01.02.2014 - 20.02.2014
I am sure I will add more to this as the days go by and I sit and day dream about our trip to southern India, but here are some thoughts so far.
South India is totally different from the north.
Not as many animals on the road. In fact, hardly any at all. I can remember being gob smacked at the animals competing with the traffic in New Delhi, elephants, camels, donkeys etc, and in southern India, I only saw two elephants - one at the Meenakshi Temple in Madurai and one at the Spice Farm in Goa.
Not as much rubbish lying around, in fact, hardly any at all. Chennai was probably the worst and even that wasn't too bad.
We found it very hard to understand the language. I think it was because they spoke so quickly.
The power keeps going off, but thankfully only stays off for a couple of minutes.
Education is very important in the south and in Goa it is compulsory for children to attend school from the age of 5 to 16.
The traffic is a lot more orderly and they seem to obey the road rules, whatever they are!
There is a lot of head wobbling in the south and hardly any in the north.
The people seem a little more affluent and better educated. In fact, it was a pleasure to see the children going to school all dressed up in their uniforms, the girls with their hair plaited and tied up with ribbons. I seemed to notice that entire classes had the same coloured ribbons in their hair. It made it very easy to identify which class they belonged to.
The absence of palaces, as distinct from the north, which has palaces everywhere. The south has more historic mansions. However, we stayed in some magnificent places, ie the Radisson Blu Resort at Temple Bay, Mamallapuram; the Visalam at Kanadukathan in Chettinad; the Heritage Hotel in Madurai; the Hotel Spice Village at Periyar; the houseboat on the Kerala Backwater; the Brunton Boatyard at Kochi; the Grand Hyatt in Goa and best of all, the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai - just stunning.
The land in the south is a lot more fertile and very much greener than the north.
The south was a lot warmer than the north, which was to be expected.
The happy travellers - at the beginning in Chennai -
And at the end in Mumbai - and no Delhi belly this time either!!