Published: April 7th 2007April 7th 2007
The Route So Far
Sally Evers & Nick Griffith
We are back on the road again, and this time for our last trip before we get back to the real world :) For those of you who don't know (or care) we are in India for the next 3 months to soak up the sun, temples and smells!
We started in Chennai just over a week ago, which is on the East Coast. We got off the plane to the smell of curries which we thought was quite funny. It was pretty smelly and hot but a good introduction to India, we spent a couple of days there because there was a government strike on our second day which meant all shops and flights into Chennai were closed / cancelled - it was a bit surreal and like London being totally shut down for the day. We did not need to worry too much though as everything opened up again at 7pm so we made it out to a bar called Zara's for a night of drinking cocktails, yum yum.
One of the first mad experiences we had was our rickshaw crashing
Pondicherry Policemen have the same get up as french ones
(ok, bumping) into the car in front, a few angry hands were waved by the driver and then he drove off. Its fair to say that the drivers out here are mad, they don’t stay in their lane and priority is by size and how loud your horn is!
We got a bus out of the city to the beach resort of Mamalupuram. This was more like it, sun, sea and a very laid back way of life. We were there with Daryl from the night before and visited the shore temple and 5 Rathas that were pretty cool but the heat was too much so the boys headed into the sea. We enjoyed a meal of tiger prawns that were more like mini lobsters.
A couple of days later and we starred as Bollywood extras back in Chennai. It was fun for the first hour as we had to do Indian dance moves (the film was set in a nightclub) but then it got too hot, what with no air con and the studio probably being above 40 degrees. Nevertheless we will tell you when the premiere is (we also got paid 7 quid for our time
We were not the glamourous extras as both had sweat dropping off us for the whole day. Make up was only a necessity for the 3 leading actors!
which was a bonus).
Pondicherry, a former French colony, was an afternoon trip - very pleasant - we visited an Ashram (Meditation center) and wandered around the Boulevard-type streets. We then took our first night train in air con sleeper. As it was bloody expensive Nick and I were expecting a beautiful wooden carriage with crisp Egyptian cotton sheets and our own Manuel. What we got was a blue plastic bed and 7 Indian men eating their curry on it before we arrived, still it was fast and quite comfortable.
We spent a day at Kanyakumari, the Lands End of India, where the Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean and Arabian sea meet - we were not quite sure where. We then had a guided tour round a temple (the wrong way) and we were given our first Bindi spots!
The next highlight was Varkala, a cliff lined beach resort that was a haven to relax in. We checked into our bamboo bungalow (a fiver a night) and then experienced an Ayurvedic massage (not together). Its not for the modest as we had to strip totally naked and were then given a piece of muslim cloth to cover
our nether regions. With about a litre of oils being massaged into the body it was totally relaxing but I felt like I should be in a chip pan with that much grease.
To finish off the week we thought it was time we chilled out and hired a traditional houseboat to take us around the backwaters of Kerala, supposedly India’s Venice. It was very relaxing as we did not do much, just watched the goings on of the river, ate yummy food and listened to our captain honk his horn (you cannot get away from it, even on the river!). Our captain, Sabu, was cool and let us drive the boat and visit his family.
Our first thoughts on India: We love it - friendly people (even though they do rip you off most of the time), sunshine, yummy curries, beautiful places, diversity and cheapness (our cheapest journey today was a 20 min ferry ride at only 5p each - it’s a bit mad)
Hope you are all well back home, if you have a mo, leave us a message, cheers, Sal and Nick J
There are more photos below