in India?
After seriously evaluating the artistic quality of many of the places offering henna, we settled upon a place and made our appointments.