My Indian Dream

I know I have come to India too late. But if I had come back in the 70’s I dont know if I could have survived the flith and poverty. There is still alot of both but now we have Indian shop keepers lined up on the streets, insistent,annoying and agressively demanding you come into their shop.. And of course, everyone sells more or less the same. I landed in Chennai on Wednesday,deciding not to try the public bus system yet, I grabbed a taxi down to Mamallapuram, two hours south of the airport on the coast at a cost of $19 and great comfort. For decent accomodations, I need to spend1000 rupees($22). To find a great beach and some luxury, I taxi out of town to the Ideal resort, dine in their upscale restaurant and use their facilities. They always assumed I was a guest there. Being caucasian,confident and fearless in the third world has gotten me into five star hotel bathrooms,restuarants and swimming pools. A day at the resort and then $1 rickshaw back to town.
The town of Mamallapuram reminded me of my beachside escapades in Greece in the mid seventies. After Bangladesh whose slogan for tourism was ” Visit Bangladesh before the tourists do” India had been a destination since the sixties. A typical tourist village full of small thrown together cafes, tourist shops with hand made silk clothes and silver jewelry and lots of European travelers. I met a great group of fascinating Germans. Frank and Suzanna are doing a three year travel around the world. They have driven across Russia to Mongola, down into Kazastan, Iran, China,and India in a vehicle that looks like an army tank turned into a mobil home. Frank is a plumber, welder,mechanic and designer. He has contracted from people he met on the road to build them unique mobile homes at a the cost of $20,000 euros. Marlena is an investor like me in the stock market. She spends at least 2 hours a day on the computer. Pascale is another interesting character. She grew up in France, went to art school in Italy, lived in Germany,now lives in the Tuscan countryside, and is fluent in all three languages. Jorg and Meike from Berlin were the couple that I bonded with the most and hoped to keep in touch with.
Tomorrow I am leaving for Pondicherry,a French settlement which began in the 1600’s, changed hands between the French and the Brits until finally in 1814 it bacame a French colony until India independence in 1954.. Ah yes, I have recovered my tan, sunning and swimming the last five days.

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