The Chief Minister arrives, and we meet the locals down the beach
mammallapuram Travel Blog› entry 3 of 26 › view all entries
After a bus ride of about an hour and 45 mins from Chennai to Mammallapuram, the kneck of my white shirt had turned a dark brown/black from the pollution! Chennai may not have an obvious city centre for me, but it is similar to mot cities in that to get out of it and intothe country takes forever! however, once we left the dirt of the city behind, we were rewarded with tropical open plains of lush greenery as we drove up the coastal road. We had already got seats on the bus at the bus station, and had to climb on top of it to secure all of our rucksacks, (there being 12 in the intrepid travel group) and the locals certainly poured into the bus as we made our way along.
Arriving in Mammallopuram (getting sick of writing this name about now) there were the usual dramas. The driver tried to leave with some of our group on top of the bus untying the bags, and when he did finally speed off, one of the irish guys on the trip had left his bag ith passport inside the bus. luckily our guide for the temple ruins was on this motornike and they had a high speed chase of sorts for a couple of kilometres.
The rest of us settled into our rooms instead, nice and clean again. We had a quick breakfast downstairs, although all looked at the menu board wondering what on earth these thigns are. We may know our kormans and masalas, but indian breakfast dishes are another story... we just guessed a couple of things, with help from an indian girl who came over to talk to us, and I had poori patata - a puffed up wheat bread, mainly hollow, served on banana leaf with a small pot of potato curry to dip it in.
After this we timidly went to rent biked with our guide - as it was quicker to get around the town on bikes. Although in Chennai this would have been a death wish, this town was small and easy enough. It was pretty good fun going around the roads - and i understood now the system of indian driving - honk if someone is in front of you to overtake, and if someone honks, stay where you are!! they are mad and fast - but they stop when they think there may be a colision, regardless of whose fault it is in the first place!
The temples were intersting, but it was the first day of open sun and a bit too much for me.
After the temples we had a swift lunch down at the beach, and then me and some others went to a drum shop for about an hour learning drumming with the locals which was pretty fun. We fitted in here a lot more than int he big city. We even saw some other tourists finally seeing as it was a smaller place. Also the chief minister was visiting for the day so it was a big affair - with all the ruling party flags out, and a crowd from nearby villages.
After a much needed shower - really! - had a nice meal on the beach again. They had some fresh fish on offer, but im trying to keep on budget for the first few weeks at least! Even so a veg curry with rice is tasty and costs only 50p. nice one! I did treat myself to a beer tho - relatively expensive at 1pound 30! But you need to have a Kingfisher in India hey.
We decided to pop into the bob marley bar for a drink before bed - classy end to the day.