I bought an elephant and lost my camera
Ok I just deleted my entire entry so here I am to start again.. grrrr! Apologies for my grumpy entre and may I say greetings from Calcutta!
As many of you sports fans will know Tottenham is about to lose 2-1 to Man utd so apologies if I am a little sombre during this entry!
Ok so to business let me start where I left off, Pondicherry was French.. too French! So we left on an express bus bound for the village of Marmallapuram.. ahh yes Maramallapuram such a pleasant little place, unfortunately filled with French people.. however too its credit they did not pander to them and once again English was the preffered foreign language! Mais Oui.. MAIS NON! Ahhhhhh... anyway I digress, Maramallapuram is famous for its shore temple and the many carvings and other temples that litter the landscape around.. and it is very lovely indeed as well as being hot as a Vindaloo when it wants to be! Highlights of this place for me revolve mainly around me driving a motorcycle around.. hoh yes I drove a motorbike alright.. ok it was actually a moped but as its a type of motorbike it still counts! That mighty motor steed and myself formed quite the team and twas not long before I was wafting the missus on the back of the bike from sight to sight. As some of you who are privvy to read her own little travle diary will know she found the bike to be rather unstable at times.. as she is inexperienced in such matters as motor bikes I shall forgive her this oversight.. she was suffice to say an appalling passenger. But then again as a former vice roy of India once said.. 'women like fine wine are best kept in a cool dry place and certianly should not be shaken vigourously'... relevant perhaps not and I admit almost certainly fictious but in the case of riding pillion I feel it apt and therefore it stands!
Right so 'pon my motor chariot the good woman and I visited several places.. most notable being the Crocodile Bank.. I should warn you now that if you are exp[ecting a tale of a bank run by Pin-stripe suited Crocs, advising on morgages and the like you shall be certainly dissapointed.. alas the croc bank was not an experiment in civilising the crocodile kind, but in fact a sort of mass production facility run in an amusingly laid back manner! The place is chock full of poisonous snappy things (snakes be there also!) watched over by wardens keen for you to feel at one with the croc kind.. "perhaps you feed croc, only 40 rupees!" Ah maybe not thank you very much but feel free to go ahead without me.
The true jewel in the crown of this park of death would have to be however the venom milking station where venom is extracted to make antivenom.. a noble cause true, except on the day we arrived clearly the proffesional extractors were on holiday as instead we were treated to 'snake show yes' which involved two lunatics with sticks and a red rag removing the snakes from there milking jugs (wierd isnt it) and then proceedind to piss them off by poking them untill they bit the red rag(hopefully). It was to say the least a little uncomfortable watching these two guys poking a way at king cobras and vipers for our personal satisfaction. Somehow noone got bitten which is a miracle as they kept on forgetting where they were and wandering too close to the beasts who to be honest would have been well within their rights to give em a quick nip! Anyway we left them too it, they did seem to enjoy so why not.. hmmmmm.
The saddest part of the whole experience was reading the visitors book where Indians took the oppotunity to complain about the water and the fact the beasts were in captivity.. it seems that all the signs around the place explaining that the crocs are in a breeding program (thats why they're here kids) and the water was kept muddy to best mimmic they're natural habitat was lost on those pleasure seeking souls!
Anyway twas aboard the bike and off again down the motorway to Maramallapuram (Yes I included the motorway bit to scare the parents.. hahaha!). Anyway anyway, so then I bought an elephant!
Ok its made of stone so not that exciting however it is quite large weighing in at about 7 kilos and therefore a bit of a pain in the arse to carry but I think I shall sea freight it home at some point! It was carved by an odd fellow who on no prompting of my own said he remembered me from years before, although he couldnt remember Jen.. it was a bit freaky as I have been there before when I came in 2001 so whether it was just a clever bit of salesmanship or a remarkable memory I'm not sure.. either way it was impressive so I bought! Hmmm and thats about it from Marmallapuram.. it was alovely place ot saty for a few days right on the beach and jolly pleasant too. Actually before I move on from there I'd better tell you about my massage.. Jen persuaded me to have one as she was going to have one and being in the land of aurevedic massage and other hippie like goodies I thought I should at least give it a shot... well I can tell you this never again! Jen and I both had back massages mine given to me by a big fat Indian called Kumar nice guy, i just wished i hadnt accepted a massage from him! He made me strip to my boxers (never a good start) and then battered my back neck and head untill after half an hour he demanded payment. I wasnt relaxed.. hmmm apparently Jens was good.. I think next time the offer comes my way I'll check its a Swedish blonde chick instead.. right nuff said about that me thinks.. so onwards........
Ok its a new day today.. I had to leave off yesterday to go eat at this wicked place called Peter Cat.. it was like a 60s mafia throw back.. extremely cool! Anyway where was I, ah yes so we're heading for the bus in Marmallapuram to take usback to Chennai so we can get on our monster train ride to Calcutta (35 hrs people is a long time), but on the way I had to pay off a drinking debt I had (sounds worse than it was!) so we stopped in for a drink (counter-intuitive maybe) and met some Brit expats working for among others the High Commision, a call centre, and a waste management service.. they were all fairly hammered and one of them wanted my hat.. I cantr blame him it is amazin! So I told him no he cant have my hat and he then goes ok I'll buy you some beers instead.. sweet, I say he cant have my hat so he buys us beer.. but I see he may have a plan up his sleeve to get me drunk and then steal the hat.. but in fact he was drunk already so it was just good humour.. cheers to that! So anyway we're chatting about our big train ride and the fact we're taking the bus in to town in a minute, and they're taking the mickey cos a plane flight is only a little bit more but takes 2 hours in stead of 2 days (I tell you what I wasnt laughing, but never mind)! So then Ali one of the guys managing the Chennai waste management operation says we should come with him to his place on the way to Chennai for a few beers and then his driver will take us on. Now that people is a result.. so we went from a bus to having beers pool side with Ali, his wife and some of his friends.. it was outstanding and a true act of generosity and general lengendry behaviour on his part.. so I salute you Ali for being an absolute legend.. anyway we had a few beers and then it was time to go.. so off we go to the station, only when we get there I forget my camera and leave it in the car.. queue piss taking from Jennie and general bad humour from me! Jen still thinks I did it on purpose because I have a bit of an obsession about getting a sweet digital camera in Singapore so shes thinking I'm going to try and claim for it or something.. but I dont. So anyway (the writing style has changed a bit hasnt it.. abit more chatty less high brow, well read on and maybe it'll change again.. who knows) we go eat at this amusing fast food place called mamma browns at the station and have a chicken burger which is actually a chicken mcnugget between to buns but there you go.. it was tasty and cheap.. Jen still thinks it was ground up bone.. nice! Anyway we got on our train and we'd gone posh class 2AC which means only 6 people per compartment and only 2 tiers of bunks in an AC carridge.. quite nice but still I'd have rather flown. Anyway I wont bore you with details..35 hours later and one book finished we got to Calcutta which is it has to be said is one of the nicer cities of India.. very green and a lot like London in many ways (they even have a St Pauls Cathedral.. although its pretty rubbish compared to ours.. We built it so its still pretty good though!) Anyway theres loads of colonial architecture and plenty to amuse ourselves with which is good.. infact theres so much colonial influence here I was overwhelmed by it all and have bought a pipe.. for thinking only of course.. No tobacco required.. one merely places the pipe in ones mouth and immedietley ones thoughts clear and one can begin to think like an empire builder again.. could come in handy should I decide to claim a little more of India for the Queen. Anyway as you can imagine Jennie has had to put up with this sort of behaviour since we got here so shes quitye glad that we're leaving today to head for the cool of Darjeeling.. its another overnighter only this time we're going sleeper class on the train which is more crowded and open windows and stuff but in my opinion better than AC as the views are better. Ok Ok have I forgotten anything..err no. Ok so happy easter merry souls of England (and the few that recide beyond, well badluck), Ok so this is it from me once more.. apologies if the writing style is more irritating I'll soon snap out of it.. right thats it, ok.. yes.
God save the Queen (stand up straight ye devils!)