We have almost finished our tour!! (There’s a bike shop 40km away with two spare boxes for our return flight from Chennai airport on Tues). Right now we are in Mahabalipuram, a small seaside town and UNESCO World Heritage Site. From dawn till dusk, the cutting drills squeal like manic mosquitoes transforming granite into sculptures.
The workers spend their wages on wood alcohol full of methanol ( makes you go blind), but the British sculpture we met, Mark, makes sure they purchase brandy.
We have found another quiet hotel, lovely pool and great food nearby. The pool is necessary: women pick up litter from the beach daily but not the human excrement dotting the shoreline every morning. I know, I know, every time I flush my waste enters the sea untreated, but at least there it is diluted.
The are four types of monuments in Mamallapuram, the open air elephant family reliefs at Arjuna’s Penance, brick built temples at Shore Temple, and the man-made caves and rathas (procession chariots) carved in situ from single boulders. Oh and the Butter Ball straight out of Indiana Jones!
Wow! We have finished. And such a pleasant ride, beginning with a cloudy sky and a tailwind, Sunday cyclists trying to keep up, serious cricketers (thwack, cheers and clapping), there’s always something interesting. Charles has discarded his front box stone for errant drivers – those that force us off the road – he has progressed from dogs! Right now he is dismantling bikes in the cool of early evening (32’). A day in Chennai, then we fly!