We arrived safely in Thanjavur after a 5 hour bus ride. Our initial thoughts were that we could sleep on the bus, however with non-existent suspension and a horn that was certainly stolen from the QE2 (a very big ship) there was little chance. But the scenery was lovely and all in all it was a very pleasant ride, well except for the beggar children jumping at the windows.
We spent the rest of the day sleeping in an air conditioned hotel room and watching the Da Vinci Code on HBO. Who said westernisation wasn't a wonderful thing. Today we have been to the big temple here which is quite stunning. Its the first temple we have been to where the temple religious guy actually asked us to come in, gave us a tika and said 'God bless you'. The people here are very friendly, we have had our hands shaken and appeared in numerous photographs today (we have taken a few ourselves of course). And for breakfast and lunch we have veered off the 'Pondicherry European cuisine' and gone head on back to Indian food, a masala dosa (big pancake with potato curry inside) for breakfast is surprisingly nice, as long as you get a big pot of tea or coffee to go with it.
After the temple we went to the palace, which is a strange mix of Maharajah knick-knacks and bronze gods. And when we say knick-knacks we really mean it, from a tourist plate of Westminster Abbey to a selection of porcelain dolls tea-sets. All very strange but endearing at the same time. The library was definitely worth a trip with again some weird and wonderful selections of reading matter, from Chinese torture methods to landmarks of London (I think the Maharajah had a serious thing about Westminster Abbey!) to 14th century history of Holland (in Dutch!). All very eclectic.
We did go shopping as well to a local supermarket and bought: Choco Pies (Pauls favourite!), Cadburys Fruit and Nut (small bar!), Cricket Top Trumps, Prickly heat powder amongst other items. And now we are in an internet cafe writing this blog.
We would just like to say that we are a very very long way away from Jaipur (if it has in fact been in the news). 8 bombs went off there a couple of days ago by a supposed Bangladeshi Islamic organisation. There were quite a lot of people killed and many more injured. So just in case any one was worried, we are in Tamil Nadu (South India) and heading to Kerala. We doubt whether there will be any problems there as the political and religious situation is much more easy-going than in Rajasthan. So there you have it, we are safe and sound (albeit quite hot) and heading off to Trichy tomorrow to see some more temples. Will let you know how it went.
Until then dear readers ........x x x x x x