We didn’t wake up until 10.30 and after 12 hours solid sleep I feel great. We spend the morning packing up our stuff and have a quick breakfast of toast and fresh juice.
The kids watch a DVD of The Blue Planet and I get them to write a story about life in the ocean from the perspective of a dolphin, imaginatively called Flipper. To encourage them on I make it into a competition where they get a point for each fact and they seem quite enthusiastic about it.
We get some lunch at the hotel next door, although up until this point we have avoided this place as judging by the number of empty rum and vodka bottles piled up in the alley behind it is obviously a local drinking den. As we are pushed for time we decide to go for it and although the place is smoky and everyone already has a beer on the go we have decent veg thali’s for 30 rupees each.
We arrive at the station with time to spare and eventually The Chennai Express leaves as planned at 4pm. We are always a bit apprehensive about who we will be sharing our compartment with but the fella who gets on at the next station is friendly and speaks good English. He tells us he lives in Chennai and works as an accounts manager for Heinz, he has been in Kerala on business and he spends an hour or so advising us on places of interest in and around Chennai. He gives us his email address and mobile number in case we have any problems in Chennai and readily agrees to swap bunks with me so I am up higher and more out of reach from groping hands.
After a few hours playing cards, scrabble and reversi we settle down for the night, I can’t sleep and lie there listening to my MP3 player, my much loved birthday present and an essential for drowning out the snoring that is shaking the train carriage.