#21 Mahabalipuram, India

Friday we drove from Punducherry to Mahabalipuram. We checked in for two nights at the Ideal Resort. This place is truly a beach resort. There are hammocks between Palm trees, a pool large enough to swim laps, and a very international collection of guests. The gift shop is stellar as is the food. From Pondicherry on, we’ve been back to eating fish, fresh juices, fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. I think I drank 3 glasses of carrot juice today.

And while we are talking about food, the street fried potato ships in Chidambaram were memorable. It was a few days ago, and the temple was closed until 4PM so we walked around the city, taking pictures and enjoying the archecture and the people. The potato chips were an added bonus. The guy offered us each one and 20 rupees later, we had a bag of chips, sprinkled with hot red pepper powder. We also found a woman making masala chai near the entrance to the temple. We ordered three then sat while she made it in the traditional style. She served it in paper cups, then decided we were ready for the real deal and switched each one out to the metal cups everyone else uses. At this point, it was an “oh well”. Obviously, we are not drinking the water, but when we go to local restaurants, order bottles of water, then pour the contents into wet metal cups, I know we are getting just a little bit!

The other interesting incident involved a local woman who attached herself to Ronni. She stuck to Ronni’s side for about 15 minutes, talking nonstop. Ronni clearly gestured that there was no common language, but that did not seem to be a viable concept. The woman did ask, or gesture, what kind of car we drove, but then did not get that we did not have one. She might have wanted us to take her with us. It was a strange, and uncomfortable encounter.

Back to Mahabalipuram, I finally caught a cold, so I pretty much laid low, slept through lunch and dinner. Saturday, I sat out by the pool, caught up writing all of you guys, and watched the mostly French tourists. At breakfast and dinner there is an extensive buffet. Breakfast is always included, but we splurged tonight and got the buffet. I think it was $14.00!!! Every evening, there are three musicians playing classical ragas. We sat for a long time, enjoying the evening, the food and the music.