The overnight train from Bangalore to Coimbatore left about an hour late but arrived on time. We had a berth to ourselves...almost. As we pulled out of Bangalore station a mouse darted out from the corner of the cabin an went under the bed. All food and bags were thrown on to the top bunk and we squeezed onto the lower bunk for a surprisingly comfortable 8 hour journey.
We arrived at Coimbatore at 7am and neither of us were in the mood for the hussle-bussle of the rickshaw rank. We half heartedly knocked 50 rupees off the price and we were whisked off to our hotel.
We had no real reason to go to Coimbatore, it is usually somewhere that travellers go in their way to Kerala (via Ooty) but we couldn't book trains for that route and so a detour via Chennai was in store for us. We used the first class facilities of the hotel to catch some r&r. Jan had been been pretty ill for a couple of days in Bangalore and all we wanted to do was chill. Our first night we threw on some clothes and wandered down to find the restaurant, as we enquired at the reception, the hotel manager approached us and asked us if we wanted to attend a cocktail party. We feigned indecision in the knowledge that within minutes we would be troughing on free food and cocktails (our first boozy night of the trip). Apparently once a month the hotel invites all guests to come and give their opinions of how their stay is going and any suggestions to improve service. Two hours later, and Mohan, the mixologist, was still asking us to try his new concoctions.
We didn't have dinner but we must have bumped our heads in the night as we woke up with headaches.
We spent the next day by the pool, in the gym and generally chilling out, we have also provisionally booked our padi course in Sri Lanka colon hyphen close bracket.
We checked out of the hotel and stood outside bags on backs, waiting a rickshaw. There were very few going past and they all had a fare already. Then one guy signalled he'd be back for us in 5 minutes. We waited about ten minutes before we dejectedly went back to book a cab through the hotel, it was going to cost us 600 rupees, (it's about 200 in a rickshaw). As we reached the steps, a honk of a horn announced the arrival of 'happy old toothless' our driver. The big smile of pink gums immediately put us at ease and we jumped in. The guy was nuts, he had an old fashioned car horn, that he honked 20 times if the lights stayed green as we passed. If the lights ahead were red, he thrust his arm out ahead of him in a 'shazam' motion to turn the lights to green, if they turned (and they did more often than not) we got 20 honks, if they stayed red, he gave all manner of dejected gestures, hands raised to the skies, woeful shakes of his head, shouting god knows what at whoever was in earshot.
His driving was equally erratic, more than a couple of times we thought that this may be the end of us. But the guy was a pro and got us there safe,sound and in plenty of time.
Onward for a brief stop in Chennai before heading for Kerala.