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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Tamil Nadu, India

Oct 26, 2013 - Tamil Nadu

I’m guessing that our tour started in Chennai because it was a big city with a big airport rather than being a tourist destination. After a meet and greet with all the new people who joined us for the southern India tour, we headed into town. Since we don’t know each other yet, much of the conversation is country dropping, rather like the name dropping that celebrities do. While we can hold our own in a crowd like this, lists of exotic countries are not interesting in an of themselves. Hopefully, in a few days there will be some interesting...

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Oct 25, 2013 - final thoughts

We came to Sri Lanka because we could - part of our “if you’re flying all that way you might as well see it all” philosophy. Looking at the map of our route, we have only scratched the surface. And now that we have scratched, we wish we were staying longer. Many Europeans come here for the fabulous beaches which are south of Colombo. We did not even see them. We would come back to safari in some of the national parks, where animals still abound. Sri Lanka has been off the tourist map for a long, long time - first for the lengthy war and...

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Oct 11, 2013 - 8 October - Mahabalipuran

We are now in another place with two names - Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram - very confusing! This coastal town was once a thriving seaport and second capital of the Pallava kings and the shore temples are a World Heritage Site. The town is also a tourist mecca and is described as the "Kingdom of Backpackistan". Only one of the 7th century shore temples is visible at the moment, though this was once part of a series of temples along the coastline which are now underwater. During the 2004 tsunami when the sea initially receded, the other...

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Oct 11, 2013 - 9 October - Chennai

We are now in Chennai, and what can I say about this place - we all agreed that we don't like it very much, there is very little to do and we can't wait to move on! This is the end of the 3rd leg of the trip and we say goodbye to eight of our travelling companions and welcome two new ones. There will be only eight of us for the next leg to Calcutta. Chennai, or Madras as it was once known, is a city of 6.6 million. It's very hot and humid and there is nothing much to see in the way of historic sights. We caught the train out to Fort St...

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Oct 7, 2013 - 6 October - Trichy

Madurai is one of the oldest cities in India, dating from 4th century BC. It was mainly famous as a trading centre but is now described as a city dominated by a medieval temple with an economy driven by IT. Once the Shree Meenakshi temple was constructed in the mid 1600's Madurai also became an important cultural centre of the Tamil people. The temple complex covers around 6 hectares enclosed by 12 gopurams which are carved with hundreds of figures depicting various gods and godesses. Legend has it that Meenakshi was born with three breasts...

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Oct 7, 2013 - 5 October - Madurai

After leaving Varkala we had a 10 hour drive to Madurai, stopping en route to visit Kanyakamuri (or Cape Cormorin), the southernmost tip of India. We had been warned that Kanyakamuri was the Blackpool of India, and for those of you who know England, that description was quite accurate, with lots of stalls selling tourist junk and fast food dotted along the seafront! But apart from that, there was something exciting about reaching the most southerly point where three oceans meet - the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal. There is a...

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Aug 5, 2012 - :)

Oh….and I went to the dentist last week Friday. Basically we have a team of Italian doctors and dentists who are here with the organisation Missione Calcutta. They have worked with Shanti Bhavan for many years and come every year to give all the children and all the staff check-ups and necessary treatment…. for free! They come with lots of donated funds and take care of the children’s teeth and health. My teeth were fine, but many children have had some of their teeth pulled or cavities filled, etc. They are so cute and funny when they come...

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Aug 5, 2012 - August already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hello everyone! It’s August already, can you believe it! I sure can’t. Time has flown by so quickly. 22 days and mom, Steffy and Suganthi are coming to pick me up at Shanti Bhavan…. Can’t wait for them to see the campus. And the kids can’t wait to meet Suganthi! They are fascinated by the fact that she’s also Indian, and from the same district…Tamil Nadu. But more excitingly I’ve still got three very exciting weeks ahead of me. Mary Mitchell Campbell and Summer just arrived on campus, two very important and fun artistic people. Mary...

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Jul 24, 2012 - Birthday in India and Weekend at Shanti Bhavan

Hey everyone, This is going to be a short one. Basically it was my birthday this week and I got to wear a Saree for the first time. I'd bought one when we went to Bangalore. Just because there was a sale and I quite liked the look of this Saree. And I'm very glad i did! Now....I was told it isn't the most comfortable item of clothing to wear, but I must say it was ok. I did feel like it might slide down every hour or so....It didn't, but it's not a nice feeling to think that all day ;) I felt very pretty and loved it when the...

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Jul 5, 2012 - Schoolday!!

So, today is School day...The day Shanti Bhavan opened in 1997! The day started as usual, 6:25 on the Physical Training Field with the 4th-7th graders running one lap around the field, doing a few 10sec stretches and 10 jumping jacks, then the 4th and 5th grade girls joined myself and Austin (another Volunteer) for some early morning Dancing. Breakfast is from 7:30 to 8:30 and then classes start on the dot. For the first time this week I didn't have a first period to teach, so I went back to the teachers accommodation, which is located...

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Jun 26, 2012 - Chennai

I can highly recommend "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", best taken reclined in your BA Club seat en route to India. This is was always going to be a strange trip, used to spending multiples of 3 months travelling round the country on a budget, this was a 4 day working trip on expenses in quality hotels and driven everywhere. Still, it doesn't matter what airline and which class of service, it's always an exciting chaos that greats you at any Indian airport. Long queue for immigration but smiles at the desk, an hour to get priority bags to...

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Mar 6, 2012 - Chennai (Madras)

Up at 5.30am ready for arrival at Chennai. We were a bit late but this seems to be the norm. We were to be met here by Sanjay, the nephew of Roger's friend, Laxmi, an Indian lady living in Lowestoft. Thankfully he recognised us by our cowboy hats and we were taken back to his mother's house where we are spending the night. His mother, Jaya, met us at the gate of there house, as did their three dogs who greeted us as long lost friends. Jaya had organised a car and driver to take us to a couple of local places of interest so after a shower...

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