05.03.2013 - 06.03.2013 32 °C
So today we had an 8 hour train ride to Madurai. This train had the sleeper top bunk set up so got to see the set up for the great 4 sleepovers on this trip.
It was alright - the beds look a bit like prison bunks or some type of bondage set up from 50 Shades of Grey (or so I've heard)
The train ride was grand - had a bit of a snooze on the top bunk for a bit. Hung out of the door taking a video of the Indian countryside whizzing by. As I was videoing the road and countryside, 3 lads on a motor bike caught up with me and started waving at me. I waved back. As the train sped up, they went out of sight, then zoomed up again to get back in the video all the while waving. hahahahaha. The Indians - a great bunch of lads.
Had a bit of a disaster with my bank card - doesn't seem to work anywhere unfortunately. boo. Charles and myself went out searching for a few more atms but to no avail. I was hot, sticky, tired, hungry and getting a bit flustered. Decided to try the auld credit card, which didn't work in the first atm either. arrghh. Feckin AIB! Luckily it worked in the next one, or I would have had a bit of a moment.
It was Lia's birthday so we went a bit fancier for dinner. Headed to a lovely breezy rooftop restaurant in Hotel Residence. For some reason in India, there seems to be a shortage of menus. We only ever seem to get 3 menus between the 13 of us! But not tonight! Oh no! a menu each!! I usually have Charles' vegetarian recommendations every night for dinner as it saves me the bother of reading the tonnes of things on menus, and I kinda like not having to make any decisions! :D God help me when I have to hit the road solo.
Had a delicious potato something or other with a roti (wrap) and a beer.
Some of the lads were going back to Charle's room to drink rum and coke but I was knackered and there's no such thing as diet coke here so far so headed off to bed.
Shared a room with the lovely Emily from Canada, she's a geology engineer and is superbly knowledgeable on all types of rocks and landscapes and what not. We were up and atom early again next day to head off to the temple of Sri Meenakshi. Basically Sri was a girl who was born with three boobs, and a wise man told her father that when she met ''the one'', the superflous boob would melt away. So later in life, she met Shiva (the destroyer - one of the main Hindu gods) and her boob melted away, so they shacked up together. They liked to have dance offs and one time, in order to win, Shiva had to pull out a whopper of a Michael Jackson move and whip his leg up nearly over his head.
Anywho this temple was amazing. There are 4 main towers that are covered in statuettes of gods, other people, elephants, snakes and loads of bits and bobs. The colours were amazing and my pictures do not do it justice. It was really incredible and very impressive. We had to get frisked and questioned by some pohleece before we went inside as it is being considered as a new World Wonder and there were no cameras or bags or shoes or anything allowed inside.
Once we got inside though, all the local lads had the mobiles out and were taking pictures and what not. Seemed a bit unfair but it was actually quite pleasant to not have a camera and to just look at things and try to save the images in the head. One group of mad lads all had their mobiles out and were sneakily taking pictures of us lot instead of the tower. Hilarious. :D
Inside there are 4 more smaller towers and then an inner temple with loads of statues of gods, Shiva, Sri, experimental type animals with the head of a crocodile, body of a horse, tail of a bull and feet of a lion, priests handning out blessings (for 10 rupees!!! inner peace costs money ye know! ) and lots more mad stuff. It was very impressive altogether. It's apparently one of, if not the best temple in southern India.
So after our templing, we were brought to another carpet shop (these lads had been minding our bags and cameras). We saw a fellow at work making a rug - twas very impressive and apparently takes him 9 months to do one. We knew it was a pain in the arse listening to these fellows when we had no intentions of buying a rug, particularly as a few of us don't even have a gaf, but it was lashing rain and we got a free honey tea so was grand. The rain had started earlier and it was soooo delicious and refreshing. The day was a bit cooler after it and it was quite pleasant. One of the girl's flip flops broke though and she had to walk back to the hotel without a shoe, through the puddles and shite. errrrrgh.
Lunch was a Paneer masala (delicious) and a naan. Then we went off to Gandhi's gaf. After haggling with a tuk tuk, when we got there he goes ''museum closed - wait half hour''. Lol - think he would have let us know before hand. Would he feck! :D
We waited for half an hour, there was an interesting dinosaur in the garden surrounded by other stone relics from previous centuries. odd as bod. The guy who had the key to the door was just sitting beside us playing Angry BIrds on his phone. :D
When the door opened, suddenly two bus loads of Indian lads swarmed in in front of us and went in around the museum, shuffling along behind each other. The queue was never ending, so I just walked along behind them. Unfortunately though I couldn't read any of the Gandhi stuff/history as the lads kept asking me questions.. ''What country?'' ''Student?'' ''Welcome to India?'' etc All very pleasant and smiling their heads off at us, but made reading the yoke kinda difficult. John ran ahead to see the artifacts in peace saying he'd look the info up on Wikipedia when he got home. :D . Kay gave me a brief synopsis of what the history was in a few succinct lines, but by this stage I'd acquired an Indian fan and I lost interest in Gandhi's history. We got to see the jocks he was wearing when he got shot. (original bloodstained dhoti) and then had a yap to a lovely Indian lady on the door who said Ireland was a great friend of Gandhi's when he was in London. Outside we were mobbed by the lads for photos and some head wobbles.
The Indians have a habit of wobbling their heads anytime you're talking to them. It's like those little wobbly dogs that you see in the front of cars. It's very funny and cute. It's just kinda like acknowledging that they are listening to you. We've all started to head wobble a bit lately!
After Gandhi, we went to pack our stuff and headed off to have a rooftop beer in the hotel. Alas the hotel was closed so we followed a sign that said ''rooftop bar'' across the road from our hotel. It was exactly what it said on the tin. a rooftop, that a man sold beers on. It had a tin roof though and as the rain started to come down again, it was quite nice sitting, sipping beer, chatting and listening to the rain on the roof.
Dinner was in a local joint - I had chapati roll (wrap stuffed with potato and onion and then fried) and some noodles.
Then we headed off to embark on our first sleeper train of the trip. I was dreadinng this as we were told it would be non ac. The train the other day in the non ac section was redonkulously hot so I didn't think we'd get much sleep. But , the fans were on and I got a top bunk. I got 6 hours kip on and off - the longest sleep I've had since I got here. Result.