Buffalo in Benares
Part 12

For more pics of our latest journey
to INDIA, click on the Image!

India is not as it's rumored merely a country full of beggars, for nowhere else in the world have we seen so many hard working people doing virtually anything from collecting pieces of rags from the streets to peasants toiling all day in their paddy fields and salesmen of all kinds stepping all over you trying to earn that extra, little Rupee in any way they can.

Here are some Indian tourists or pilgrims in the nar- row alley leading to the staircases which take you up to the Rock fort temple.

Inside the catholic Lourdes church in the city center. This was certainly the place to go for peace and tranquility, a haven away from all the  surrounding noise and traffic.

Could this be near a camel fare in Pushkar or some other arid area of Rajastan? Well in fact this happens to be the worlds second largest beach, namely the Marina beach and is situated on the coast line just near by the city center of Chennai.

The ocean breakers come crashing in with full force from the turbulent waters of the bay of Bengal, with the now active north- east monsoon blowing on the sore.

Here is fried Tandoori fish and various kinds of sea food piled up beneath the bright lights of stalls lining the mighty Marina beach.

Maybe this little piggy didn't have a valid train ticket and had to walk all  the way back to Chennai! Somewhere along the way we also caught sight of monkeys drinking water from taps and gathering in great mobs all over a secluded railway station out in the midst of nowhere.

Before arriving at the grand terminus of Mumbai (Bombay) we were met by a large number of local trains running in and out from the center to suburbs and satellite cities. Safety regulations of how many passengers should be permitted on board do not seem to exist in this part of the world as many of them were hanging half way out as you can see here!

In front of Taj Mahal
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On the streets of Trichy in Tamil nadu the traffic situation can become almost intolerable. It's an art of survival each traveler must develop to pull through unscathed on those thronged urban streets and back alleys. And yet, the ease with which the Indians move along their routes, either it's locals or national tourists, is just unbelievable and goes to show how essential it is to have a relaxed mind in this type of environment. However, it also implies that the only one thing you can do to get by is to try and fully rely on those "crazies" behind the wheel, that they will give you a signal whenever their is a risk of you being run over! Which I guess is basically the reason why there is a constant, ear deafening din of blasting horns (sometimes loud enough to shatter your brain) and all kinds of audible devices with the purpose of clearing  whatever obstacles there are out of the way. 

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Carina paid notice to these carefully piled up pyramids of fruit in a  stand near the bus station on the southern side of Trichy.

Proudly showing off their school uniforms with ties, shirts and em- blems before the camera, these young male pupils were quick to attract our attention.

Once again we're on the road (or rail) and as usual traveling by second class sleeper, this time from Trichy to the major Tamil capital of Chennai, for- merly known as Madras.

The silhouette of a young boy who being well aware of his incapacity to stay afloat in those turbid, wild waters, is challe- nging the entire Bay of Bengal by chasing up and down the sand bank just where land meets sea.

Beach merchandise of all sorts and vendors selling fried fish and food is common place out here by the ocean.

It took us 36 hours non stop to get from Chennai to our final return destination of Bombay. In parts of this journey there were virtual cues of hawkers competing with one another to sell their items while shouting on top of their voices and carrying their heavy loads without ever appearing to get tired. Occasionaly there would also be beggars, some of them sweeping the floor around our feet and underneath the seats with dirty rags while collecting rubbish and refuse by simply dragging it out - dust and filth and all - with their unprotected arms. On one occasion a blind man shuffled slowly from one apartment to the other singing with a sad and high pitched voice.

    To hear the blind minstrel sing, click on the NOTES!

When it had become very late after one days travel and I finally got the vegetarian meal I had ordered, I was confronted with a rat running back and forth next to my feet. Not exactly like having a splurge at Hilton but then again, it hardly cost anything, as usual! However, what we experienced after they had turned out the lights was a bit more distressing, because when the train had made it further up on to the Deccan plateau it became extremely chilly as cold night air seeped in through the fractured windows causing a terrible draught. After an hour or so Carina was shaking like a leaf down in the lowest compartment, since she had neither socks on her feet, nor any warm gar- ments to protect herself with. So after we had swapped berths I dug out spare T-shirts, towels and jumpers from out of my bag (which I had intended to use as a pillow) and gave to her till she had more layers on her than an onion!