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Published: February 21st 2008
It could only happen in India
Thursday 21st February 2008. 6.30pm
This morning we visited a Hindu temple in Madurai. It was absolutely massive. Inside the temple was a huge, live elephant. If you paid a certain amount of rupees the elephant would 'bless you' by laying its trunk on your head and shoulders. I resisted the temptation and just filmed instead.
After the temple visit we returned to the hotel, had lunch and proceeded on our journey. We only cycled about 40 miles to our next destination where a large, basic hotel awaited us. On the ride we passed a 30-40 foot ditch being dug out by over a 100 women. They each dug with an adze, filled a large bowl with the loose soil, hoisted the bowl onto their heads and carried it to the dump site. I wanted to capture this on film so leapt off my bike and started filming. The women promptly down tooled and began posing for the camera. I tried in vain to explain that I wanted to film them working, but to no avail, they just stood there, model like, smiling broadly. The poor driving standards of India were evident at this site since a lorry was
passing a minibus even though something was coming towards it and promptly rammed the minibus. All lorries have a second man who is very vulnerable in these cases since it is his side that gets hit. I took a photo of the crash and lo and behold a man appeared from nowhere to pose for me in front of it.
During today's ride I almost had the opportunity to test my 'dog dazer', a device designed to see off rabid dogs, if they should choose to attack. I was pursued for a distance by a very fierce dog, I reached into my pocket for the dazer and was about to fire when it gave up the chase, a shame really, as I was keen to see if the 'dog dazer' would actually work, especially as my daughter Joanne refused permission for me to practise on Nell, her border collie, before leaving for India.
On arrival at our latest destination, I went to visit the local market. I bought and ate a most succulent pineapple. It cost 15 rupees.(20p) There are 100s of really cute children here in India, who take a great pride in their appearance and just want to have their photographs taken. I have taken masses. One guy who spoke no English somehow managed to give me his address and made me understand that he wanted me to send him the photos I had taken, when developed.
Time for dinner.
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