Tiruvannnamalai


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February 5th 2009
Published: February 26th 2009
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We arrived into Trivandrum after a seven hour bus journey and checked into our hotel at 5pm on Sunday. We've decided to try to avoid travelling on Sundays if we can as the bus service seems to be reduced and much slower with lots of locals sightseeing too. As we travelled from the state of Tamil Nadu into Kerala we passed by banana plantations and wind farms. Trivandrum is the capital city of Kerala state and appears to be a wealthy place - large upmarket shops and fine public buildings. We popped into the public library for a nosy and it was well stocked, computerised and efficiently run. A million miles away from the dusty, under resourced library we saw in Delhi. We went to the Zoo here and whilst it wasn't great, there was a fair range of birds and animals and some enclosures and the Reptile House were well laid out. (check out the photos of us getting up close and personal with a pair of lions!) We went to check out the Connemara Market - clothes stalls surrounding a busy and smelly fish market. The food in southern India is very different to the north - I'm enjoying the different vegetable curries but until lately Vin tended to stick to a few trusty favourites. However over the past few days we have thrown caution to the wind and have been a bit more adventurous and are no longer surprised when our food is served on a banana leaf! We tried bhatura - a soft round flat bread, kulfi - Indian style ice cream with pistachio, red bananas - not very different to yellow, masala dosa - a crispy rice pancake with spicy potatoes inside and uttapam - a rice pancake with onions served for breakfast. In the Maveli Cafe - a unique, narrow, four storey spiralling tower lined by bench tables, we sampled vadas and parottas. The vada is a doughnut shaped lentil savoury which was quite tasty, the parotta was a chewy crepe-like affair that neither of us will have again. A milk coffee here cost 6 rupees - about 10 cent. We'll have some job adjusting to Irish prices again!! Despite our new found bravado Vinny is now a strict vegetarian - yes, I hear the collective gasps of surprise but the amount of power cuts daily in Indian towns is mind boggling so the chance of dodgy meat is fairly high. We took a day trip from here down to Kanyakumari.

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