Leavin’ on a diesel train….

1 Dec

Hey all, we left Goa on the 29th of November from Vasco da Gama and took the 7312 Vasco to Chennai Express leaving at 2:30 p.m. and arriving in Chennai at 12:50 p.m. on the 30th. Once we left the little bubble of our beach shack and got on the bus, we were back in the “real” India and somehow, things seemed much easier this time, the bus transfers, smog, pollution and masses of humanity were just normal now like the trip to Goa just helped settle all of our experiences thus far. The train ride was a whopping 21 hours, our longest train ride yet! Now it may sound tedious, but being a sleeper train, it was actually quite nice, it’s only the last few hours that got a little boring.

Astrid and I were in the same berth as two men around our age from Chennai, Dhanan a tax assessor and fellow traveller who gets out to see India every November and Ramesh, an engineer working with Kone Elevators and managing escalator projects all over India. We all got to talking right away and it was fun to hang out with these guys. We found out Ramesh is getting married this coming March and plans to have at least 1000 people at his wedding! Congratulations on your marriage Ramesh! Too bad we’ll be back in the States, because we would have gone in a second! We ended up teaching them how to play the card game Uno and we played and talked for about five hours before going to bed.

Not wanting to stay in Chennai, Astrid and I decided to head straight away to Mamallapuram, about 50 km south of Chennai and Dhanan and Ramesh were so helpful with steering us in the right direction. Dhanan even made sure we got into a pre-paid rickshaw and saw us off to the bus stand! Talk about hospitality! Anyway, he is originally from the southern-most tip of India, a place called Kanyakumari, where the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea all come together. Since we were planning to go anyway and since he will be there at that time, he asked us to give him a call and he will show us around his hometown. Should be fun seeing a town from a locals perspective.

Anyway we are safely in Mamallapuram on the way to Puducherry (Pondicherry) in a couple of days. We’ll post more later.

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