Monthly Archives: February 2012

Dear Millar: 3 years 11 months

Millar,

This month you have shown us what a real tantrum is. We are all finding our surroundings challenging right now, so it’s no surprise. But boy! You are certainly asserting your independence and defiance with a new found vigour. Sometimes I have to hide my laughter when you do things like cross your arms and say “I don’t want to hear it. Ever. Again. I’m NOT kidding!!”

You don’t like people much. Especially new people. You used to be happy to talk to anyone and tell them your name and some random tid-bit of information. But here in India, you get annoyed with people touching you, trying to pick you up and chasing you. It’s not fun for you and you hide from people now and refuse to talk to anyone. I hope it’s just a phase and we are working on it. We are helping you say hi to people and shake hands and be polite, but we are also letting people know when to leave you alone. I can completely understand your need for some personal space though!

Your reading and spelling is coming along amazingly well. I am so proud of you. The amount of words you can spell and read far exceed my expectations of what you would be able to do at this age. You love reading and want to know what everything says.

You turn four next month. WOW! You are growing up. You often say you don’t want to grow up. You want to stay a little boy. You will always be my little boy, but neither of us can stop you growing up.

I love you so much,

Mum

Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram

This weekend we visited Mahabalipuram. This is a small town full of world heritage listed monuments of religious significance. It’s a busy tourist destination about an hours drive from our hotel in Chennai.

We arrived on Sarturday and spent the afternoon at a hotel, swimming and relaxing. Then on Sunday morning straight after breakfast we left to visit the monuments.

The view from our hotel. The bit that sticks out in the distance
is the peninsula bit that the Temples are on. If you squint,
you can see the temples too. 

We could see the Shore Temple from the beach outside our hotel. It was in the distance but definitely walkable so we decided to walk. We forgot to factor in how much that would suck with two kids and temperatures of 33 degrees. Sand walking is hard. Having so much sand in your shoes that there is not enough room for your feet is sucky. We walked along the beach for ages, noticing the bizarre bits of washed up trash strewn along the beach. I wondered how the tourists could just put a towel down and sunbathe with all that rubbish around them. Mind boggling.

The temple is heavily fenced but we were able to walk through the back gate of another hotel to gain entry to the area. However, after walking to the temple gate we were told we needed tickets which were sold at another gate 300 metres away. We walked back there and bought our tickets. We nearly didn’t. I was over it by then. The journey here had been long and hot and painful, we were constantly being accosted by people trying to sell their services as temple guides, sell us necklaces or just beg for money. Several people had tried to take our photo and touch the kids. I was sweating litres and my feet were cut up from evil sharp sand. But after a quick discussion with hubster, it was agreed that we would be super pissed off to come all this way, stay in an overpriced resort, and not see the temple.

Buying tickets for the monuments.

So to the ticket window we went.

The sign on the window reads “Indians: 10 rupees. Others: 250 rupees.”

Children are free, Indian or otherwise. The ticket is valid for all of the monuments in the area. At AUD$4.77 – it’s a bargain.

Tickets in hand we trekked back to the temple.

This temple was built for Lord Shiva in the 7th century. Legend has it, that the temple was part of a group of seven temples known as the Seven Pagodas. The Shore temple is the last one standing. The granite rocks show the wear and tear of centuries of sea erosion, but the fact it’s still standing is impressive.

Instead of destroying the temple, the tsunami that struck on boxing day, 2005 exposed some long hidden rocks that are believed to have been part of the Seven Pagodas. A large lion statue dated back to the 7th century was completely uncovered by the tsunami. Information here in Wikipedia tells of witness accounts of seeing a long stone wall when the water receded, before it came crashing back to shore with disastrous consequences.
Searches have revealed walls and two submerged temples that indicate the area was home to a large complex of temples. The search for more continues.

Bats; Not my favourite creatures.

The Shore Temple includes three cave-like shrines. Two are for Lord Shiva and one is for Lord Vishnu. The shrines are also home to many bats. Darren ventured inside and took a photo for me, because I don’t like bats much.
I’ve heard that the temple looks it’s best in the light of dusk. I imagine it would look pretty amazing at sunrise too. But we were there at 11am. It was still pretty amazing.

Walking around the temples, between the walls, it’s very pleasant and cool. The sea breeze whistles through the narrow corridors and creates a natural air conditioning effect.

Immediately outside the Shore Temple gates are many market stalls selling food and beverages and also souvenirs, from plastic palm trees to postcards and jewellery. For good souvenirs, the surrounding streets of Mahabalipuram have handicraft stores aplenty.

If we were to do this again, I would not walk along the beach, I would go the front way. Along the road. Or take a rickshaw. Which is how we got home – it took only three minutes. We didn’t visit any of the other monuments as we were running out of time and the kids were hot, cranky and tired …and so were we.

A nice shade of red despite the sunscreen.
Hats are on the shopping list.
Xanthe keeps taking hers off, so we may need an umbrella.

I may go back for a better look one day without the kids. It could be done in a day, leaving early from here and coming back in the afternoon, without the need for a pricey hotel. Maybe I’ll pay for a guide, maybe I’ll learn something. Maybe I’ll buy a plastic palm tree.. or not.

Happy Birthday Hubster

Happy big 30th birthday to my favourite guy,
 my awesome husband.

He’s also the best Dad on the planet.

Have an awesome day, honey. Hope you love your present. I’m pretty sure you will, since you picked it out, gave me the money for it and then carried it home because it was too heavy for me. But you can still act surprised when you unwrap it.

Love you lots and heaps and 30 times infinity.