Time for a rest!

Posted by on 4, Feb 2024 in 2024 - An Indian Winter, Asia, India, Tilly the Tandem

Time for a rest!
And we’re off….

Having had the chance to experience the traffic in Chennai first hand in multiple tuk tuks, we decided the best time to set off on our cycle seemed to be sometime before the invention of the tuk tuk! As this wasn’t an option we opted for getting up at 5.30 and leaving at sunrise, which turned out to be a good plan.

The traffic was light and we managed to get out without any difficulty. But it’s hot work, even at that time in the morning and we’d drunk 2 x 750ml bottles of water by the end of the first 20km.

The journey itself showed the huge gap between the poor – living in makeshift tents by the road – and the rich in opulent modern blocky glass houses.

It also showed the mountain India has to climb to become environmentally friendly. The rivers are just littered with rubbish, it’s like lorries dump their waste there, it’s horrendous. However, we did feel once we were out of Chennai the rubbish diminished to less apocalyptic proportions. There were even quite a few bins, and posters asking people to not litter. Obviously surrounded by litter, but even so, it’s a start.

We’ve not figured out yet what the locals think the dotted white lines on the road are for. Despite the many “Maintain lane discipline” signs no one does. If you’re in a tuk tuk then you’ll likely be going down the dotted line like an aircraft taking off on a runway, only much much slower. It won’t feel it obviously, as you’ll be pooping yourself with the cars hooting and whizing by you on each side whilst the driver maintains lane discipline oblivious to everything else.

One of the joys of the trip so far has been selfie time. People want to take their photo with you. In Chennai we had 5 selfies and leaving the hotel we had 2 before we had ridden off! We also had a professional photographer stop and take a snap with a mega camera whilst his female model looked on disgruntledly.

The trouble with starting so early is that we arrive early and we rolled up at our next hotel at 11am. We’d planned a short cycle of 40km so we would have plenty of time to get out of Chennai if it was bad and also so we could visit temples the next day at Mama.

Our Hotel, who initially said we’d have to wait until the 2pm check in, but then almost immediately found us a room, was a beach resort.. and was pretty amazing to, with a gorgeous beach complete with pizza shack and bar and also a very nice pool. I can’t believe we are going to go around India finding places like this each night so best we enjoy it whilst we can!

Our 2 night beach resort stop turned into a 3 nighter as the beach was so peaceful and wonderful, so we had a day to visit Mama to see the ancient temples, which we loved and a beach day to relax from the start of our miniscule first cycle. We won’t get far at this rate!

The temples were fab, 7th century and unfinished but carved mainly out of solid rock and so ornate. A groups of school girls was at one and wanted selfies and to be in every photo – I egged them on and got the whole school waving and cheering at us when I waved back like a madman! They were so happy – no phones, just laughter and giggles and beaming faces. We loved it, even if Linda had to wait for ages to get a child free temple photo.

Our hotel had been a very pleasant surprise. You can pay what you want here for accommodation from £5 to £300 a night, but £50 a night gets you a very nice hotel with private beach, more staff than guests, pool, welcome drink, flower necklace and a golf cart to your room, which for us meant a 30m ride. The hotel is a 4* place and is very nicely done with the rooms surrounded by palm trees and grass or facing the sea, but like everything so far, maintenance and cleaning are done by “Kevin.”

After a horrendous day lazing on the beach listening to the waves and trying to decide whether the German guy nearby was with his daughter or wife ( don’t tell me you don’t play that game too) we set off for cycle number 2 to get half way to Pondicherry, the old colonial town. We are keeping our cycles short so we can get done by noon each day and miss the real heat. As we acclimatise to the heat and get our cycle legs back in action, we may cycle further, or maybe not. Who knows…

2 Comments

  1. All sounds wonderful … no wonder not much tandeming … yet!!!

  2. Brings back so many memories, you are noticing much of what we noticed.
    I have finally managed to find my password for WordPress 😂

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