Tuesday, 19 January 2016
19.01.2016 - 19.01.2016
Weather conditions this morning were pretty much a repeat of the past few days, grey sky and no perceivable horizon as we worked our way into the port. The city was previously more commonly call Madras and has a population of over 8 million people.
Our Shore Excursion today was a coach trip to the monuments at Mahabalipuram. These monuments date to the seventh century and are massive structures carved from the local granite. There were three separate sites, the Shore Temple constructed from separate carved blocks, the 'Five Rathas' each carved from a singe monolith and the massive Arjuna's Penance a bass relief carved across 88 feet of hillside.
Interesting as these monuments are, the real highlight is the almost two hours each way in the coach. The traffic is unimaginable and resembles a real life game of dodgem cars played out by vehicles ranging from scooters, tuk tuks, local buses of all sizes, luxury coaches and overloaded dump trucks. The speed was somewhat restricted due to extensive roadworks and the real game was played on the 'diversions' where there were just two lanes of normal traffic frequently occupied by three or four vehicle abreast.
The other attraction was the local ladies in their spectacular saris and the delightful young girls who took a fancy to me after I took some photos of them. At one point they were all lined up for a group photo, I stole a snap of the group but didn't go unnoticed. When they broke up they were all smiles and happy faces.
The overall air of the place is overcrowded, untidy and squalid. The worst was the fisherman's village. A collection of shanties along the beach built from salvaged timber and plastic sheets. Their original dwellings were wiped away by the tsunami that inflicted so much devastation to this low lying region. There is promised new accommodation but progress has been slow at best. Many of the fishermen and their families were relocated to other parts of the city after the catastrophe but over time they've drifted back to the beach and their traditional means of livelihood.
Despite the chaotic traffic we were back at the ship's side within an hour of the scheduled time. No small thanks to the ability of the driver of our coach. A memorable day of eye-opening experiences.
Back on board for a delicious meal in the dining room after which we retired to the cabin as we were both missing our afternoon nap.
I've used the image of those lovely ladies and young girls for today's offering, if you have time you can view it by following this link to the image for Today
Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony