Today we decided to venture a little further afield and made our way to Coimbatore. This is the nearest city to us and is bulging at the seams with a population of nearly 3 and a half million! We got up bright and early, leaving for the bus stand (rain coats in hand) immediately after breakfast. The hour long journey was full of excitement. A lady who was standing gave us her baby to look after and we were playing and giggling with this gorgeous little child for most of the journey…until…a woman suddenly began to explode vomit all over the place! It was white and frothy and full of rice. Luckily I was squished in at the window, furthest away from her standing in the aisle. I whipped out a handy plastic bag and gave it to her to continue throwing up in, meanwhile squirting the anti bac over any possible area of skin. Unfortunately poor Sarah got a little splashed, so the anti bac was smeared over the side of her face and the back of her legs.
Finally we arrived at Coimbatore, glad to be off the bus filled with puke. We started to walk until we realised we really had no idea what we wanted to do here! We wandered for a while and then decided to take a bus to an area called R.S.Puram, somewhere a friend had recommended for good shopping! We started off at Ghandipuram bus stand ‘Anna, engay R.S.Puram?’ we asked the men in brown uniform who were lounging about. They pointed us in the direction of the other bus stand on the other side of the road. We managed to navigate crossing the busy dual carriageway by clinging onto some people in front and basically just taking a leap of faith! Again at the new bus station we ask ‘Anna, engay R.S.Puram?’ he replied ‘7C’ and once again he points to the opposite side of the road-where we had just come from! This time we cleverly decide to use the rickety green pedestrian bridge, narrowly avoiding slipping on the steep steps down. At the bottom of the steps we looked around, it couldn’t be Ghandipuram bus station so where on earth was this bus?! Eventually we spot a few buses sitting at a stop at the bottom of the stairs…the one nearest to us being 7C! Sarah, Caitlin and I raced as fast as our little legs could carry us and made it onto the bus, remembering to ask one of the akka’s ‘R.S.Puram?’ She kindly showed us when to get off and smiled at us comfortingly as we sat on the alien bus.
After arriving in R.S.Puram we thought the best approach would be to wander-how difficult is it to miss a shopping centre, right? Well, needless to say we didn’t end up in the shopping centre, but we did find a stationary shop, splash out on ice cream, nearly attended a vegan food festival and found a new restaurant along the road to eat lunch at!
The excitement of the stationary shop meant we spent a good half hour smelling the new journals and testing all the pens. I bought a much desired box file for all my papers from school and some envelopes so that I can send all my friendies the letters that I’ve been promising for so long!
Next door to the stationary shop was an ice cream parlour, clean and shiny with lots of air con, Sarah and I were hyperventilating with excitement whilst Caitlin looked at us acting like babies in pity. She doesn’t like chocolate and not many sweets (except shortbread) so could not comprehend our uncontrollable frenzy at the multitude of choices on the menu. Firstly, we did decide to be sensible, settling for a small cone which was relatively cheap. Unfortunately this was not available and we were just forced to splash out (70rs) on a chunk choc sundae! This bowl of Mr Whippy style ice cream with chocolate chips and chocolate sauce and broken up bits of chocolate arrived for each of us and we launched ourselves on it like animals. We demolished the bowl in less than 10 minutes whilst enjoying the confusing Hindi movie on the television, pretending we understood what happened.
After the ice cream extravaganza it happened to be lunch time so we walked about in search of even more food. We saw a sign for a vegan food festival and excitedly stepped through a door which was opened by a smartly dressed doorman, this should have given us a clue of what was to come. We arrived in the reception of a very formal hotel, people wearing clothes much smarter than our salwar pants and tshirt combos and which actually looked clean. Confidently we enquired about the price of lunch. The man looked us up and down and laughed, replying with 120rs each. Without realising, I nodded, concluding that wasn’t a bad price to pay until Sarah reminded me that we usually have lunch for 30rs for us all! We swiftly nodded our thanks and disappeared in fits of giggles and embarassment. A further exploration down a side street and we discovered a veg restaurant that looked more tailored to our market, it was busy and full of Indians and I was confident that it would serve good food. Around us people were eating huge crispy dosa, served off banana leaf and we landed like vulchers on the menu. With the advice of the waiter we decided on one mushroom and one paneer parota. The dishes arrived and we looked about expectantly…where was the parota? The waiter smiled at us in amusement, pointing in the dish. As we began to serve ourselves we realised the parota (tasty flakey thick bread, richer than chapatti but not like naan) was buried in the mushrooms and paneer. Hungrily we ate and enjoyed our meal, for a much cheaper price than the hotel we’d attempted before.
After that, we negotiated our way back to central Coimbatore and Ghandipuram bus station, meeting Nandini Maam who had finished her classes in Coimbatore for the day, and catching the Anaikatti bus just in time to return home. The bus was pretty full so we ended up sitting in the male section. Luckily they all kept their hands to themselves, but the more full the bus got the more male private parts got pushed to my head as they squished past each other in the aisle.
Sleepily we arrived home, napped for a while and just chilled for the rest of the day.