You want handicraft.. maybe you look you buy?
Well dear friends we meet again, firstly let me apologise for the lack of pictures so far.. as some of you may well know I do not posess a digi-whatsit, prefering (due to stringent budget regulations) ye olde 35 mm film.. however the good woman with whom I chose to traverse the Indian subcontinent and beyond does possess (its a differentn spelling but whihc is right.. and no I dont care that there are no apostrophes or that my whichs come out whihc!!) one and at some unpecified point in the coming dialogue I shall drop in the web address at which one may find some select pictures for you to dribble over! Right first point of call cleared up... next would be the continuing lack of hippies, prehaps owing to a lack of whities... apparently due to the heat according to the locals who accordingly devote all their time and energies into getting you to buy "some lovely handicrafts.. you look maybe you like, maybe you buy.. no problem"! Well hehehexcuseme but no thank you...
Ah perhaps I should illuminate you as to our present area in which we in habit... it is the tamil nadu and more precisely Madurai!
- *** Hang on heres the link for pics.. www.travellerspoint.com/member_profile.cfm?user=jenniewren
Cripes! Some link... even i wasnt prepared for that one! So there you have it... enjoy I have no idea whats on show but I'm sure it'll make you envious! Anyway where was I... ah yes Madurai.. so anyway we're here but before I say anymore let me tell you about whats happened since the last time.. so I think we were in Fort Cochin at the last update.. a delightfully eccentric part of India which has a strong Portugese flavour.. apparently they were there first and then the Dutch took it of them and then I think we took it of them.. How like life! It gives one a warm glow to think of thrashing three countries all in one go... if only i could say the same for the cricket which i am sorry to say I witnessed first hand at Cochin on thursday, but more of that later..
Soooo after arriving on monday and checking into a pleasant little place for the next three nights, we did our best to checking out the surroundings. Fort Cochin isnt big but it is full of tourists and rich Indians and therefore is a surprisingly pleasant place to stroll about it.. its not exactly India as we know it, no festering sewers or slums here, just broadband internet and expensive restaurants (yes I believe it cost all of 6 pounds for two and with a few beers thrown in)..good stuff though and a nice place to catch some breath! We took in the local sights...not that many.. notable exceptions being Jew Town, the ultimate in say it as you see it place names.. which was as you might expect one of the few few Jewish enclaves of India with an amazing synagogue and what not to go with it.. it also had the rather sad problem of being ruined by a large coach party who appeared to have the cultural appreciation of a sausage i.e. they took a picture of themselves and then left and the one other problem of the brash American tourist who declares at the top of his voice what a quaint little Jewish place this is.. charmed I'm sure Uncle Sam! Anyway we shall move on.. So the cricket then... thanks in the main to Jennie's Dad sending us the schedule of upcoming one day internationals between India and mighty England (from now on called Angleterre with reference to the cricket owing to a "limp" showing on the pitch!.. yes yes its a dig at the effeminate Frenchies..haha 1815 and all that what!).. so first point of call was the bank which had taken on the duty of ticket agent for this particular one day match.. random but fairly effiecent also. So we arrived and went to purchase tickets which ranged from a paltry 200 Rs for the gallery to 10000 Rs for an unspecified position somewhat closer to the pitch I would imagine! As it was we opted for the 600 Rs option.. we had a seat but would we have a view! As it turned out come match day we did indeed have a view and jolly good it was too, we also learnt that purchasing tickets up to the Rs 5000 mark basically entitled you to the same set of seats everyone else was entitled too, you were just allowed to turn up at 4am to claim then as opposed to 6 am for us (as it happened we turned up at 8.45 and had a perfect view!! its good to know that being tight has its rewards!)As for the 10000 rupee seats I imagine they were under this pavillion bit from where you could see the score board ( yes thats correct no one could see the scoreboard from the stands probably for tv purposes! it did result in one cyclical conversation with an Indian sitting to my right whereby he would ask me what the score was and I would respond with the same answer i gave him 3 minutes before which was... I'm teribly sorry friend I just cant see from here... this ultimately turned into me shaking my head and then after 6 hours playing dead in the hope he wouldnt ask the same inane question again) (big brackets eh) enough!!! Anyway we lost as usual and that was that.. however what was rather unexpected was the level of fanatism of the average Indian fan.. these boys love their cricketers ( I say boys as we counted only one woman in the entire place!), when they were fielding there was a fair bit of noise as one might expect.. but come the afternoon the whole thing went off like a bomb.. as soon as India went into bat the stand exploded with people banging whatever they could find together and dancing like nutcases... most amusing were the 4 middle aged dads in front of us who had clearly to much special brew at lunch time and proceeded to dance like lunatics in the stands... surfice to say most of our entertainment came from watching the crowd rather than the cricket.. lets hope Angleterre will sort it out next time..
Right next on the agenda! Well we left Kerala that night on yet another night bus.. so far so normal.. however we did have the oppotunity to dine in splendor at a rather up market hotel that evening (we felt that as we had survived on crisps for the day we could probably use some real food before setting off again). What was wonderful about the place we chose was that it sums up India in so many ways! We arrived and I ordered a small and a large beer for Jennie and myself, we were then ushered out of the restaurant and into the lobby on account that 'it' bothered family groups! On questioning why drinking a beverage listed on the restaurant menu might be prohibited from being imbibed on the premises of the restaurant I was informed that smoking was a filthy habit and bad for children! Something I happen to agree with so I asked if as neither of us smoked whether it might be possible to consume both meal and beer in the same room.. much apologising and head waggling later (the waggle of the head is the Indian form for... well anything really, it must be done in all situations!) we sat down at our table... again. By this time the restaurant was filled with the classical accompaniment to fine dining, an electric keyboad set to jazz organ and an Indian voice doing an out of tune version of John Denver's classic, country roads! Laugh? I nearly wet myself infatc it was so funny Jennie actually did have to go to the toilet! What was even better was that immedietly after an Indian family leaving located a big mouth Billy Bass electric fish jobby on the wall and set him off and what did the stupid electric rubber fish sing but country roads! Thats got to hurt if you're the musician.. espeacially as the fish was in tune although the batteries were flat... ahh good times! ( Billy big mouth Bass thing for those fortuante enough not to know what it is, is a stupide rubberised fish mounted on a plastic plaque and supposed to appear to be fishing trophy.. it has a little button you press and then it moves its head and mouth and sings a song.. annoying yes, but when found in a posh restaurant in India probably better seen as a triumph of marketing!) OK OK enough..
So we're in tamil Nadu now.. Madurai is pleasant enough hot but not humid.. a nice change! So we got here and first thing we do is book in to a hotel.. cheap close to the big famous temple complex for which the town is famous and generally good value! We were then harrased by staff as to breakfast and dinner and cool beer and laundry requirements for the next three hours! No doesnt work here you have to repeat alot and let your eyeballs roll up into your head before they actually leave you alone... and then of course they're back in 10 minutes anyway!
Ok i have 10 mins left so I must be quicker! Ok so we saw the temple.. very nice very big and and well yes its a nice, big temple! So we went to a museum and also a palace... both interesting without being too rivetting.. the museum was actually better than I let on as it was a Gandhi memorial and had his bloodied loin cloth from when he was assinated, had a very jingoistc history of India also under English oppression.. fair do's I suppose, but its not what I learnt in the olde history books!!! Anyway since then we've embarked ona round the houses cycle rickshaw tour of the place (my arse is still numb!) and best of all we've had a drink in Appollo 96 bar which is a ludicrous establishment by which you enter though air lock and the insides of which have been made to look like a space ship (clearly some star wars/trek fans in India) it was hilarious and even more amusingly it was packed!! Amazin.. I never thought i'd see a space themed pub in India! ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh anyway Chenai tomorrow so must go..