I left off last time in Trichy. A lot has happened since then.Before leaving the city, John and I visited the rock fort/temple. In the middle of an otherwise flat city, there is a huge mountain of sandstone, and of course, people carved it up and built a temple inside and on top. Non-Hindus aren't allowed inside the temples, but joining the hundreds of people in climbing the stairs was exciting enough. From the top, you can see the entire city, which was actually very beautiful. The buildings are all painted pastel colors, and you can see the mountains that run through the center of India off in the distance.
On the way up the last set of stairs, we ran into a group of kids who were around our age. It's pretty much impossible to remember any names here in India, so don't expect much in that department. Anyway, we talked with these guys for about ten or fifteen minutes, until we finally decided to make our way up the rest of the stairs. Not twenty steps later, we ran into another group of guys who wanted to stop and chat with us. After another twenty minutes, they asked if we wanted to go get some coffee with them, and took us back down the mountain to a little coffee shop where they bought us coffee and we chatted for a little while more.
I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I thought it was nice to see guys walking around with their arms around each other as a sign of friendship. In India, guys also hold hands sometimes. I'd seen this before, but it still came as quite a shock when we were walking to the coffee shop and the guy next to me reached for my hand. It threw me for a second, but it was pretty nice that these guys were so warm and welcoming to two stupid Americans.
Pretty much everywhere we go, people are eager to stop and talk to us about where we are from and all that stuff. People always start by asking where we are from, why we came to India, and what we do in America. Next, they're all very curious to know how we feel about India and if we like it or not. After a brief questioning about India, they want to know what our favorite part of America is. I always find this to be a strange question, but almost everyone asks it. If we get into a more in-depth conversation with people, they are also very interested to know how much things in America cost, and how much money the average person makes. I don't mind sharing these things with them, but it is a bit embarrassing to admit that the same coffee that they pay 10 cents for costs almost $4 in the states, and people drink it everyday, sometimes twice.
Anyway, after leaving Trichy, we took a horrible 14 hour bus ride from Trichy to Trivandrum.Trivandrum was fine. Not much to do there, so let's move on. Our next big stop was Varkala, a small seaside town that turned out to be a pretty big tourist area. Being the monsoon season, there weren't many tourists, but you could definitely tell that it was set up for foreigners and not locals. The town was set back from the ocean, but the beach was backed by a high cliff which was full of restaurants and hotels. It wasn't ridiculously overdeveloped, but it was more than we were used to seeing. We found some nice bamboo huts for real cheap since it was the low season, and spent two days lazing around and walking along the beach and enjoying the cool breeze.
I just got the pictures to start uploading, so I think I'll stop here and finish up some other time. Bangkok should already be up, and I'll throw what I've got from India up there as well. Enjoy.