On arrival in Mamallapuram we head straight to a temple that is on the beach.
The first thing I noticed was a sign saying ‘ park rules.’ Rules such as ‘ no shooting’ and ‘ no cooking’ mmmm what sort of place is this I thought?
Sarah seemed to have it figured out, it was obviously a royal temple… As she entered the park to the temple there was a guard requesting her ticket to stamp. Instead Sarah casually raised her hand up towards him( as if she was showing a ring) and he looked at her strangely then just stamped it. I couldn’t stop laughing as we all filed in behind and one by one, got our tickets stamped! Martin and I joked that she was Princess Sarah and Martin got down on one knee to bow.
We strolled around the temple, sticking to the shade and then suddenly it was heaving with school children. It seemed a whole school had all arrived at once! ‘Hi, hi , hi…’
Once we had dropped off our stuff at our hotel, off out we went. Now, I’m not going to go into much detail about my first afternoon in Mamallapuram as…let’s just say…things started to get to me…the Indian way…started to get to me a little….it went something like this…
Want to use Internet on a p.c….found Internet place…then electricity goes…sweat drips…made to pay full price…no cold drinks available in a restaurant…very…very slow service…then items promised that they don’t have…’ yes we have wifi- come in here’ ….order food…then no wifi….never had wifi….’ yes mam, there is wifi here’….errrr no, no wifi…actually never had wifi…
It just felt that on this day, nothing was going right. I’m not moaning so much about these insignificant things like wifi and cold drinks, because at least I know I’m lucky enough to be able to get these things in my life….however, why promise something to someone that you don’t have, have never had and have no intention of having….but make them wait 20, 30 or 40 minutes until you tell them actually…NO! It was just so frustrating!
There was only one thing that was going to pull me out of my mood on this day….shopping!!!!
Mamallapurum is a lovely little place, a very chilled beach town with lots of little shops and I really needed to chill out.
I brought lovely handmade trousers for £1.50 and a bag for £1.00… But I needed a bigger fix….I know…the tailors!
There are lots of tailors all over India who will whip up beautiful outfits in an hour or two….so trust me to walk into the tailors in this town were the owner was just about to receive news of a family crisis!!!!
I ordered two pairs of trousers and two tunic tops. He took my measurements and asked me to collect them at 9pm. Perfect I thought as we were having dinner at 7, so I could pop over after that. I thought this day was finally looking up!
After a nice meal and a few emotional speeches as a few people were staying in Mamallapuram instead of finishing in Chennai, we played a little game at the table ‘ What’s your order?’ Basically, you wrote down what you wanted…could be tonight…or what you want from life….very profound and we had some lovely statements and wishes and dreams. I read them all out with the odd funny one too. A great way to reflect on all we had been through and realise what’s important and what has had an impact on everyone. A great end to the evening I thought….errrr no chance.
As 9pm approached I headed over to the tailors to collect my finished items…exciting…
As I walked in the man was on the floor…crying! He told me his nephew had been in a car accident and had been hurt. His nephew was going to be alright but he had spent the last few hours running around, trying to raise the money to payoff the other driver! As is the way in India, no one has insurance and if it’s your fault – you pay. (or in some cases I’ve seen, both parties just agree that it was an accident and drive off.) He was hugging us and looked like crap. I was going to say ‘ don’t worry about my clothes’ when he said ” I really need the money now, can you come back at 11pm? Ok I thought, I can do that.
Sarah and I proceeded to get quite tipsy on very bad Indian wine…
When I went back he hadn’t even started my clothes! ” can you come back at 12?”
We then went to drink beer on the truck, as by this time, everywhere was closed. We were all a bit tipsy and I have no clue what we talked about but it was fun!
Then, once again back at the shop…still not ready! So we drank more in the tailors (who also, I have to say looked a bit drunk too) I think he finished everything at about 1.00am. By this point, I didn’t care what they looked like, I just wanted to go to bed and give him some money.
Let’s just say, if anyone is performing in a panto soon…I have some excellent trousers!
They next morning I waved off some of my fellow travellers…including my room mate Sarah…and headed off to Chennai…my final destination with Dragoman and were I leave India…
It was pretty uneventful really as I had hotels to book and research to do for Malaysia but we did head out for a final dinner altogether that evening.
Once again we took the advice of a very famous guide book and arrived at a little hovel that was closed…
Eventually we found a nice place with some air con to toast our last night. Some newbies joined us as, as the tour continued for some, up the coast and eventually into Nepal.
I remembered when I was a newbie all those weeks earlier, when I had no idea what an adventure I was about to go on…India has been amazing for me, for so many reasons…its been full of surprises! Its been colourful, eventful, frustrating, crazy, friendly, loud, dusty,massive, delicious, hot& cold, complicated but simple….I loved it…..but Malaysia…here I come!