Feb 07

The First Few Days in India

It has been a bit of a whirlwind trip so far but we are settling down a bit now. I have been keeping a bit of a diary via FB and have not had a chance to sit down and update the blog. So here is the next in the series  about the the travels in India.

We arrived in Chennai and met our driver for the the first section of the tour through Tamil Nadu along the south coast. This part of India is tropical and very different for the North of the country. It is very tropical and the culture and language are different. There are a number of very famous temples and holy icons in this region along with some of the largest wind-farms in the world.

Unfortunately we (the driver) got lost and it took three hours to find our hotel! This meant that we only had a chance to see the snake park. Still it was quite interesting.

ChennaiWe passed this scene several times in our attempts to locate the hotel. Finally the driver fired up the GPS on his smart phone and we were there in 15 minutes.

Alligators snake-park


Yes, those Alligators above are real.



Fortunately, the Cobra on the left is not.



The next day we were on the road again to spend a day at Mahabalipuram, the site of several attractions including the Shore Temple one of the oldest temples in the area (partly destroyed by a Tsunami and no longer in use), the Vahara Caves and Arjuna’s penance.

leaving chennai

Leaving Chennai.

beach at shore temple 01There was also a popular beach near the Shore Temple.

beach at shore temple 02




Rows and Rows of trinket shops leading to the beach

human powered rides

All the rides are human powered either by just spinning by hand or using bicycle attachments.


krishna butterball

Krishna’s Butterball – apparently Krishna liked butterballs but spat this one out and, over the years, it turned to stone. It’s been balancing on the side of the hill ever since. It survived the attempts to move it and several natural disasters but it looks like it should just roll down and flatten everything in it’s path.


krishna mandapams

Arjuna’s Penance – a huge structure carved from a single rock.

shore temple 01 shore temple 02

Two pictures of the Shore Temple



Looking out from a Restaurant at Mahabalipuram near the beach.

While walking up the road back to our hotel we passed a young woman talking on the phone. As we passed her we heard her say, in a pronounced English accent, “There are SO many white people here”.

I’m sure the irony would be lost on her 🙂

The next day we visited Ekambareswarar_Temple located in Kanchipurammon our way to our next stopover at Pondicherry

mick-in-temple-lores-01 Terri in-Temple-lores-01

Next stop – Pondicherry




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Jan 31

The Good Earth Podcast January 2015

The January 2015 edition of The Good Earth podcast is available on the website


Click on the link, turn up the sound and re-live the madness


Remember you can find all the previous podcasts at



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Jan 17

A Frustrating Beginning

Well our first full day in India was an interesting if frustrating experience.

We had an amusing, if somewhat wearing slog, through the domestic check-in followed by a one and a half hour wait on the plane waiting to take-off in the fog. A common occurrence in Delhi this time of year.

It is fascinating watching and being part of the endless checking and double checking that seem to dominate every part of life here and the airport provided some wonderful examples.

Example 1. Security Screening

Security screening and the airport is pretty standard except that after you clear the automatic scanner there is a guard who then rescans you by hand with the wand and pats you down. It seems kind of pointless to have the automatic scanner there in the first place. They also issue you with a tag for you hand luggage signifying that it has gone through the x-ray scanner.

Example 2. Checking your ID/boarding pass

How many times do you think you can be checked for ID and/or boarding pass? Don’t answer.

  1. Guard checks ID and boarding pass at the entrance tot he terminal. This includes a form of photo ID
  2. Person at the baggage check-in queue checks the boarding pass
  3. Person at the desk check the boarding pass
  4. Guard at the entrance to the gate lounges check the pass
  5. Guard at the queue for security checks the boarding pass before directing you to the appropriate line
  6. Guard at the end of the queue checks again
  7. X-Ray operator checks to make sure you still have the pass
  8. guard who scans you (remember him ) checks and stamps the pass
  9. second guard then take the boarding pass and copies the information
  10. airline gate  staff check the boarding pass as you go through the gate
  11. security guard half way along the boarding ramp checks your pass and the tag on you hand luggage
  12. finally the cabin crew at the door to the plane check the pass and direct you to you seat.

Whew! what a journey!

The flight to Chennai itself was uneventful but the drive to the hotel was chaos as the driver got lost and we took over three hours to find the hotel. After numerous wrong directions from the tour company office and well meaning bystanders he finally did what he should have done at the start, and fired up the GPS on his phone, and we were there 15 minutes later! The only advantage was that we got a very extensive view of the city and surrounds although it did mean we missed out on many of the planned sightseeing stops.

The hotel is basic but clean and the staff are friendly. We had a very nice take away meal from one of the local restaurants and we are looking forward to tomorrow. 🙂


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Jan 16


We are in

India !

We just arrived in Delhi on the first day of our eight week journey through this fabulous country.

I was quite surprised at how cold it was in Delhi with an overnight forecast of 5C and top tomorrow of 18C, but it is winter I suppose. 🙂

Hopefully there will be plenty to share about our trip , particularly around the the sustainability areas (for example, our upcoming visit to the Barefoot College).

It will be an exciting few months and hopefully we can keep you updated.


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