Wednesday, 16 July 2008


I was glad to get off the bus after a long and amazingly bumpy 10 hour ride. The next several minutes were spent tying to get some feeling back into my arse…I failed!

The bus station was a 10 minute rickshaw ride from the centre of town and I was able to find a room (overpriced) at the second hotel I went into. The centre of this town is the large Ramanathaswamy temple, its one of the more sacred temples in southern India. The small town of Rameswaram itself is dirty, dusty, smelly and rubbish strewn and I didn’t like it!

The following morning, after leaving my laundry at reception, I decided to head 1st to the train station to see what trains went where and when. I never made it; instead I ended up on the road out of town that led along the island to the peninsula. It was only about 18kms away so I decided to go for a walk!

About 5km into the walk the island basically became one big sand bar. In the middle, only a couple of metres above sea level was the single track road with small pockets of pine groves either side interspaced with scrub. To my right the waves were crashing on the nearby shore and on my left was a huge expanse of virtually flat sand disappearing into the distance. I could just make out the sea through the heat haze. Walking along the flat straight road reminded me of triking in Italy last august. The road was straight, the sun was hot and there wasn’t much shade….brilliant!!!!

At the end of the road was a Navy observation post and a ramshackle collection of fisherman huts made from bamboo and woven palm leaves which I suppose technically made it a village. There was also a shop so I was able to rehydrate with a “cool” drink (here in India it seems to me that only the beer is cold).
On the beach the 4ft waves were tumbling onto the sloping sand and the Indians were playing their usual game of “who’s going to drown first”.
Walking to the opposing beach took you across a 1000 metres of flat sun baked sand. The heat haze and the blue sky made it difficult to guess where the ocean was. Finally making it to the sea the difference was extreme. Here the waves, 4 inches in height, gently lapped against the shore line and the sea was mill pond flat.

Sitting down and relaxing I watched the fishermen at work. Rowing their boat out from the shore in a big arc deploying the net as they went. At predetermined points a man would jump off the boat and into the shoulder deep waters, holding onto the net. Once the boat had reached the shore a few hundred metres further down they started to slowly pull in the net from both ends.

Walking back to the village across the flat and featureless sand I was, for 10 minutes, dive bombed by a pair of birds. Just like WW1 fighter aces they came at me from out of the sun.

Jumping out of the richshaw back in the dirty, smelly, shitty little town of Rameswaram (do you get the feeling that I don’t like this place?) I decided that I would leave the next day. Walking past the temple entrance all I could say to myself was “Not Another F**king Temple” and continued to my hotel room.

Down at reception the next morning the following conversation took place.

Me: hello, can I have my laundry please
The idiot: what laundry?
Me: the laundry I gave you yesterday morning
The idiot: just one minute please…………
The idiot: here you are sir, sorry but it’s not clean
Me: what!
The idiot: we forgot to do it
Me: you’re useless

I went straight to the train station.

The train to Madurai left at 17:30 and as Madurai is a big town (probably dirty, dusty and smelly as well) with a big temple in it I thought N.A.F.T. The train to Tiruchirappalli left at 13:55 and as I just wanted to leave asap I got a ticket for that one.

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