cant actually remember when my last post was and cant be bothered checking (due to dodgy internet) so ill start with my arrival in India
Got to the airport at 0550 and had to go through immigration. EVERYONE TAKE NOTE: tip no. 1) have an address and phone number of ANYWHERE in the country so immigration is happy haha. had know idea of the rameswaram address so i left it blank... bad alex. got to the lady and she said i HAD to have an address. anyway this went on, and eventually i was directed to a phone. tip no. 2) if someone gives you their mobile number, write it down! i had no way of contacting anyone and was freaking out a bit. anyway, thank god for lonely planet, i just put one of their addresses down and the phone number and got through. changed some money, was definitely ripped off by about 400 rupee (8 dollars, stingy bum that i am) and met david (the man to ake me to Rameswaram). went to a hotel and slept for a bit, then he showed me around Chennai, we went to 2 museums (99% sure we snuck past the paying booth in the 2nd...) and the beach. the beach is like 100 metres of sand before water with zero shade and mainly fishermen. so it really just smelt like fish (there was patches of fish drying on the sand)... went back to the hotel and had some lunch, rice and curry, which you eat with you're right hand... it was actually really good, but its funny how we're so obsessed with cleanliness, no joke, david basically threw it around the room... (describing the room: double bed, basic sheets, tv, and fan. the bathroom had a shower and a toilet. i mean a hole in the ground. at this particular hotel they had toilet paper, but more on that later...) all in all, i definitely expected it to smell more. and, Chennai is very cramped and the people arent that friendly...
the train was at 940pm and we were in AC3, which basically means, its an airconditioned sleeper coach. at the beginning, we sit and then once the ticket inspector has come, the back of the chair lifts up to become a bed,so there are 6 beds in each 'compartment' (the top which is permanent, the middle which is the back of the chair and the bottom which is the seat). slept pretty well considering and woke up to the indian countryside rushing past. also made friends with a baby and his mother (the baby's name was hi something thimething z something, but the z is silent... haha, so really to me, his name is hi), photo will be coming! stood inbetween carraiges basically hanging out the door to see everything and take photoes, it was an experience!
Arrived in Rameswaram and met Joesph (who is a family friend) and went to the hotel room. its called hotel shanmuga and its where my uncle John used to stay. im on the 4th floor, which was the floor he always stayed on. It has an amazing view of the hindu temple, Ramanathaswamy Temple. the room is basic, no tv and the bathroom doesnt have a western shower. its a tap that you fill a big bucket up with and use a smaller bucket to wash yourself. interesting times thats for sure. and the toilet is another hole in the ground. except this one doesnt have toilet paper. (think another small bucket and water, ill let you imagine the rest...)
(all guidebooks say bring toilet paper but they really need to overstate its importance! ie, bring a role for every 2 weeks haha (i bought some, but NOT ENOUGH!).)
so got ovet the whole toilet situation and went with Joseph to a school who were learning about the importance of biodiversity. I had to change into long sleeve shirt and long pants to go (thank you anaconda for youre breathable quick dry clothing!) and have been in them ever since. I need more long light clothing! anyway, the kids were so interested, i walked in and they all stared adn had to give a speech about biodiversity in Australia, completly impromptu... we went out to get lunch and came back and they all ran up to me and shookmy hands, it was so sweet!
This morning i braved eating by myselp, went into a 'mess' that johnny always ate at and they started giving me all these options, but it just sounded like one long word! i just shrugged so they said one thing and i nodded.it was masala something i think, which is basically naan style bread and curry. it was really really good. and actually, the curry is quite similar to australian indian curry! went for a walk as well, following the mantra 'only turn right' to not get lost, made friends with a Hindu family on a pilgrimage to the temple and got invited to their hotel to eat. i turned them down i had to get back to the hotel so joseph could pick me up. but next time for sure!
went and saw a baby have something done to it (blessed maybe?? actually no idea...) and had lunch near a beach thenspent 2 hours under a tree at the beach which was so relaxing. its amazing when you actually have nothing to think about, except the stuff you want to! came back and visited the childs house. its made of bound coconut leaves, their shower is completly in the open and is the bucket thing again... very odd, its also really small and seemed to house heaps of people!
have been writing down all the little quirks of India, trying to remember them without my diary!
-they have little rickshaws (like the size of the smart car) and you can see whole familys of like 6-10 people squished into them!
-can only drink bottled water and eat peelable fruit, tthus snacking is hard!!
-Chai is everywhere, and delicious
Rameswaram is a really lovely town, perfect for first time india if you can get through Chennai because the people are SO friendly, smile and youll get a smile and maybe some conversation back...
will hopefully blog again soon because their is so much more to tell, its just in my diary!