Trip Start Sep 02, 2012
Trip End Oct 10, 2012

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Where I stayed
Hotel Pearls Madurai
Read my review - 3/5 stars

Flag of India  , Tamil Nadu,
Tuesday, September 25, 2012

 Up early to catch the train to Madurai.  Doris seems a bit brighter this morning - thought we'd better check her over for bed sores, being as she's hardly been in an upright position for days.  Happy to report she's clear, good job we turned her every 4 hrs.  I'm still having a few toilet issues, or perhaps I have developed an extrordinarily fast metabolism - either way I'm a little concerned that I won't actually require a seat on the plane going home, as Fred will be able to take me on as hand luggage.

 I am starting to compile a list of the things that I have taken issue with since arriving in India.  Just to recap, there is the never-ending rubbish, urinating in public, the excruciatingly smelly toilets on trains and now ticket inspectors on trains.  We have been harrassed on almost every train journey we have taken.  When I say we've been harrassed, I actually mean DJ & now Santo.  Basically these scumbags are looking for money, if you don't offer a payment then they keep asking the tour leader for our passports, asking him who is who, asking our ages etc.  This can go on for hours.  What happens is the tour company book seats well in advance of the trips to ensure that we will be all seated together.  They don't always have the correct names, because at the time of booking, the tour may not necessarily be full.  The correct tickets have been bought so it's not about not having a ticket it's about them finding something that they can use to get money.  They claim that if the name doesn't match we could be terrorists, a likely story. Doris & I look nothing like terrorists!  The practise of buying tickets in advance is used by all tour operators in India and these inspectors are becoming a real problem.  Our train journey today was no exception.  We presented our passports at least half a dozen times.  This was getting ridiculous.  I told Santo to get the name and number of the annoying little bugger as I am going to complain about this to our tour operator.  India needs tourists, but tourists don't need these extortionists targeting them every time they catch a train.

 Arrived in Madurai about 4.30pm, the streets are dusty, it's very hot and also very smoggy with the afternoon traffic.  Our orientation walk was abandoned due to these adverse conditions.  We opted instead for a cold beer then dinner at a rooftop restaurant nearby to our hotel.  Most of us had an early night and although the 8hr train trip wasn't unpleasant (except for the annoying ticket inspector) it was rather tiring just the same. 
 Unfortunately our hotel didn't have air con, so we had to make do with a fan operating at 150mph to keep us cool.  Hope we don't get sucked up to the ceiling in the vortex during the night.

 26th Sept:  At 5am this morning me & Fred were awoken by HELLOOLOOLOO real loud, like someone had stuck their head in our window and blasted us with a megaphone.  Me and Fred shot bolt upright in bed and in unison said "What the f... was that?"  It was a call to prayer, and I do believe, that who ever it was doing the calling, must have had a big night out.  He was so out of tune and also seem to have lost interest half way through.  We'd just settled down again when at 5.45am the dyslexic porter from reception decided to give us an early morning call, which was not required, he'd got his numbers jumbled.

 Met up with Doris for breakfast.  I am not actually sure I had breakfast, as I no sooner had my toast, when I had to excuse myself and visit the bathroom.  Doris has come up with a wonderful solution that may remedy this situation, and as she puts it, cut out the middle man.  I don't want to steal her thunder as I'm sure she's going to list it in her top 10 tips for dealing with the trots when touring India. 

  I decided to pay a visit to the local pharmacy, my gastro stop was proving to be rather inaffectual.  If the 3 magic pills work, the pharmacists will be my best friends forevermore.  At 10am we met with a local guide to take us to the 2nd biggest Hindu temple in India.  It was massive, there wasn't an inch that wasn't carved or colourfully painted.  The temple was built 3,600 yrs ago and took about 200yrs to complete.  As I mentioned in an early entry, it was common practise for the King who commissioned the temples to kill the architects after they completed the designs of the buildings - the reason behind this was so that other Kings could not build the same thing, but perhaps bigger, and outdo them. Rumour has it that this occured during the construction of the Taj Mahal.  Fact or fiction?.

 Tonight at 11am we will be catching the overnight train to Varkala.  Everyone is looking forward to this as it's a seaside resort, and we have a very welcome 2 days to unwind.
PS  Fred said as soon as he put a skirt on he felt quite bossy plus he also felt a need to buy the same bangles as me.  I had to draw the line at that.  I think it's fine for him to get in touch with his femine side occasionally, but not to get too carried away!  
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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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Shaz on

Ginger forget Mother Theresa just run for government as the Minister of Rubbish, Corruption, Tourism and Silly Walks!

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