Hello everyone. I have a spare half hour so thought i'd write you a quick blog to keep you upto date.
On our last day in Calcutta we finally managed to visit the Victoria Memorial, St Paul's Cathederal and the Birla Planetarium. Was quite interesting. That evening we finally lapsed and ate at Pizza Hut, although it was brilliant to finally eat something that tastes the same as at home!
On Wednesday 7th Nov, we flew south to Chennai where we stayed in a surprisingly nice hotel. From the outside it didnt look very good at all. It was Dewali on the 8th and 9th (although the dates seem to change depending on who you ask - it's very confusing). We watched the evening celebrations for the roof top of our hotel where we had a 360 degree view of the fireworks being set off all over the city. The next day most of the shops and all the sights were closed so we thought we'd go for a walk to the beach. It was so dangerous! Children were setting of bangers and firecrackers in the middle of the roads so moterbikes and rickshaws were swerving all over the place to avoid them as the exploded. If the fireworks didnt go off immediatly then the kids would kick them or pick them up to see why! Surprisingly I didnt see any accidents. When we finally made it to the beach we only managed to stay there 10 minutes as the whole place stank of wee. It was disgusting and i still dont fully understand how it's possible because the wind was coming from over the sea.
After another firework filled night, we decided to leave Chennai a day early and caught a bus to Mamallapuram, a small fishing village famous for its rock sculptures and temples carved into huge rocks. We were joined by a lovely English girl called Fay, whom we had met the night before whilst eating dinner. In Mamallapuram we got a triple room in a lovely little hotel with thatch roof and a mosquite net with huge holes in it! We spent the weekend there and i have to admit none of us really did much. We went for walks on the beach, visited the five rathas (a group of temples), the shore temple, and Krishna's butter ball (a huge rock balancing on top of slope that looks like it should just roll off), oh and Fay and i went shopping and did a yoga class. The yoga was brilliant fun except for the several mosquito bites i got at the same time.
On monday, after a very relaxing weekend, we caught a bus to Pondicherry which is where we are now. Pondicherry is like no where we have yet visited in India. It used to be a french colony and so all the buildings are french in style. Everywhere is so clean, the roads are really wide and properly paved, the beach DOESN'T smell of wee, we have hardly been hassled, and the roads are so empty (mostly mopeds and bicycles rather than cars). Our hotel is really nice too. Its an ashram guest house that looks more like ahotel complex our of brochure! And it's right on the beach. As you can probably tell i quite like it here. We have been for a few walks and have visited the old lighthouse, the Ghandi statue, the pier, and the Church of the Immaculate Conception. It is also the only place in India that has real french bread and so we have been making the most of it by eating baguettes!
I have to go now, so stay in touch,