Sorting stuff

Someone’s screaming baby woke me up this morning, I was dreaming about home and it took me ages to get orientated to where I was. Still I felt glad to wake up early as we have quite a lot to do today. We have moved rooms and are all now on floor 1 which means that Simon and I are back in the same room and the kids are opposite us.

After breakfast I start to sort our gear out, we want to post some things home such as the India guide book and maps, postcards and admission tickets that we have collected over the past 8 weeks. We are also ditching more of our clothes, some things we haven’t used and some that is too stained to get clean properly. I think we will give these to someone in the street. Although the overall opinion is that giving to beggars just encourages them more, we have found it impossible to ignore them and Chennai is full of people asking for anything you can spare.

We have seen people here so physically disabled that you wonder how they have survived. One man at the station appeared to have no lower body at all and yesterday I gave a young women a few rupees who looked so heavily pregnant it seemed she could have her baby at any moment.

I try to imagine what a difficult start to life her baby will have and think about our little niece Hope and my friend Marie’s son Ben. They are also tiny babies but have such a huge advantage just by being born in England with ready access to education and healthcare. We are very lucky in that respect and being here has definitely reminded me of that fact.

Chennai is just about the busiest, hottest and most polluted city I have visited. With none of the history and sights of Delhi or the modern feel of Mumbai it would be easy to stay
in our hotel room and watch TV for the next few days but we have found by getting out and about we have seen sights here that we haven’t experienced elsewhere and I’m definitely enjoying it here.

In the afternoon we have planned to go to the snake farm, but unfortunately our crappy planning comes into play and we arrive there to be told it is closed on Tuesdays. No surprise when we check in the guidebook, which quite clearly states open Wednesday to Monday! As it is quite late in the afternoon we ask the driver to take us to the American burger bar and spend an hour or so completely stuffing our faces.

We get back to The Orchard Inn and lie on the bed. I have been reading the local paper which has some interesting stories today including one about a leopard that was found in someone’s bathroom and news of the arrest of 38 people in connection with illegal cockfighting in Madurai.

As we ate so much earlier we decide not to go out for dinner and make do with a couple of beers and some 7up on room service. Tomorrow we are going out for the day to Mamallapurram, this is a coastal town famous for temples and stone work and hopefully we have organised it a bit better than today’s outing. It is Tamil Nadu’s premier traveller’s attraction and a World Heritage site and we’re hoping for an interesting day for our last full day in India.