Travelling – day 110

Knowing that we had an ‘easy’ four hour bus journey ahead of us out of the Western Ghats down to Madurai, neither of us were in a hurry to get up, pack our bags and leave the guesthouse. However, the family with young kids decided that everyone in the guesthouse needed to be woken up at 6.30am so we got up and slowly did our list of jobs before leaving. Paid the incredibly smiley and helpful guesthouse owner before being waved off by his wife and adult son. Got about 5m out of the guesthouse before we bumped into another couple of guests who wished us ‘happy travelling’. Is led to a slightly excitable Jayne who was delighted to be considered a traveller and not merely on holiday – must be my ridiculously dirty feet that gave it away!!! Arrived at the bus station and, after trying to convince us to stay at his hotel, a guy reluctantly pointed us in the direction of our bus. We had to cross under a police check point as we were now, technically, entering a new region of India to catch our bus. Managed to find the right one, we put our stuff near the front and settled down with some fried stuff from a nearby shop. Turned out to be idly with chilli and vegetable shaped into donut shape and a sort of daal hash brown. The journey down the mountain was significantly nicer than any of our recent bus journeys, mainly because the driver didn’t think he was part of the Formula One team and he actually understood that there may be other vehicles on the road! The journey was surprisingly painless except for the women who seemed unable to put her legs anywhere but on Jayne’s feet and the one woman who began rubbing Jayne’s leg affectionately… A quick swap around of seating arrangements made it better for everyone!! I finally finished ‘The Hobbit’ (my repetitive New Years resolution for two years now!) whilst Jayne finished here ninth Wheel of Time book.Arrived in Madurai and walked the 2km to our hotel. Checked in and, seeing that there was a Decathlon store in town, we decided to go shopping to replace some of our clothes and our cheap, nasty sunglasses with something a bit more appropriate for the Maldives. We decided to walk the 10km to the shop to get a chance to see the town although the sights were pretty few and far between – a dried up river bed, a pile of rubbish, a burning pile of poo… You get the idea!!! Arrived at the store and stocked up on hiking t-shirts for me (that actually fit!), socks for Jayne (without holes!) and two pairs of polarising sunglasses. Asked the cashier how to get back to town, to which he replied ‘turn right’ – he was surprised that we hadn’t come in a TukTuk. Tried to ask about buses but he was new to town so had no idea. We went down to the bus stop and tried the tested ‘stick your arm out for every bus and one will stop’ technique. The third bus stopped and we jumped on although we had to change buses at the next big bus station. Asked the enquiry desk who pointed us in the right direction and said ‘bus 700’. As we waited, a TukTuk driver came up to ask us where we were going, offering to take us anywhere for 100INR – turns out he was stood in front of the bus we needed but didn’t tell us! Fortunately, he had a change of heart at the last moment and told us to jump on just as the bus was pulling out. Got back to railway station and had dinner in a little place just a couple doors down from our hotel. Think the waiter was genuinely surprised when we said we’d be in India nearly four months and were able (and willing!) to eat with our hands.   A quick flick about on Facebook when we got back to the hotel before sinking into the softest bed I’ve ever tried – Jayne was in heaven. I hated it – It was like sleeping on a slightly depleted water mattress…

Monday 25th January 2016

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