Southern India Days 1 & 2 – travel and Mamallapuram

Welcome back to my adventures. It’s true: I don’t always remember to blog every trip. For instance, Matt and I traveled to Marrakech last weekend, and although I may belatedly post something about that trip, it wasn’t one of the major exploration trips, which definitely get blogged about. The cast of characters for this 3 week journey: me (Sharon), Matt, and our friends Derek and Abbie. This will be our first trip with them, although all of us are veteran travelers. Oct 5, 2017: Was entirely a travel day. We woke up early, took an Uber to Schiphol airport, then flew via Paris CDG to Bengalaru (Bangalore). We arrived just before midnight, and collected our bags before re-checking them into a domestic flight leaving at 06:30 for Chennai. Derek had purchased us access to a nice travel lounge, so we slept for a few hours on comfortable recliners, before waking for complimentary breakfast then boarding our plane.

(lounge photo credit Matt)

We arrived to Chennai around 07:30, but our arranged transport was not there. In the end, we took an Uber to Mamallapura, where we’d be staying the first night in order to see the Tiger Cave in the morning. It was a long drive, but pleasant, and we checked into our budget guesthouse with no problem. Matt and Abbie went for food while Derek and I took naps. My favorite thing about our guesthouse, which shared a courtyard with another guesthouse, was the stairway. Everything is so colorful here, and usually hand-painted and -lettered, although occasionally you will see stencils as well. After a nap, we headed out, first for some late lunch at a friendly but mediocre cafe nearby, then for Matt and me to get sim cards. Unfortunately, there were some problems with the sim, so it took much longer to do than it should have. Abbie and Derek headed to Shore Temple without us, but we took a tuk tuk and joined them at the 5 Chariots temple. On the walk back, we stopped in at another closed monument, but took pictures from outside. The sun had already set, but it was beautiful. Considering how long of a day it was, we were pretty pleased at all we’d accomplished thus far. We went out for dinner at another friendly and mediocre place (this is really a middle-of-nowhere town, not really a culinary hot spot) and discussed our plans for the evening and next day. Abbie and I went to negotiate a driver for our next day adventures; Matt went to get help with his still-malfunctioning sim card; Derek went for an early night, since he’d been unsuccessful with napping earlier. Errands run, the three of us remaining found the entire town camped out on the beach enjoying the breeze. We didn’t manage to finish our enormous beers.

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