April 24th – Leaving Tamil Nadu

Today, sweating and dirty, we blitzed the long and bumpy return journey to Trivandrum, ditching our dusty bus in Madurai for a packed train. Having not reserved our seats on the latter, we perched on the top luggage rack of a third class carriages for seven hours with the other sardines. On our eventual arrival back in Trivandrum that night I discovered that somebody somehow had managed to piss all over my sandals that I had left underneath the bottom berth. I was beginning to understand why Indians were so touchy about leaving sandals at the entrances of special places like temples. I was forced to choose between walking barefoot through the rubble-strewn streets of Trivandrum or wearing the offending items all the way back to our guesthouse. Unenthusiastic though I was for my violated sandals, I calculated that slicing my foot on glass and then dealing with the inevitable infection would be far more unpleasant in the long run, so I did what I had to do.

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