Day 7 - Temples

I woke up feeling cold. Minh had taken all of the sheets. In Seattle, it would have been an uncomfortable feeling, but I welcomed the change after a week of feeling hot and sticky. It wasn’t long before we were on the bus and off to the largest temple complex in Trichy. It was comprised of eight walls with a bunch of huge, carefully decorated gates. The largest of the gates was seventy three meters tall, which gave it significant prominence in the completely flat city. In these temples, everyone is a “guide,” and one of these self proclaimed “guides” showed us onto the roof of one of the buildings. When we got up on top we found that we were not alone. We were joined by dozens of mostly elderly British tourists on holiday. The roof provided an excellent vantage point to see all of the walls and gates of the sprawling complex, and many pictures were taken. With the appetite for temples satisfied, it was time to attend to a different appetite: the appetite for food. We went to an Indian restaurant in India. The funny thing is that it really wasn’t that much different than an Indian restaurant in the US.

After food, we walked down to a bazaar. We started in a department store, and then split into two groups: the girls and the boys. We only had an hour to shop before going to the rock fort temple, so the girls opted to spend the entire hour in the massive store. The majority of the boys were just as uninterested in the department store as they would be in a Nordstroms, so they chose to go outside and explore the market. Most of the people on the street were peddling watches, which turned out to be just what Joe was looking for. After visiting four or five of these stands, Joe found a watch that was just too cool to ignore. It was love at first sight. Using bargaining skills that he had amassed in other similar situations, he was able to lower the cost to the steal price of 110 rupees ($2.50). Victorious, he put on the watch and immediately, the strap broke. It was a downhill slide from there. The relationship was built on a poor foundation, and it ultimately collapsed after Joe checked the time five hours later and saw that his watch had only counted four and a half. The conversation went something like this: Lynna: “What time is it?” Molly: “5:12.” Joe: “4:45.” Someone else: “It’s 5:12.” Joe: “God damnit.” Joe’s watch is now worse than broken because while a broken clock is correct twice a day, Joe’s is right maybe once every couple of weeks. R.I.P. Dolce and Gabana watch.

Shopping ended when we met back up at the department store. Some of the girls had purchased things in the store, but it seemed like most were unimpressed by the store on the whole. Then we walked to the rock fort temple and climbed the 317 steps to the top of the rock. It’s a pretty cool thing because it’s just this huge, erratic boulder in the center of a flat city (as previously mentioned). I think that it’s about ninety meters tall. There’s a guard house on top, and the view went as far as the haze would allow. On the way down, many people had the opportunity to witness two monkeys having sex on the rock… and to think that Mr. Howard didn’t think that this trip had educational merit. At the bottom, we met an elephant. We fed it coins and took pictures. It was a frighteningly powerful animal, so it was scary when it took the coins off of your head or out of your hand. Nevertheless, it was very gentle with the moist tip of its trunk.

Then we drove to a different hotel.

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