Sitting in the foyer of the Breeze Hotel in Trichy, Tamil Nadu and its the witching hour of 5pm -6pm when its too early for a sundowner and too late for afternoon tea but perfect for logging on. We arrived by train 2nd class a/c from Madurai yesterday the Indian railways are much the same as they were in 1995 on our last visit toIndia very busy with all sections of society on them and enormous amounts of baggage etc. Its so difficult to look out of the window as the double glazing is all scratched Gilly kept trying to clear a section - Dave instead stood on the section of the train between the carriages where its open to the elements and you get a good view of life in the countryside and people going about their daily tasks and rituals.
Today we have visited the famous tamil step temples in the city which are crowded with visitors and worshippers - it appears to be chaotic but isn't really ! small nubian goats are trying to graze on anything left behind in the rubbish - tiny cats crawl around and water buffalo are pulling carts. Inside the temples there always seems to be a temple elephant. Elephants have been a big part of the pleasure of this trip! I have been closer to them than I have ever had the chance to before- I even helped one with its daily water intake of 150 lites with a bucket from the well.
What struck me on our trip around the city this afternoon was something that I had not thought of before! Namely the 'Art of drapery' and how skilled Indian women are at creating a beautiful garment from one long sheet of cloth. No two saris are the same- each one seems to be unique. There is no M and S moment when you spot someone in the same outfit- every sari seems to be a different design from the expensive to the modest.How boring I must look in a grey t shirt and white cut-off pants.
Tomorrow we are heading off for the Nilgiri Hills to Ooty. The men are negotiating a cr and driver to get us there as its quite a long distance across country and will be a long and tiring day for us all. However, we are looking forward to a cooler few days there in the hills...A chance to recuperate and 'chill' a bit before heading for the coast and Kochi again at the end of our trip.
Fort Kochi is an historic area with the church that Vasco da Gama was buried in plus many old colonial buildings. He doesn't seem like a nice guy from the literature - quite horrible in fact! However, the old synagogue is very beautiful and quite unique small- intimate whitw alls and blue paintwork that is picked out by a row of colourful glass lamps -unfortunately -no photos allowed. I have taken many photos and am really looking forward to downloading them at home.
Six o clock now and a pre -dinner drink beckons - a chilled Kingfisher beer... love from Tamil Nadu
PS The Indian media - newspapers really are really hard hitting so good to see that democracy is alive and well....