February 29, 2016
29.02.2016 - 29.02.2016 38 °C
Don spent quite a bit of time trying to change our hotel reservation in Madurai. We decided we didn't want to spend so much time in the big city and more time up in the hills. It was quite frustrating for him and finally we went out to look around the area and try to make a phone call to Agoda, the travel company. We visited a nearby mall, which was six stories built around a fountain courtyard. Very nice fountain going from the ceiling to the bottom. The mall is open air and you don't get any air conditioning until you go into a store. The stores all seemed very over staffed to me. The mall was not busy and some of the shops had four or five people working or rather standing around waiting. We both got our hair cut - for 170 rupees - 3.50 CAD.
I thought it seemed so hot because we had been up in the hills and now we were back in the lowlands. But Don checked the weather and the temperature was 38!!!
We wandered on trying to find some way to make a phone call. The phone we got in Sri Lanka doesn't seem to work here - or else it's so expensive to use here that I've used up all my balance and don't know how to get more time on it. After asking in many different mobile stores, finally a young man on the street told us we needed to go to the train station to use a phone booth. So we got a tuk tuk and at the train station managed to successfully make the call.
We returned to our hotel and got our taxi to take us to Wadakkanchery. I had thought this would be a luxurious ride in comparison to the bus, but we were jammed with our luggage into a tiny little car about the size of a smart car! At least it had air conditioning. In 1/2 hour or so, we were at our hotel in Wadakkanchery.
After resting for awhile, letting the heat of the day cool down a little, we went out exploring. Don wanted to find a short-cut so we walked down a back lane, which dead-ended. A man spoke to us from his yard about where we wanted to go and he and his wife invited us into their house. We met his mother and their two sons. The eldest son, Francis, did a lot of the talking because he seemed to have the best English and could understand us. They gave us lemonade to drink and a little taste of some dahl for Don and papaya for me. Very friendly folk! The parents, whose names we did not get, are taking a tour to the USA in July. When we left, they sent the eldest son with us to make sure we made it back to the main road safely.
We had heard there was some program happening down at the temple in town. So away we go to see what's up. The main road thru town has a bamboo construction by the temple entrance. This is put up just for the festival. Amazing! It spans the road so vehicles pass under it.
We found a bunch of speech making men in the temple courtyard when we arrived so we moved on. There was some kind of exhibition going on, which we had to buy tickets for. After standing in line for the tickets, we went in and found the crowd was very controlled. You could only walk thru a tunnel with vendors booths on one side until you had walked around the perimeter of the grounds. It was packed with people - no question of stopping to look at anything - just get thru it and get out! Claustrophobics beware!
Finally, we ducked out under a side wall and ended up in the amusement park part. Rides for the kids with parent watching and of course a food booth. Watched them make sugar cane juice to sell.
Finally, we found a way out and went back past the temple again. Now there was a dance performance on, with kids doing their dance numbers. Cute, but not enough to persuade my stomach that it didn't need to eat!
So we hustled back to our hotel and tried out the hotel restaurant - not very good, but at least close to bed!