Yah, I eat my words. Saw something that
I could not have imagined– something that
did blow me away. The Meenakshi Temple.
Actually I only saw the eastern gate of
of the temple, which local shopkeepers have
converted into an indoor marketplace. Even
with all the activity buzzing around in there,
its impossible not to be stilled by the >1000
year old stone carvings and elaborately chiseled
ceilings. Despite all the wheeling and dealing,
the vibe of this place came from somewhere so
deep that its sanctity remained untouched by
the commerce. Jesus throwing the money lenders
out of the temple came to mind, but somehow
I felt like he wouldn’t have done a thing to
change this spot.
Mike and Tim rolled into town today. They’re
riding their bikes from Chennai to Goa along the
coast of India and plan on hanging out here for
a couple of days. Saw them briefly in Pondy the
day they rolled in there too. Read about their
adventure on their blog.
Before I left Berkeley,
Team Madurai (Mike, Gautam, and Matt) made a
brilliant attempt at transforming me into Captain
Madurai by brain-dumping all their knowledge into
a guide-email. I’m sure Mike had no idea that he’d
make his effort obsolete by showing up and personally
being my guide. And what a guide he is. The guy
knows way too many key people in this town to actually
be American, and moves with an ease that eludes even
the seasoned native resident. In a country where you
generally hear about how difficult it is to do all the
little things, and how bribes are the only way to do the big
things, Mike cuts through it all with an eager and
enthusiastic charm coupled with a genuine good-guy
character that wins him friends wherever he goes,
turning him into the ultimate insider from the outside.
That makes him super knowledgeable about the place, and
really good at getting things done. If he ever does
write a guidebook, buy it. And Mike isn’t
even giving me 10% of his take, though– we can work
something out, right Mike?
Anyhow, I still have much to write about Europe, Chennai,
and Pondy. Will get to that soon.