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Thanjavur Travel Blog› entry 24 of 67 › view all entries
Today was a good day.
After spending the last several days passing from one town to the next, continuously moving in and out of hotel rooms, I finally found a day to sit and rest.
I grabbed a book and walked over to Brihadishwara Temple. I found a great spot at the back of the temple complex where I could enjoy the afternoon reading and people watching in the shadow of one of India’s greatest temples.
It’s amazing how fast four hours can pass. Most of the time I wasn’t even reading my book. Most of the time I wasn’t even alone. All sorts of people came and sat with me in order to ask me questions about where I’m from, what I do, and what I thought of India.
Many of them asked me if I could speak Tamil. SHMEH?!? How many TAMIL-SPEAKING CHINESE PEOPLE do they encounter?! Indians don’t even think I’m Chinese since they get very few Chinese tourists. They all think I’m Japanese. How many Tamil-speaking JAPANESE people do they meet?! I thought I completely looked the part of a non-Tamil speaking person, but what do I know…?
I didn’t mind the curious questions as they were innocent really. I loved chatting with this one particular bright little girl with braided pigtails. I think she was seven. She shared her coconut with me.
It was a bit weird though when large classes visiting the temple noticed me.
The weirdest thing was when about a dozen teenaged students (all boys) pointed me out, ran up to poise next to me while one of the boys snapped a photo, and then dispersed…….all without even speaking to me! No asking if they could take a photo with me, or even saying hello when they approached. It made me feel like a tourist attraction, like I was on display. It was really funny AND RUDE all at the same time. I yelled “you’re welcome!” as they ran off, but at least a few turned around and yelled back thank you. I guess boys will be boys no matter what country you visit.
As I said, it was a good day. Occasionally, I’d spot a tour group being herded through the temple complex sporting matching baseball caps or bright coloured stickers on their shirts. The stickers were for the tour guides to keep the herds from mixing…..sort of like BRANDING.
It’s times like these that make me feel so happy to be traveling on my own.