16 hours later.....
Trip Start Jan 08, 2011
261Trip End Dec 20, 2011
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Time to get moving...this morning we walked along the beach and went for breakfast at the cafe with free internet...backpackers ay....a cool little garden.visited the information office and sat and talked with zahoor a shop owner from Kashmir in the north, who had free Tchai delivered for us all before checking out at midi.
Headed for the bus station and caught the two hour (14rps each - roughly 20pence) bus to villapuram (west and inland) through busy pondi city and onto dry almost outback type land, through smaller heaving market towns and onto new lush green surroundings, even rice fields....
At villapuram we did our usual and managed to pick up a stranger who helped us on our way, just a nice way to get talking really and began our 4 hour leg, this time 55rps each, roughly 80 pence - the villapuram to tiruchirapally, (trichy south west from villapuram) express, on arrival we really did get that feeling of being a very long way from home, we were deep in southern India!
After asking around though it was fine, people start to approach you, everyone is friendly in the main and they seem to be interested in tattoos so they want to talk. We also found out that this coming sat sun and Monday is big festival throughout India and most people come south to Tamil which is why we were finding train bookings difficult.
Oh and we have 38 mosquito bites between us despite us wearing 50% deet, my chicken legs have taken a pounding and Claire has fat fat feet!!
After grabbing something to eat - an Indian style vegi buyer, spicy, Indians were eating it to so it counts....we met yogeswaran who stopped us, who wanted to talk and tell us how much he loved football, we got talking about the festival and he invited us to go back to Chennai to meet his family and celebrate the festival with him and eat all the different foods they eat on the sunday, just unreal!! Giving us his card telling us if we returned to Chennai to call if we have problems, crazy man!! Don't think he want us two around for long!
Jumped on the 9 hour trichy-nagercoil bus arrival at 4:00 am planning on getting some kip on the way...no chance, firstly like a couple of kids who didn't want to sleep and then when tired, unable to for our fear of not waking up again!!
An amazing way to travel though, sat at the back with our kit, by the wide open door hearing and seeing Everything, passing through villages where there were men and boys between five and seventy, eighty years old working at 1:00 am laying drains.
Stopping at a bus stop in the middle of the night with things being bought and sold and music blaring out.
Passing through another village with an all night festival, lights and people everywhere.
So we had travelled total 16+ hours by bus, to say we had numb bums would be an understatement! On the most dodgy looking buses we have ever seen!!!
We have decided to label all drivers either lovers or fighters, the lovers take it easy and rarely use their horns, whereas the fighters fly over bumps so you get thrown two feet in the air, and they have two types of horns...which they love. One which makes you deaf and another that shakes your core, both which they use frequently (every few seconds!) Note to self - don't sit near front of bus again, we have had a lot of journeys and only one was a lover!!
So arriving into nagercoil at 4:00 with no sleep, we had one more bus to get (kanyakumari) as according to Phil we weren't quite south enough until we could see the sea!(thanks Phil) so arrived at around half four and it looked like midday by the amount of people still around. We were shown. To a reasonable hotel and settled for the day! The room was big with balcony fairly cheap - preferred our squat room though, the manickham hotel not much to rave about.
Day 5 ;
Woke up at twelve, and went for lunch....our first curry, yes curry! And it was good.......426 rps of which 39 which was service charge, all in two meals for 3 pounds each, 3 POUNDS!!
Wandered through kanyakumari town, we can't go any further south without swimming. Found the first big market which was interesting but all very much the same stuff, got a head band so no longer will I look like a fuzz ball, we had an early night, 5am start!
A couple of things we have learnt; travel by bus is relatively easy, reliable, safe....if you like white knuckle rides and don't mind being stared at, or thrown into the air! You can't always rely on what you are told - one minute there is not the bus you need, you come back fifteen minutes later suddenly there is a bus and you are thrown on.
The few words we have learnt ;
Spelling are phonetic...so don't laugh if we sound a bit dumb!
Nandri - thank you in Tamil
Vanakkram - good morning in Tamil
Shookriyar - thank you in Hindi
So that's that...
Miss u all loads already lots of love Claire and it! X