Being the person to report on the first two days of our trip to India seems like a bit of a short straw. While others may get to talk of what we are learning and of the amazing things we get to see and do, the majority of these first two days were spent either travelling or resting from travel. However, while perhaps not the most exciting part of our stay, the journey to India was a great adventure in itself and a chance to meet people and talk a bit about our expectations for the trip!
The group met in Edinburgh airport at around 6:30 on the morning of the 15th of August, all set to travel to a vibrant country that none of us had ever been to before. It was, however, a tad difficult to feel that excitement quite yet…it was a very early start and I think tiredness may have been the dominant feeling! Any fatigue over lack of sleep soon subsided however and the excitement set in as we boarded our first flight to Abu Dhabi. This flight lasted over seven hours, however ethihad airways provided enough films and tv programmes to ensure none were bored. I can imagine that everyone blogging about our time in India will have exciting pictures of old temples, breathtaking folk dances and amazing landscapes to share with you but blogging about the first day means I can’t quite do that. Instead I have attached a slighty less aestetically pleasing photo of our in-flight menu. For anyone thinking of flying to Abu Dhabi, the paprika chicken comes highly recommended!
One meal, a snack and two films later we arrived in Abu Dhabi. The wave of heat as we walked off the aeroplane told us we were far away from Edinburgh. Our next flight was from Abu Dhabi to Chennai itself where the University of Madras is situated. By this time it was late evening in Abu Dhabi and even later in Chennai. Our second flight of the day was slightly shorter, at around four hours, and followed pretty much the same routine of meals, films and the occasional nap thrown in. We arrived in Chennai at around 4:30 local time. I think we all expected India to be hot however stepping out of the airport in the morning, I didn’t expect it to be as hot as it was!
Upon arriving our hotel, we all decided to stay up for a spot of breakfast before heading for some rest. Almost all of the dishes on offer for breakfast had some sort of spicy element…a world away from the typical Edinburgh fare! Sunday was our first full day in India but we had nothing in the programme and so the group decided to go and do a bit of shopping to get some more clothing appropriate to the very high temperatures of Chennai. Travelling to the shop was perhaps the most exciting part. Taking an autorickshaw on an Indian road is both exciting and slightly terrifying! Our evening meal was with our hosts from the University of Madras, who were so welcoming and hospitable. The food was fantastic but every dish had a bit of a kick to it…think we’ll have to get used to that one!