Flying Air Asia is an experience. Not altogether bad but definitely not great.
The Sari 5 met at Roma St station at 2.45 for a 3pm train to the Good Coast. We got into Varsity lakes around 4.20 then a bus to the airport via the sights of Currumbin.
We passed the time till our 8.40 flight having coffee and trying to check in. We all had trouble getting the Indian visa sorted but did it! We had the correct paperwork but airline staff still took ages to check each one online. Not easy! Doesn’t India want visitors!
Our flight left on time and the no frills carrier took us off to Kuala Lumpur. I sat with Linda and the others managed to get a vacant seat next to them. Sleep 💤 was not a feature of the flight for me!
We arrived in KL at 3am ( body clock time 5am Brisbane) we hung about the unexceptional KL airport and met up with Di from Sydney to make us six.
The next flight was crowded and we were all spread out around the plane. I had a lovely lady ‘VJ’ from KL next to me. She was of Tamil heritage and was going on holidays with various members of her family to Tamil Nadu – visiting some of the places we’ll be visiting. We chatted away about her life in Malaysia and our expectations of India.
Finally India! Chennai, our first stop assaulted the senses. Our driver was there to meet us and take us down to Mahabalipuram. First stop was the Western union money changer. We brought Australian dollars and changed them into Rupees. $1 is worth about 50 rupee.
Next stop the supermarket. Who doesn’t like a supermarket in a foreign country. We walked the aisles stocking up on water and mozzie spray and couldn’t resist the sandlewood soap and a big bunch of bananas.
First impression of India. Noisey, first, colourful, funny signs!
We are in Tamil Nadu in Southern India. The women in this area all wear Saris. They look like exotic birds floating down the street.
We didn’t see any women dressed in western clothes. We also haven’t seen any westerners. None on our flight here and none on the streets.
Our driver took us via the beach, the fish market, various temples and down colourful streets with shops of every description. Even saw an Uber eats bike making it way through the traffic.
We stopped at the Museum to take in the bronze sculptures. There is a technique for casting these sculptures, such merging we will explore further later.
The sculptures were al of Shive , one of the main Gods of Hinduism. Along Parvarti his wife along with all the manifestations.
Our hotel in Mahabalipuram an hour south of Chennai is set in a garden and is quite tranquil. The boys behind the front desk are lovely and helpful and thankfully carried our bags up the 3 flights of stairs.
By this time we were starving so headed straight out to the vegetarian restaurant at the hotel. It’s been a long while since a meal. Only snacks along the way so the meal was welcome. It included mushroom mutter, eggplant curry and vegetable biriyani. All washed down with fresh lime. No alcohol at this hotel.
A walk around the streets to the Krishna cave temple with its fabulous rock carvings and Indian Hindu men in their dhoti trying to sell carved rocks and pictures.
A small detour after dinner to a clothing shop where men sat in a line at sewing machines whipping up tunics and pants. We couldn’t not get one!
And so our first long day ends. More adventures tomorrow.