So, the first leg of my journey began in sunny (far too sunny in fact) Chennai. I got out of the airport and my first thought was to find an atm, as I had no money for a taxi and my hostel was miles away. Now there shouldn't be a problem with using atms abroad but the first one I used had no money, the second wouldn't workand the third only accepted kne of my debit cards. (on a side note I love hiding my debit cards in my bra lining. Makes it feel safer!) But Imanaged to get oit some rupees and got a taxi to the hostel. Now I warn anyone travelling round India to agree a price before getting in a taxi or tak-tak! I was charged double on the way from the airport! And more then that on the way back. Very annoying!
Anyways, back to my hostel arrival. Now I advise anyone going to Chennai to AVOID ZAMA LODGE. It eas horrible and expensive for how bad it was. Within 10 minutes (no exaggeration) the electric had gone, so nooo air conditioning for me for the very needed nap. And there are no blankets, just linens. And bed bugs, so I'm covered in bites after a day. And they kick you out at 9:15, but no-one tells you the check out time, then they vharge Rs.700. And you can't sleep as the road next to the hostel is so darn noisy! But I'm getting off topic!
After a kinda nap I went yo explore my first sight of India. The rickshaw drivers followed me umtil I eventually agreed to have one drive me to Fort St George and St Marys Church. (ripped off again. Be careful about that travelling alone! You look more vulnerable, amd you probably are for the first few days.) anyways, the museum was prettt nifty! It showed the rising of tamil nadu natibes against the eadt india trading company, and the creation of the first official indian flag! Tje red representing strength (i think), the white their spirituality, the greentheir connection with plants and the sponning wheel for the many religions (i will check these facts later before anyone corrects me! :P
St Marys church was cool too. One of the oldest buildings around, and a random woman and I exchanged about 10 "namaste"'s. Ooo, another point! Very few people down south speak hindi, so English is generally more useful as a commom language in India. Oddness!
I started to wonder towarss the beach after leaving the fort area, and got randomly taken on a motorbike to another church by a random indian man. And that was my first terrifying experience with indian roads. He even said "why should traffic laws control us? Why can't we comtrol ourselves?" to which i tried to reply "umm... Because you'd crash otherwise..." but they mostly survive (i've been informed the trick is to never go to slow or fast). Though I did see one bike bump another, making it fall over and dislocate the drivers arm. Hurts just thinking about it!
So anyways, after that I went to the very colourful jindu temple, which was rather pretty. And then I went to a meditation class, which had a nifty prayer and... I nearly fell asleep in. My bad! I was just feeling jetlagged and hot, so a peaceful sit down leads to drowsiness. :P
After very little sleep, the nextday I went to the beach, another temple, dedicated to Swami Videkanada who made an.awesome speach in America at a religious council thing. I like him! And then i went to a temple if his diciple, where there was very cool chanting. And I also went to the snake park! They have a very good message, that snakes should be protectef because they are living things too, not just because if any importance ecologically or to humans. I approve that message so much!
So that evening I had an early night as I was sooo sleepy, and the next day I went back to the place with the chanting and meditatef a bit. Though, being the only fireigner there I was pulled to the front of the queue and given fruit by the monks, then had water which had had flowers soaking in it poured over my fruit. Rude not to eat it and I was rather chuffed at getting it! And then I passed through the markets and back to the hirrible hostel for a nap before my flight to Mumbai, where I was informed by a frech student doing a year in mumbai (economics course) has a lot more to do then just temples!