Got back from a hectic but enjoyable two-day whirlwind Chettinad trip. Vidya and I were commissioned by Outlook Traveller (by Lalitha actually, but it sounds much cooler this way!) for a couple of pieces on specific destinations in the region – more details after it is published!
Friday, 30th September 2005
Friday evening saw us rushing off to faraway Tambaram to catch the Rameswaram Express, on which we had the company of a cantankerous old couple from somewhere in Haryana on their way to Rameswaram.
Saturday, 1st October 2005
We landed in Karakkudi, our base of operations at about 8:45 a.m. on Saturday. We decided to stay in Hotel Subhalakshmi Palace on the recommendation of a friend of my dad. The fifty-rupee journey from the railway station to the hotel was undertaken in an auto piloted by a driver who was belligerently defensive about the fare he was charging, but seemed to be okay with talking about anything else. Reached the hotel, where it took us an inordinately long time to check it, mostly because of a very inefficient, but self-assured (what an abominable combination!) man behind the reception desk. He hemmed and hawed about a room being available; then he took his own time filling out the requisite form, after which I made the mistake of asking him whether he could arrange transport to visit a couple of nearby places, for which he nodded, smiled and quoted outrageously low amounts of money for hiring a Scorpio or an Innova. We took the opportunity to sneak off to the attached restaurant and grab breakfast – basic and adequate, but nothing to write home about.
By the time we finished breakfast, the room was ready, and we hurriedly bypassed the reception desk on the way up. The room was large, clean and comfortable, though a bit pricey for the Rs. 935 we were paying for it.
We freshened up and headed out, in search of transport that would take us to our destinations.