Visakhapatnam (Vizag), India
Day 171: Country #20
Visakhapatnam is really hard to pronounce so everyone refers to it as Vizag. I chose to come to this somewhat untraveled city because of its position between Kolkata and Hyderabad. However, as the capital city of Andhra Pradesh state and location on the coast, it is a relatively large city that’s worth a brief visit if only for its beaches.
With my hotel relatively close to the beach, it made sense to start there, but instead I opted to go the long way around. I expected to catch a bus along one of the main roads, but there were hardly any vehicles around. Interestingly, even when there was only one vehicle on the road, the one car would still honk!
I noticed a plethora of hospitals and clinics as I kept walking, which kept me interested and wondering if Vizag was some sort of medical hub for Indians.
When I reached the Lawson Bay district, I headed toward the beach until I got to VUDA park, where I saw a handful of people walking around. Beyond VUDA park’s gardens lies the beach, which was also empty.
I walked south along the beach, passing by the lighthouse, then made my way to the Visakha Museum, but it was closed, so I continued to the submarine museum, which had a few tour groups. Then I headed back to the beach to get a closer look at some stone structure that appeared to be buried in the water.
I stayed on the beach and enjoyed the slightly cooler breeze as I headed toward the more formal section of RK beach, hoping to see more people than stray dogs hiding under boats for shade from the hot day.
Finally, I reached one busier area, demarcated by a strange gorilla statue. There were a couple of food vendors around catering to a handful of groups. I opted to find a restaurant that could properly cook a Briyani.
It was interesting seeing the parallels between Indian and western beach vacation culture. Although, the manifestations are different, the spirit of adventure and cultural mixing was apparent.
In a large country, you can expect to see lots of variations on different foods and customs. Although, they may share a common name, for example, Briyani is fried rice with spices, the variation of spices and flavors can differ dramatically. I like to find a common item and try it in different cities and regions.