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Supporting appealmobile on his world travels

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Chennai South andf Turning the Corner

I was up early but felt rough. FRortunately there was a chyai stall at the end of thye street to imbibe my favourite drink. I was confronted as usual by the street residents from outside the hotelk with requests for money which I deflected with a smile. I was fortunate to find the exit route and I have to say the south side of Chennai to be an open spaced area. Roads were wide and with iut being a holiday was relatively deserted of traffic.

It was easy to get onto a coastal route as signposts led me to the Eastern Coastal Route and I was off. The area to the south is a holiday resort and I took a route down to the beach as a matter of course. Agaiun it was a straight beach and looked appetising but I resisted a dip and continued south to Pudicherri.

I knew it was a holiday and wqasn't expecting to find a bar for a drink that night and although I landed in the French Quarter, I was not surprised to see the bars shut. I tried, believe me nbut conceded and wemnt to my room. I emerged later for a fruit drink and met a really nice guy who was a first officer on board tankers. He gave me a run down of where to go in the west plus some stories of being on the longest hi-jacked ship off Somalia.

Although he recommended a trip out to a place I can't remember, I decl;ined the opportunity next5 morning and continued south. I was following instinct and the sun, but when the sun disappeared behind cloud I was lost. I had passed through many villages that had their music blaring at full decibels , when I emerged at a cross roads. A couple of locals converged on me to advise me that a christian church was just down the road at Velankanni. It was the Basillica shrine to our lady of health. I found the lodges overpriced for me and found one out of the centre. The boss was over the top and it wasn't till he organised a couple of small bottles of brandy which he indulged in, that I realised he was pretty drunk already. It was however the cheapest OK room so far. I was up and reclaimed my deposit although it was reluctant in coming and found my way thanks to friends who had texted me towns on route.

My first stop was for fuel and oil and conceded to an oil change. Photographs with the staff ensued and so it went wherever I stopped that day. Whether it was tea or fuel, there were photos. The most beautiful people, if I haven't mentioned that already.

I followed the directions and came to Ramanathapuram. I met a guy running with a torch, barefoot as they do at the Olympics and he explained it was custom every year at Pongola to do so.. A quick dash along the spit to Ramashwaram but decided against the whole stretch and stoppoed to view Sri Lanka across the water before turning back to reach Thootikorin/Thoothukudhi hoping to reach there before dark. I arrived just as it turned dark and stopped at a tea stall to get bearings. I struck up a conversation with a couple of off duty cops who were more than interested as to how I acquired a bike from UP. They were sound though and I made my way to the centre to be confounded as usual at that time of night to find a lodge. After two hours I found a bar and opted for some refreshment. After I made my way into the centre again and decided it might be a good idea to sleep in the open. I turned down a side street and was confronted by a group of youths who directed nme in the direction of the bus station and a lodge which I took without question as it was now 11pm.

Off early and followiung the route supplied was quickly down south and suddenly I realised the sun was on my left at mid-day which meant I was traveling west. I soon arrived at the cape which they don't make a song and dance about. Because of the holiday there was many people out and I passed by and stopped at a beack a mile to the west. I met some lovely people there before heading on. Suddenly I was heading North. I had turned the corner and was on my way back. I passed through the area known as the backwaters where you can hire a houseboat at 150000 rupees which is way out of my budget and finally arrived at Kovalam. It is holiday country to westerners and I was unsure if I could find a lodge as there are no towns to speak of. I entered the holiday beach resort called the lighthouse beach and was immediately offered a room but declined when I heard it was a thousand rupees, however the manager emert\ged and after enquiring what my budget was allowed me to check in for 500 rupees for the night. The beach area and hotel is paradise and I hyavge stopped here to recharge batteries and to revise a plan for the West Side.

I realised that however much I hate the tourist world, it is rich pickings for raising awareness and money for the project. Tomorrow I am heading off with an Indian attitude. Asking for donations on the slogan of
'A Chance to Give Something Back'

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