The trip to India this year is going to start on Saturday 29th September 2001. There are three of us going this year, my mother, my father and of course me. We will be out there for two and a half weeks. We fly back on Wednesday 17th October 2001.
We will be visiting two areas again this year, Chennai again, and a couple of places in the state of Kerala. Unlike last year we intend to spend a week in Chennai, staying with some people that we met last year. One of the main things I shall be doing is visiting the local reptile parks and zoos (which I missed out on last year). Then we are getting an overnight train to a town near Trivandrum in Kerala where we will be staying with a family that contacted my dad, we will probably be there for a couple of days after which we will do some site seeing and lots of sunbathing. I have seen pictures of the beaches on the west coast and they are beautiful, with golden sands and crystal clear water. When this page is finished on my return I should have some photos of it myself. Next it is another overnight train back to Chennai for the last couple of days before our flight back home on the Wednesday morning.
According to books have read, Kerala is a beautiful state with lots of forests and jungles, hopefully I should get to see some wild animals like snakes and lizards. We shall all be looking out for some elephants that we can have a ride on.
We have been receiving donations of money and items to take out there. The main thing that my dad is going out there for is to help with a group called "Voice to the deaf". They are a group that teaches and help deaf people. There is also a family that teaches in their house.
We have been given books, pens, pencils and toys to give to the children out there. The other group we are visiting, in Kerala, is "SEEDS India". They have set up the only deaf church in India, they also do charity work for the disabled.
Saturday 18th August 2001
Six weeks to go till takeoff. We have got just about everything we need to take now, loads of loo roll, anti-malaria tablets and plenty of Imodium plus. I confirmed that the tickets were still okay they should be arriving by post 14 days before we travel. The temperatures out there at the moment are, Chennai 26C min 37C max and Trivandrum 25C min 28C max.
Monday 20th August 2001
Money donations are coming in faster now. We had a call today from someone who has promised £150. These donations will help a lot, we can provide help to the three groups that we are visiting (well my dad will be most of the visiting while I do the sight seeing.
Saturday 1st September 2001
We can finally say, "We are going this month". The last few weeks have gone really fast, it is hard to believe that this time in four weeks time, we will be sat in a 747 on the way to Chennai Int (Madras).
Saturday 29th September 2001
We were up till 2.30am this morning packing. We didn't start packing until 10pm last night.
We were all up at 7am this morning. John (a friend of my mum & dad) came at 7.45am to take us to Heathrow. We arrived at the airport by 9am for our flight that was due to leave at 2.35 in the afternoon.
I went and had a word with BA's customer service to see if I could reserve some seats with lots of legroom. They were very helpful and put a note on the system to allocate us exit row seats, even before the check-in had opened.
I had another word with the customer service to see what desks the check-in would be at. The lady told me that it should be at desks 10-24. We took our chances and queued up even before it was announced on the monitors. By the time it was announced, we had got down to the last part of the queue.
We started our check-in and ran into a problem straight away. Your baggage allowance is one piece for the hold to a maximum of 23kg, and one piece as carry on to a maximum of 6kg. All of our suitcases weighed 25kg each, but she didn't charge us the extra carriage. All of our carry on baggage was over double the allowed weight, so I took out my rucksack, with all of my camera gear, to take it on separately. So the clerk said she would let me check the rest of my holdall into the hold.
My mums bag was the heaviest so we had to check that into the hold. The check-in girl was very helpful, but she said that if we had any more checked in, we would have to be charged for it.
So we got to my dad's bag. His wasn't as heavy as my mum's one, but it was too heavy to take on as carry on baggage. She told us that we would have to be charged for the extra check-in baggage. We said we would throw some of it away. So we took out all of the water and cheese and weighed it again. It was still overweight, but she said it could be carried on.
So we had checked-in by 11.45 and started our way to the departure lounge, putting everything we took out of my dad's bag back in it.
At around 1.15pm it was announced that our flight would be boarding from gate 4. When we got there, there were about 40 people in front of us. At around 2pm there was an announcement that due to the plane being late in, there would be a 20-minute delay while it was cleaned. While we were waiting to board, one of the boarding crew walked up the queue checking the weight of all the carry on baggage. When he got to us he checked my dad's bag and said it was to heavy to go in the cabin. He said he would put it in the hold for free. We eventually got onboard at around 2.40. When everybody was seated, the captain announced that due to the delay we had missed our flight slot, and we had to wait for another slot. We finally took off at 4.20pm, nearly 2 hours late.
Sunday 30th September 2001
We arrived at Chennai at around 6am local time, only an hour late. Arrival procedure was nice and easy. Mum went to the immigration desk with the wrong passport; she went with my dad's.
The security post was straightforward, no searches at all. The baggage collection took some time, as we were the first to check in, our baggage was one of the last ones out. Customs was as easy as the security post, straight through again.
My dad and myself were quite surprised when we left the airport, last year when you walked outside you were greeted by hundreds of beggars. This year they have installed a fenced off walkway, so you do not get people grabbing you to try and get money.
Sunny and Simon met us as we left the terminal. Things so far are going a lot better than last year.
After we checked into the hotel, we went downstairs to have some breakfast. My mum just had coffee and my dad just had cornflakes. I on the other hand went for a traditional Indian breakfast, I had a couple of different bready type things with some potato with onions and spices, and it was lovely.
10am Simon picked us all up from the hotel to take us to a performance the deaf group had arranged. It was very good, but we nearly fell asleep a few times as we hadn't slept for over 30 hours.
We went back to the hotel and had a sandwich, after which we decided to go for a walk to keep us as long as possible, so that when we sleep tonight we should wake up with our body clocks adjusted.
I am just going to bed now, it is now quarter past midnight which is 7.45pm BST and I have been up since 6.45 yesterday morning.
Monday 1st October 2001
It is the first full day here
What a morning! We decided to go out shopping for small gifts, every shop we went to put on a half hour show trying to sell us carpets. They were all very nice silk carpets, but they cost around £2-3,000 for a 6"x9" one.
After 4 hours we decided to go back to the hotel. We stayed in our rooms for a while to have a rest. Then at 5 o'clock Simon came to pick us up for dinner at his house. We met a very sweet little girl called Clare. She is four years old and very bright and funny.
After dinner we went and had a look at the web site they are designing. It looks very good and will soon be online at "www.activedeaf.com".
Tuesday 2nd October 2001
I started the morning with a swim at around 9am. I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at the pool, there was somebody cleaning the pool's interior floor & walls and skimming the water surface. Then at 10.15 we all went downstairs for a traditional Indian breakfast, after which we hired a taxi to take us shopping. We went to a to a busy shopping bazaar, my mother was looking to buy a saree and some steel pots. The bazaar is a very busy place, with lots of beggars hassling you all of the time. In the end we managed to buy 4 sarees, 2 pairs of sandals, 2 Indian suit tops and lots of stainless steel pots.
After shopping we came back to the hotel, after a very short rest we decided to cool down in the hotel's swimming pool.
At around 4.15pm Sunny & Simon came to the hotel for tea and a chat. Then at 5.40pm they took us all to Darryl & Sarah's house for our evening meal. After we arrived we chatted for a while, we talked about last year when we met them, and then sat down for dinner. One of deaf men that they work with cooked the meal, it was delicious, and we had noodles with vegetables mixed in it and beef to go with it.
After the meal we chatted a bit more, then Darryl took us back to the hotel. After a quick drink in the restaurant we went to bed.
Wednesday 3rd October 2001
Today started with the Indian breakfast I have come to like quite a lot. At around 10.30am we hired a taxi and went to the snake park that I missed out on last year. I was pleasantly surprised at how big it was, it wasn't huge but it was very good. There were a couple of animals I hadn't seen before; one of them was a crocodile with a long thin mouth. Another unusual animal I saw was a tortoise that was huge, it must have stood about 4-5 feet high. After buying a few reptile postcards, books and posters we all set off to go to the "Victoria Technical Institute" which is a large store that sells handicrafts and various other gifts. They are very good in the shop; the prices are some of the best I have seen. Next we went along the road a few yards to a very large shopping mall, in there my dad and myself bought an Indian suit each. It has been quite hard finding suits to fit us both, but these fit nicely. We were going to go to a temple that we saw on the way to the snake park, it turns out that it closes between 2-4pm for lunch, so we decided to head back to the hotel. After a short rest the three of us went for a swim for around 45 mins.
After dinner we decided to try out the hotel's bar, the only beer they sell is "Kingfisher", which is the same as you get in Indian restaurant in England. Tomorrow we should be going to a hospital for the intellectually challenged.
Thursday 4th October 2001
We had an early start today; we were up at 7am and at breakfast by 7.20. Sarah came to pick us up at 7.30, but we hadn't had our breakfast. After breakfast we all went to the "Home for the mentally retarded". The home looks after 25 mentally handicapped, they do a very good job. One child was brought in a month ago, he was found on the beach begging by the police. They couldn't find where he lived, so they took him to the home. The patients aren't locked up like most people believe; they are looked after and get to do various activities all the time. Anyway, the reason the group was there today was to give a small breakfast party. It was a businessman's birthday, so he paid for the patients to have a party with him. Sarah's group was a couple of balloon modelling clowns, one of which was one of Sarah's daughters. Everyone enjoyed themselves. Sarah then took us to Sunny & Simon's house, they said that they would take us out for the day, so we sat and chatted for a while before we all went out.
The trip started out with us all going to the beach and having a picnic, unfortunately it started to rain, so we stopped of at a campsite and used a shelter to have our sandwiches. When we had finished we set of for a temple that is close to the beach. It was still raining on the way, but as we parked near some shops we wanted to visit it stopped raining. So we did a little shopping, I found some snakes carved out of the local stone by the local craftsmen, then we had a quick look at the temple It was amazing, it is huge, and it was all carved out of one piece of rock the size of a multi-storey car park. It started to rain again so we decided that as it was 3pm, we started to head back to Chennai. On the way back we came across the crocodile park, so that was a must to visit. We spent about an hour looking around the park. It was very good. There are no fences or concrete enclosures; it is all natural habitat with small walls around the enclosures just to stop then getting out. When we finally finished there we headed back to the hotel.
Friday 5th October 2001
I didn't go for the full Indian breakfast this morning, instead I had an omelette with a little spicy sauce, and some marmalade & toast. At 10.30am we hired a taxi for 4 hours to take us site seeing. First we visited a temple that we saw on Wednesday. As with most places I have come across in India, just about everyone you meet wants some money. First there was a woman that was taking everyone's shoes (you cannot wear shoes in the temples) I put my shoes in my rucksack, she wasn't too happy about it, so I avoided paying her. Next there were the general beggars, then a couple of people giving us flowers to pot around our necks, I gave them a few rupees each, they wanted more but I stood my ground and carried on inside. Then it was the turn of the camera fee man, he wanted money from me so that I could use my camera, I refused to pay I informed him that I would not take any photographs. The next person who wanted money was a woman in one of the little grottos, she wanted RS300 but settled for RS150. After we had walked around the temple we decided to leave, then the flower woman decide to try unsuccessfully to get more money. When my mum & dad went to get their shoes, the woman wanted more money to get them back. I am not a cheapskate, I don't mind paying money out, but if you gave money to all of the people that wanted it, your money would soon run out.
Next we all went on to a cathedral that my dad wanted to see, it was quite big and looked like a cathedral, nothing special. Then it was supposed to be onto Fort St George, but we ended up at some church; it was nice as churches go. The taxi driver asked where we wanted to go next, so we flicked through a tourist guide to see where we wanted to go. The unanimous decision was to go to the planetarium. We paid our money (only RS60) then found out that all that was open was the science exhibition. It was bad, over half of the exhibits didn't work and the ones that did work was so old that they wouldn't be working for long, but the taxi driver enjoyed it. After that we decided to go back to the hotel after popping to the supermarket.
We stayed in and chatted for a while before my dad had to go out for a meeting. So my mum and I decided to pop back to the supermarket to get a few things that we had forgotten. When we got back we decided to go for a swim, so we went and got changed and headed for the pool. We noticed it had started to rain, but we thought we would have a swim anyway. By the time that we got to the pool, it was raining very heavily and it had started to thunder, so we gave up that idea and chatted till it was time for bed. It is still raining now.
Tomorrow we head down to Trivandrum, Kerala.
Saturday 6th October 2001
My dad has had a problem with his left ear for the past couple of days, so on the way downstairs for breakfast he called for the doctor. We had just had breakfast and the doctor turned up. My dad has an infection in his ear, the doctor wrote out a prescription for a lot of tablets and some eardrops. The doctor charged RS200 for the consultation (£3.00) and all the medication cost RS120, so there is not much point in claiming on our travel insurance.
We spent the rest of the morning starting our packing for Kerala. We had finished packing at around 3.30pm and the taxi taking us to the station was picking us up at 5pm for a 7pm departure. At around 4.30 I had a sudden thought that I hadn't seen the airplane tickets for a few days since we had them confirmed. We all searched for them but with no success. I am hoping that they are in a suitcase, but we cannot check until we return to Chennai. I shall contact British Airways and the British Embassy whilst in Kerala to see what we would have to do if we couldn't find them.
Sunday 7th October 2001
We arrived in Chengannur, Kerala at around 9am. Thomas Mathew picked us up from the train station and took us to his house in Punnakadu, a small village 15km from the train station. My first impression of Kerala just from the trip back to the house is that it is absolutely beautiful; palm trees line the roads and everywhere else that you look.
After lunch Thomas took us to an elephant park about half an hour away. It is a government run place that rescues orphaned baby elephants from the forests and tame and train them. We got to stroke them, and we were offered to have a ride on one, as we were not appropriately dressed we declined, we will be going back later in the week for a ride.
"As I write this the USA has begun military strikes on Afghanistan as a result of the attack & destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Centre on September 11th."
After the visit to the elephant park, we returned to Thomas' house for our evening meal. We had rice with chicken curry, fried chicken pieces and chapattis. It was very nice.
Monday 8th October 2001
We were up relatively early this morning. We all were up at 7.30am, we got showed and dressed and down for breakfast for 8am. There were rice pancakes, honey, chapattis and Samba (a spicy sauce). After breakfast my mum, my dad and myself took a taxi to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. It is 120km away, in the district of Idukki, Kerala, but it is high in the mountains, it took three and a half hours to get there. Along the way up the mountains you get to see some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. All up the side of the mountains are tea plantations, everywhere you look there are tea bushes. Alongside the tea bushes are tall trees that give the needed shade for the tea.
Some people call Kerala "God's own land" and I can understand why. We stopped off at a waterfall on the way for a few minutes; I got some nice photos and film of it.
We arrived at the park at around 12.15pm then we went and booked our boat tour. The boat wasn't leaving until 2pm, so we thought we would have a snack. As we returned to the taxi to get some crisps we had left in it, we looked up into the trees and saw a monkey with our packet of crisps. A bit disappointed we went and had a sit down on a wall, my mum remembered she had some Bombay Mix in her bag, so she took it out and started to open it. She didn't have enough time to open the bag when another monkey stole the bag of Bombay Mix out of her hand. As the snack bar didn't open till 2pm, we decided to go and wait for the boat.
The 2-hour boat trip started and within 10 minutes we saw some wild buffalo and deer grazing. After another 10 minutes we saw some wild elephants that was it until we turned around and went back the way we came and saw the same elephants, buffalo and deer. It was very good though. I would go back again. When I got off the boat I saw two women that I had sat next to on the airplane, we stopped and had a quick chat. They arrived in Chennai, then for the next week they have been touring around South India. They fly home from Chennai on Sunday 14th, the day we get our train to go back to Chennai.
Our four and a half hour trip back to Thomas Mathew's house came to a sudden stop, when we came across a parade going through the nearby town, we had to wait for half an hour while the parade passed and the traffic got back to normal. I don't know what the parade was for but one of the floats had some people dress head to toe in black with signs around their necks saying "Pollution". Two other floats had different towers on them with airplanes stuck out of the sides. Other floats included people being tied up together and others had people who looked like they had been beaten to death.
After we got back to Thomas' house at around 8.30pm, we had dinner and went to bed.
I telephoned British Airways in Chennai today about our possible missing airplane tickets; they are starting sorting it out with our travel agent. I have got to go into there office when we get back to Chennai on Monday 15th. I shall call them in the week to make sure it is being sorted out.
Tuesday 9th October 2001
It was a very hot night last night; I kept on waking up every couple of hours sweating. After breakfast this morning we went and visited SEEDS-INDIA. It is the organisation that Thomas Mathew runs. He takes in orphans and teaches them until 6 years old, which is when the start school, and he will house and look after them until they are 18 years old. At SEEDS they also cook a meal for 100-150 people at the local hospital every day. They also make school uniforms for 100 children from poor families every year so that they can go to school. Another thing they do, is make hand painted leaves that they put into cards and sell them worldwide. They do a lot more than I have written here, to find out more email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I shall get you some more information.
After a short rest this afternoon (and a well needed nap) we went to see what some of the deaf people, whom Thomas works with, have accomplished. Three men have a shop that makes number plates for vehicles on the road; there are not many shops that do this so they get good business. They also paint roadside billboards.
Another success is a young woman, who was trained at SEEDS, has her own job as a dressmaker. It is good to see deaf people working for themselves and doing it successfully.
It was nice going out for a walk this morning; it is so peaceful in this village so you do not need to worry about traffic or beggars.
We had a look around Thomas' garden today; he grows lots of things that he and his family use. They grow bananas, cocoa beans, coffee beans and lots of spices. The coffee is sun dried, roasted and ground all at the house.
Apparently there are no state ambulances in Kerala; I don't know if it is the same for the rest of India, the only ambulances are privately owned ones from some local hospitals. Most people use taxis or private cars to take them to hospital. You can tell lf a car has got an injured or sick person in the car by the way they beep their horn. Normally people just beep their horn a few times to let others know they are there, but a car being used as an ambulance will sound his horn with constant long beeping. I saw a car today that was being used as an ambulance; the patient's feet were hanging out of one of the rear windows.
Wednesday 10th October 2001
This morning we got taxi, the same one as we had on Monday, and we visited an old Christian church. Apparently the church is over 1,600 years old. It is no longer used as a church, and it doesn't look that old. It has got some beautiful decorations on the old doors. When we finished at the church we went back to Thomas's house.
We have had lunch and have just sat down to watch a film; about half way through there was a power cut. This is the second power cut since we have been in Kerala, which isn't bad going. When we were in Chennai we had about 4 power cuts, they only last 5-20 minutes.
This afternoon we visited a few places. First we had been invited to go and see a house of one of the women that we met at SEEDS yesterday. We ended up seeing about 6 or 7 houses and meeting countless children. The houses are very small, about the size of a bedroom, but the families are very happy and they are proud of them. Some of the houses had electricity, but not many.
Everyone that we met was very friendly. The women were very keen to show of their houses and have photos taken of them with their houses and us. All the children that we met tried very hard to use the English they have been learning.
Afterwards we visited the local hospital where SEEDS takes food to feed people there. The sick or their families came with pots, then a couple of the SEEDS team dished up some meat and rice. After we had finished at the hospital we went on to visit the SEEDS centre again. Some of the children sang to us, and halfway through the power went off. The power stayed off for just over 30 minutes but the children carried on regardless, they seemed to enjoy themselves.
Kerala seems to be a more relaxed part of the country; everyone seems to be friendlier than other parts of India that I have visited. On the whole India is a friendly country, it is far better than most of England that I have seen. In India if you ask a stranger a question the chances are that you will get an answer rather than abuse that a lot of our countries youth would give.
If I could afford to give up work, if I had no debts and I had some money in the bank, I would consider moving to India. And if I did, it would more than likely be somewhere in Kerala that I would move to.
Tomorrow we are going on a 2-day journey to the south tip of India, and back again.
Thursday 11th October 2001
We set of on our two-day trip after breakfast this morning. The taxi came to pick us up at around 9am, and we left shortly after. Unfortunately there is not a lot to write about today. The journey to the southern most tip of India is about 240kms from Thomas Mathew's house, and it took 6 hours driving. Half way into the trip we stopped of at Kovolam beach for 1 hour. I didn't have time for a swim, so I settled for a walk in the sea. There were a few people on the beach, but not many. The seawater was very clear, definitely cleaner than any I have seen in the U.K.
We continued our trip for another 3 hours until we got to our destination. I checked us all into our hotel, including the taxi driver. It was very nice; the rooms look east over the ocean so that we can see the sunrise in the morning.
After we were settled the driver took us to "Sunset Beach". As you would imagine with a name like that, you get to see the Sun set into the ocean. It was a lovely clear night, and then just as the sun was about to set all the clouds in India turned up and blocked our view. I hope we get better luck with the Sunrise in the morning.
One thing I did notice on the trip down is that all the towns we drove through looked the same. And my mum swears she saw a woman giving birth at the side of the road.
Friday 12th October 2001
Today the hotel porter woke us up at 5.30am so that we could watch the Sunrise. There were no clouds this morning, so we managed to see the Sunrise in its full glory.
We had breakfast at the hotel at 7am. I had asked for a vegetable omelette, when it arrived I couldn't eat it, as the egg had not been fully cooked.
We left the hotel at 8am to go back to Thomas' house. Unfortunately there is not a lot I can write about the return journey, as I kept on falling asleep. We stopped off halfway for a coffee, and then it was back to the road and back to sleep.
We arrived back at the house at around 2.45pm, and Thomas told us that the electricity had been switched off at around 10am and would not be back on until around 4pm. The power came back on at 4.45pm for about 5 minutes then it switched off again until 5.10. Apparently engineers switched off the power so that they could cut back the trees that were tangled up in the cables.
Since our return, my dad's hands and feet have swollen up and he has got red blotches around his body. He decided he wanted to see a doctor as he couldn't move his hands and he was in pain. So Thomas took him & my mum to a local hospital. They were very good, it turns out that it is a reaction to diesel. While we have been driving around for 2 days with the windows open, diesel fumes have got in and my dad has had an allergic reaction. So the doctor gave him an anti-histamine injection and two sets of tablets. The whole thing, consultation and drugs cost him RS80 (£1.15). He seems to be getting better.
Saturday 13th October 2001
This morning we found a gigantic spider, well by British standards; it was sat on my mum & dad's bathroom door. The tried to catch it with a glass, but the couldn't get a glass big enough.
We then had breakfast at 8.30. At 10am there is a big meeting at SEEDS, which my dad is speaking at. They are stopping for lunch at 1pm, then there is something else planned afterwards in the same place. So it should be finished between 1pm-4pm, I have decided not to go; instead I shall do some reading.
Already today we have had 3 power cuts, and it is only 1.15pm. The longest one lasted for around 1 hour. I have spent the morning reading "H.G.Wells - The Time Machine" it is one of my favourite books; I shall start another book this afternoon.
It has been thundering most of the afternoon. We had some rain earlier, but now there are just occasional rumbles of thunder.
We have just been out to do a bit of shopping and I popped into an Internet cafe to send some emails. Afterwards we went to visit a church, there was a service on which will last until around 5am tomorrow.
We leave for Chennai tomorrow afternoon.
My mum and dad have been terrorised by a very large spider in their en-suite bathroom. I popped in to have a look at it. When I closed the door I accidentally squashed it in the door.
Sunday 14th October 2001
We had lots of power cuts last night, around 4 or 5. They lasted from 1 minute to 1 hour. There was lots of rain, which cooled the air down. I didn't have the fan on last night, as it was very pleasant. It is still raining now. Thomas doesn't think that it will stop today.
Our train leaves at 4.30pm today, and we should arrive in Chennai at around 7.30 Monday morning. So I am just about to start packing.
It is now noon, and it is still raining. I have finished packing, and I have just had a shower and have got changed ready for our long train journey.
We left for the train station at around 3.30pm; our train was due in at 4.17pm. It arrived at about 4.30.
Within an hour of being on the train we have had a mouse, or small rat, climb into one of our bags. We have got rid of it for now.
At around 10pm we all camped down for the night. I had the middle bunk, I had been thinking all afternoon how I was going to get up into bed. It turned out to be surprisingly easy.
The night was understandably uncomfortable, but it was more comfortable than last weeks journey.
Monday 15th October 2001
We arrived at Chennai Central at 8.30am. The journey took 16 hours.
Our taxi driver from the hotel was waiting for us on the platform. He said he had been waiting since 6am. I don't know why, we had told him that the train was due in at 7.30am.
After breakfast I went and searched my suitcase, JOY, I found our airplane tickets. So we can go home on Wednesday.
This afternoon we popped out to have a look at Spencer Plaza. It is a big shopping mall in Chennai. We had a quick look the first week that we were here. I had a look in a jeweller’s shop and found a snake pendant and a snake ring. I also picked up a chain for the pendant. They are all silver and cost me RS1150 (around £16), which I thought was quite a good deal. After shopping we went and had a look at Fort St George. It dates back to the 17th century. We had a look at St Mary's Church (photos 2, 3 & 4) and the museum. The museum is the only place I have found in India that you cannot take photographs.
We were going to have a look at St Thomas's Mount, but as it has been raining, and still is, we have been advised not to bother going.
As it has been raining heavily all day, we have not gone out anywhere this evening. I have been sorting out my luggage so that it is as light as possible.
Tomorrow is our last day in India. Most of the day will be spent packing. If it is a nice day tomorrow, we may pop down to the beach.
Tuesday 16th October 2001
Well, today is the last day. We fly out at 8.30am tomorrow.
I got woken up at 7.20am by a lad with my newspaper; normally they just put it under the door. I went back to sleep and got woken up again at 8.45am to go to have breakfast. After breakfast I was still tired, so I went back to bed at 9.20. I have just been woken up again, this time by housekeeping. He wanted to see if I wanted my bed made. I shall try and get another hours sleep, and then I will have to get up and pack my bags.
I finally got up at 11.20am. I packed most of my clothes into my suitcase, and then we popped down to the restaurant for a coffee.
Most of the day was spent watching films on TV and sleeping. Mum and Dad popped out for a walk for a while.
We had invited Sunny & Simon and Darryl & Sarah for lunch tonight. After they had all arrived we all went into the Peacock Restaurant at around 7pm. It was very nice, we had a nice chat and a nice meal. When we had finished we all said our goodbyes then went to bed.
Wednesday 17th October 2001
I woke up at 3am this morning. Our flight is due to take off at 8am but we need to be at the airport by 4.30am for check in. the taxis came to take us to the airport at 4am, even at that time in the morning people drive like lunatics. There were Lorries coming towards us on the wrong side of the road, it woke me up!
We had a bit of trouble checking in at Chennai, our bags were overweight (no surprise) but the check in clerk wouldn't let us take them on unless we paid the excess baggage. So my dad paid it (around £100).
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