Madurai – day 111

It was a nice easy start to the morning. A proper, working, hot shower and some space to move around. The constant beeping of trucks and cars on the main road outside our room didn’t even faze us. We had a little over 24hours to go in India and the anticipation was building. 

We strolled down the street and had breakfast at the British Bakery & Café. It was quite impressive watching the staff go about their tasks – one fella was kneading some dough to within an inch of its life and then meticulously measuring it out on a scales; one lady took to her task of creating jelly to the extreme and was only rivalled in intensity by the chap beating the egg whites. The grilled cheese sandwich was amazing, the fresh bread slices were the size of the plate. The cappuccinos we ordered were sent for approval by the manager before sending to us. They had a lovely rippled heart and rosetta latte art poured across the top. We polished the respite off enjoying a slice of black forest cake. We joked about how we could stay there all day and pretend the museums and temples were shut. We could read our books and gorge on cream and caffeine. Oh the irony, we should have stayed.  The temple down the road has 4 massive and ornate ‘gates’ at each side and as tourists are not allowed in, we walked past two of them and headed down the streets and towards the Gandhi Museum. We passed over the bridge we trudged across yesterday evening and marvelled again at how they went about their lives in the river and banks – washing, swimming (nude 😳) bathing, cleaning food and utensils, playing cricket, drying sarees, feeding cattle and goats. The day was about to go horribly downhill and turn as putrid as the water that flowed under the bridge. We didn’t yet know it however.   We said we’d try and pass in Katherine’s trousers to be tailored in to a skirt in one of the many shops we’ve passed along the way. Each one kept sending us back further away from the museum we were so close to seeing. It contains the blood spattered clothes that Gandhi himself wore when he was assassinated. Finding a tailor that would do the work was an ordeal and we eventually drew out the design of the trousers (at present) to the skirt (future design) on paper. We were sent off to buy some fabric and were charged 3times more than what we were told it would be. Go figure, four months in India and we still couldn’t haggle them to reasonable amounts. 

Fabric in hand, the tailor went crazy with his measuring tape, yellow chalk and before we could shout stop he had cut the fabric in the wrong place. The intrusive gentlemen from the garage next door had decided to tell the 2 tailors we wanted shorts, not a skirt and the agro between the 4 of them meant even I walked off. Returning with a big bottle of Mirinda (luke warm, not paying cold tax) the “skirt” was finished and was a shambles. I reluctantly paid them the pre agreed price for the Home Economics project they handed us. Having a little teary moment by the garage across the road, we had reached our limits. They never apologise. They will not get out of your face. You try and be polite and they treat you like scum and something they can abuse. No wonder that there were three separate jumper punch moments from shitty little kids before we even got back over the bridge. 

Oh but wait, it still gets better! We stood at the corner of the road, with a pair of locals. Neither of us able to say a word to each other in case we broke down again, when a TukTuk driver undercuts the bus, the back left wheel dips in to the drain and the rickshaw tilts so much that I had to jump out the way, the lady in the front seat pushed Katherine to the curb ( so as not to be hit full force by the metal frame of the cab, a small mercy that she was knocked over rather than hit) and the two guys and myself started laying in to the fucker of a driver. Shop owners from all over the street came over to assist all four of us and bollock this driver out of it, not before a pointless – but stress relieving – kick to the back of his yellow tricycle of death. 

More annoying TukTuk drivers later we were back at the hotel sitting under the shower trying to wash away the salty tears, sweat and dirt of yet another city that we’d sooner forget. Reluctantly agreeing we needed to eat we ordered the same food at the same restaurant (to avoid complications) and we watched tv/ read books (no prizes for who did what) and went to sleep for the last time in India. Tomorrow a flight to Colombo, Sri Lanka… A flight to freedom!

Tuesday 26th January 2016

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