from paradaise into chaos...
Chennai Travel Blog› entry 2 of 2 › view all entries
Wow, well, you certainly know when you land in chennai - the smell, the noise, the dirt, the heat... i have to say it wasn't my favourite of places. If it wasn't for the amazing food and the discovery of masala milk, I would say that I was close to hating it... but how can you hate masala milk?! Hmmm...
So, needless to say I didn't stick around in Chennai, having seen the Government Museum and "Modern Art Gallery" (oh Tate, how I miss you), there's precious else to do. So, having befriended Joel from the sunny Isle of Wight, we headed south the Pondicherry - un petit peu de France en Indien... There were pavements, a promenade, a pier, STEAK!! It was most civilised and pleasant, but it came with a price tags - the middle age French market has far more money than us mere travelling rabble! We did find somewhere cheap.
But a ride on a very cool Enfield (courtesy of Aussie Adam and Israeli Rafa), some very good meals, amazing mojitos and a croissant later and I was off to Mamallapuram with new travelling buddy Rachel, also from home. On first impressions, it was a mature Goa, but on closer inspection, it offered so much more - a nice (ish) beach, amazing ruins and caves, great food (from the seemingly grottiest of places in the bus stand with a brothel above it.
Next stop - Mysore in Karnataka. Gia, a lovely Aussie-cum-Brit I met in Havelock, recommended a place in Mysore where she spent a month doing yoga - so I was off on a mission to bend myself into the unimaginable... Mysore is a great city - for an Indian city it's clean, fairly quiet and chilled. There were some great places to eat and get beer (a rarity), and the Palace is INCREDIBLE. It blew me away, I totally slipped into 'work mode' and fell in love with the place - the detailing, finished, colours, archways, floors - EVERYTHING, it's just beautiful.
Mandala is a quaint 'cottage' like place, with terracotta tiles, trimmed windows and a very chatty cat. The cafe did the best salads.... well, food in general - Lee, Emily and Ryan will vouch for that! We ate, and ate well for a week... The yoga was Astanga Vinyasa, fast and dynamic and pushed my handstrings to bursting point. Walking proved difficult most days. But it was good pain. I was very lucky and met some great people here (again!) - Giovanni and Roberta (Italians need I say), Eva and Charlie (Danish Musicians / Students), Ben Copely (an aussie who has lived in London for 8 years and is MOTORBIKING it home to Melbourne... what a crazy guy!) and Ryan (from ChicAAGo) - and then there's Lee, from Perth - she took me under her wing once I proved to her I wasn't some serios, stuffy English girl... And Emily, beautiful red head singer from Melbourne. That was our clan for the week and what fun we had once the headstands and back bends were done. We even found a pool one day and ate veggie burgers and fries - felt a little like Spain, but nice nonetheless!
Next stop - was Hampi, that deserves a new chapter me thinks...