First actual travellers blog entry. We're about 2 hours drive outside of Chennai and by the sea. But you can't swim because it's rough as anything with big rip currents and a rocky bed. We saw a sign saying "You're life is precious! DO NOT SWIM". So that was that.
Yesterday we walked down the path beside the shore temple (one of the main attractions here). It was a long path, the sand filled with little bits of plastic and at least a mile of stalls just selling RUBBISH. I mean, I like to shop, I'll have a look and if there's something I think I might be interested in I'll stop and take a better look. But this stuff? I wouldn't have had it if they had been giving it away. Teddies, key rings, jewellery, ear muffs, makeup, playboy "playa" necklaces, everything and anything you don't want.
Happily, this stretch was no bearing on the rest of the town, which has beautiful things everywhere. As I write I'm wearing some orange silk trousers that I bought on the first day. Fabrics, throws, silk, silver, jems, leather and food are on every corner. Stone carving is the big trade here, whenever you go near the big attractions you pick up a young Indian man who walks with you, asks you the same three questions "Hello, how are you?" "Where you from?" "How long you stay?", then tells you that he's studying in college and working at his fathers shop in his spare time, and then tries to sell you some small mediocre carving. We went to the proper stone carving workshops, and they don't even compare. The true craftsmen's work are mostly incredibly intricate designs comprised of lots of small holes. They are always carved from one piece of rock, there a couple of things that I was tempted by but they're too big to carry. They were selling them both as candle holders but I think one would make a most impressive pen holder, and the other would be a beautiful box for cotton wool. Apparently you can post things from here for around 1000Rs, we're going to investigate the post office tomorrow.
We had originally only planned to stay here until the 15th. But all this weekend (friday and monday inclusive) is Pongal, the festival of the sun. So the soonest we could book travel was the 19th.We're off to Varkala next, right down south.
My favourite thing about being away, so far, is the fruit. I cannot get enough of the pinapples and bananas. I have fresh fruit musli every morning, and usually a couple of pinapple juices during the day. The town is almost completely dry, owing to huge liquor liscences resteraunts have to pay, but that's suiting me fine. It's probably the only genuine January detox I'll ever accomplish. A close second favourite would be the heat. We tend not to go out in the middle of the day, waking up at 11, having breakfast in the hotel on the balcony which overlooks the street, reading, painting till about 2 or 3 then heading out. Tomorrow we're going to a village for some Pongal celebrations at about 1pm so we'll see how positive I am about the heat then. 4 O'clock onwards is just beautiful here. Everything gets bathed in this warm golden light and the colours that are everywhere in the day suddenly start to glow. Two days ago me and Sandro climbed the rocky/boulder filled/carved temple/ancient light house place that the town is nestled against and watched the sun set. The two seperate views, the light going off the town to the east of us and the sun setting in the west, were perfect. Sadly, during this picturesque moment, I was completely and utterly consumed by mosquitos.
A thousand more things I could write about. But time is low and I'm hungry. So I'll write again soon.
Take care of yourselves.