Last day in India

Trip Start Jun 25, 2006
Trip End Aug 01, 2007

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Flag of India  ,
Monday, February 26, 2007

He Said:

Prior to departing home back in July we tried to have most of our flights, dates, and routing nailed down. Not surprisingly, there have been a number of unanticipated events that have thrown us a few curves en route. For instance, originally we weren't going to travel through the southeastern region of India, and had planned to fly from Calcutta (which is much further north) to Bangladesh then on to Myanmar (Burma). About a month ago we found out our connecting flight out of Bangladesh was no longer being operated, so unless we wanted to be stuck in Bangladesh (not a popular option with Katie!) we needed to make a new plan. Turns out that by far the most affordable way to get to Southeast Asia was for us to fly out of the southeastern city of Chennai. We did our new route with that in mind and will depart India bound for Singapore tomorrow.

Since we've pretty much had our fill of big cities in India, we decided to get out of Chennai as soon as our train arrived and instead spend the last few days of our stay in the nearby fascinating village of Mamallapuram. Like Hampi (which we visited about a week ago), Mamallapuram is both a magnet for western tourists and pilgrimage destination for Indian travelers. The town is renown for its eclectic collection of Hindu shrines and sculptures carved out of the rock formations scattered around the village. There are a few large shrines in the town that were each carved in one piece out of a single huge boulder. Impressive to say the least!!! The town also has the good fortune to be on a long stretch of beach, but because of rough seas it doesn't have many sunbathers and seems to be only utilized for parking fishing boats, dumping trash, and as a toilet. Thankfully it gets much cleaner and more pleasant once you get away from the town, making long beach walks an essential part of our mornings here.

Although we have had some really amazing experiences during our seven weeks in India, I think we are both ready to move on. I wonder if we will experience a bit of reverse culture shock going from India into the ultra-modern cities of Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?

She Said:

Well, our seven weeks in India is coming to an end, and the little town of Mamallapuram was a great place to spend our last few days. While I have enjoyed our time here, I am beyond excited to be moving on. I am looking forward to softer beds, clean linens, hot water showers, the lack of roaming livestock, and the general lack of begging and honking.

Mamallapuram is another common stop on the backpacker circuit, and the guesthouses and restaurants really cater to western tourists, and is a great place to hang out for a few days to recover from some of the frustrations of traveling in India. You can walk into any restaurant and order spaghetti or pizza, trade books at used book swap stores, use high-speed internet on every corner, and purchase just about any Indian souvenir from all parts of India. The rock temples and carvings are really a site to see, but I am getting a bit rock carvinged out at this point. While the beach seems to be the common place for locals to make their "morning movements," it is a great place for long walks after the tide comes in and washes it off! The fact that this doesn't bother me that much makes me know that we have been here too long!
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