It is, as they say, Incredible! And not always for a good reason…
We arrived at Chennai airport to be greeted by the most incredible thunder and rain storm which resulted in all the streets being flooded. No probs – jumped in a taxi to go to our accommodation. Its 11.30 at night and the place was heaving! Not just with all the water everywhere but traffic and people. After an hour (because of the traffic and rain) we finally got to nearby our place, only for the cab driver to say “can’t drive to your hotel” because the street was flooded. Well we can’t walk there either so ???? Finally he agreed to try and we got there at around midnight. A good nights sleep and a decent breakfast – lets look around…..
The roads have dried out and the dust begins!! Auto rickshaws all over the place and all the ladies are in their gorgeous saris…. and the RATS are out too!! Dead ones because of the rain I guess and worse!! Live ones as well around the food stalls on the main road. And men urinating in the streets! And staring! And sleeping on the side of the road and on the “footpath” – and beggars…. And rubbish and filth everywhere….. my heart sinks! I’ve signed up for 3 months of this….
Hindu Temple in Chennai. Very colourful and noisy. People prostrate themselves before entering the Temple – only Hindus were allowed in that part, but happy with that as if I got down I doubt I’d get up again. On the corner of this temple are – RATS!!! Seems they like ’em round these parts.
St Thomas Mount National Shrine where Thomas the Apostle, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus, is buried.
Doubting Thomas – the apostle who doubted the resurrection of Jesus and from where the expression came……
By now, my eyes are almost completely closed because of the heat and the dust. Not to mention the smell of wee in the streets……Are we having fun yet?
The very unlovely Marina Beach – on the Bay of Bengal. This has always conjured up a very romantic and exciting vision in my mind…. and this is it…. call that a beach??
And the worst part of all of this? It’s nigh on impossible to get an alcoholic beverage! The state of Tamil Nadu, like many of the states in India, is virtually a dry state. We did manage to find a bar (dark and dingy) that offered cocktails, wine and beer – only there was no wine or cocktails. Getting less happy by the moment….. let’s move on…
Mamallapuram – also known as Mahabs
A quaint little beach side town 60 km south of Chennai and a world away. But still no wine…. There are great restaurants here, and the people are used to tourists and travellers – they are much more open and friendly. The beach is lovely and there is an ancient Shore Temple and many cave temples and other amazing things carved out of solid pieces of rock. And cows… in the streets, in the bins, all over the road – they’re everywhere!
The people shoo them away with sticks so they just go and wander all over the roads and cause traffic jams. Can’t hit ’em with the auto rickshaw – they’re too big!! They’re like dogs – they get into the rubbish and crap everywhere.. but we like them!
Varaha Cave Temple cut out of one piece of rock….
A gigantic granite boulder approximately 6 meters high and 5 meters wide weighing around 250 tons. It just sits there but I’m going to roll it over just a bit…. it is known as Krishna’s Butterball.
The Mahabaliparam Light House has been open to tourists since 2011 and was built in 1887, first lit in 1900. Made of natural stone you get a brilliant 360 degree view of the town and surrounds. That is if you survive the walk up inside it……
Now for beer and beach…
Many young, sophisticated professionals come to Mahabs for weekend getaways to take in the sun, surf and beer. We had a great afternoon eating, drinking and chatting to some of them on this beautiful day. This delish drop is called British Empire Beer and carries the added bonus of a $2,50 (650 ml) price tag.
These are the gorgeous young guys who looked after us during our stay – our wish was their command…. how cute are they??
And sadly we have to leave. We are heading South to Pondacherry.
OK. I’ve forgiven Chennai (almost) and I am loving India more each day.