After only a five hour wait for our delayed train and a four-hour train ride we had left the only part of India that was familiar to go on holiday and be a tourist for a week. It was the first time since arriving that we could do thing by ourselves and were alone.
The train ride to Chennai was filled with lovely people asking us where we were from, why we were in India and where we were going. A kind man in the bunk above me even shared some of his cake with us. And the women we were sitting next to asked me if I was married for the first time since getting here and why we weren’t. One of them told me she liked my hair and wanted to turn it into a wig which I am going to take as a compliment. And of course, the views were beautiful.
Once we had arrived in Chennai, we had a new challenge to concur, getting an auto and not getting ripped off to badly. We managed to get to the hotel but in doing so ignored one of the first pieces of advice we were given and got a taxi.
Chennai was beautiful, it was so busy and felt like a real Indian city with everyone always doing something and with such amazing colours. The beach there was beautiful though we chose not to swim in it. We visited my first Hindu temple which was absolutely amazing to see, but even in the temple, we were still asked to take photos with people which is now just a usual occurrence. Though I think the main reason for the increase in photos was due to Eilidh’s blond hair.
The nine of us all set of to Puducherry which we were all very excited about seeing as from what we had read and heard with sounded incredible. We ended up splitting into smaller groups of five and four as traveling as a nine can be hard to organise. Puducherry is influenced heavily by its French history so is a unique blend of India and France which let me tell you makes a great place for food. After only eating spicy Indian food at our projects we were all excited to be able to choose what we ate, and on morning we went to a bakery, and I had bread for the first time in three weeks, I didn’t realised how much I miss bread but it was amazing; and a kind woman there even gave me my first bindi and stuck it on my head! We also visited a market which I could have happily spent all day in, the beach and wondered around the French quarter which has beautiful colour building wherever you look.
The train ride home was definitely an experience, as we only had one confirmed bed out of the 5 I booked for a nine-hour sleeper journey. Which lead to us accidentally stealing people’s seats until Indian kindness and hospitality shined though as we were invited to share beds with absolute strangers. One man even rearranged his family around to make a spare bed which two of us shared.