Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Arrival Turned Fans' Day

Tarlac-Angeles-Singapore-Kuala Lumpur-Tiruchirappalli-Madurai. Whew! Day and a half travel frenzy en route to our Couchsurfing host's house in India. A bit crazier than our 3 countries in one day experience.

It took 3 planes, 3 buses, 2 jeeps, 2 cabs, 1 minibus, 1 trike, 1 tuktuk, and 1 motorbike to take us there. Yes, we love punishing ourselves in the name of cheapskate backpacking. But I will not bore you with the details of our transit from the Philippines to Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. In fact, I want to start talking about India anyway because there's just so much to blabber about!

Tiruchirappalli Airport.

The flight to Tiruchirappalli from Kuala Lumpur takes about three and a half hours, similar to the flight from Clark Field to Kuala Lumpur. Out of all the passengers, there were only three of us foreign tourists: My hubby Shervin, me and a Caucasian hippie-ish guy. This demography made us feel like we were heading to the wrong destination.

Tiruchirappalli, also called (and more easily pronounced as) Trichy, is a city in the state of Tamil Nadu. I can still remember where I first encountered such tongue twisting name. Back in 2009 at the LCC Terminal in Kuala Lumpur (I believe KL-Trichy is Air Asia's first ever Malaysia-India route), waiting for some flight. Randomly read it on the departures board. We were on our South East Asia In Six Weeks trip then and I remember promising to myself that I shall go there one day.

That one day indeed happened. Except I didn't expect it to happen so soon. Except... I didn't expect it to be Shervin's meet and greet with two of his fans.

Now before we all snicker in unison, I'd like to share with you guys that he does robotics stuff and face recognition stuff (I use "stuff" a lot when describing his jobs because I so can't understand his, uhm, stuff). He's got free programming tutorials on his website too, very popular to university students. So when he announced on his site that he'll be visiting Trichy, he was bombarded with inquiries and invitations. Hence, I dubbed our trip "Shervin's India Promo/Autograph Signing Tour".

Hari, Shervin and Harrish (with matching mustaches).

Unfortunately, our arrival date was exams day. And mind you, Indian students are uber hardworking. Only two students agreed to take some time off reviewing and pick us up from the airport.

When we got out of the arrival area, we scoured the mosh pit of cab drivers offering rides. As we stepped away, a couple of guys awkwardly approached us. The students didn't scream nor cry nor faint nor dab a red dot on Shervin's forehead upon seeing him. They cautiously walked toward us, reading our faces, wondering if we are who we are.

I raised my hand for a subtle wave. They did the Indian nod or head bobble (which by the way I subconsciously did too the entire trip) as a response. We started chitchatting after successfully shooing the cab drivers as we strode to the street, off the airport grounds.

We crossed to the other side, alongside cows roaming freely and waited for a bus to central Trichy. We let two buses overflowing with passengers pass, and got on the third one which was semi-full.

It started to sink in, I was finally in India. I found myself smiling at everyone, who smiled back and didn't stare in a creepy way. My heart was filled with sheer ecstasy amid the hot bus ride. A lady stood from her seat and motioned me to take it. And by the way, the uni students paid for our fare. The hospitality we felt during our first few minutes in Trichy was overwhelming, contrary to what we foresaw.

The distance from the airport to Trichy bus stand (main bus terminal at city center) is about 5 kilometers. Because we got caught up in rush hour, even with a maniacal driver, it took us almost twenty minutes to get to our destination.

We thought it was best to head straight to Madurai, also known as Temple City, instead of staying for one night in Trichy. We chose to explore the latter on our last two days since we'll exit India via the same airport.

Our first (out of countless!) Barota/Parata and Dosa.

The bus to Madurai departs from the central bus stand too and the trip will take three to four hours. So we asked Hari and Harrish where we could grab a bite. They took us to Shri Sangeetas, just a few meters away from the bus stand. Upon their request, we were served barota/parata and dosa. I'll just describe them as very filling for now, because South India food deserves a separate post.

I let Shervin spend some err, quality time with his fans. I can imagine how thrilled they were meeting someone they idolize in flesh, and have a photo with him too! And how equally thrilled we were meeting genuinely kind strangers on day one... Which gave us the impression that India is indeed incredible!


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Pinoy Adventurista said...
April 10, 2011 at 2:56 PM

panalo naman ang adventure na yan... clap! clap! clap! =D

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 10, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Haha! Mervz, perfect way to start a crazy 6-day trip!

Rizalenio said...
April 10, 2011 at 3:15 PM

oh wow! You traveled with a celebrity. Hahaha. Buti na lang may short word for that - Trichy (how do you say it TRI-KI, TRI-CHI, TRAY-KEE, TRAY-CHEE?hahahaa). Haha. Nahirapan pa din ako? Hahaha.

I enjoyed reading this entry...and the photo of the food. Parang ang ganda ng airport ng Trichy. :)

Pinoy Adventurista said...
April 10, 2011 at 3:21 PM

tamaa!!! =D

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 10, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Hahaha! Natawa naman ako ng bongga sayo Lito! It's pronounced as tri-chi. And yes, their airport is spankin' awesome!

Supertikoy said...
April 10, 2011 at 5:19 PM

wow cool! sikat hehehe

The SoleSisters said...
April 10, 2011 at 6:10 PM

Gosh! I didn't realize Sherv had fans! Nice. I had a really bad time at this airport because we had to sleep here and they turned off airconditioning and stuff. But I'm glad you guys had a great time..

RON said...
April 10, 2011 at 7:02 PM

ginutom ako sa prata/parata and dosa/thosai.

kayo na artista! hahahaha

more more kwento!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 10, 2011 at 7:07 PM

Haha! He does, Lois :) Heaps. And his site's got tons of hits everyday, my site couldn't catch up... Boo!

Sad to hear about your bad experience. We love Trichy Airport!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 10, 2011 at 7:45 PM

Ron, si Sherv lang ang celebrity. Ako P.A. lang. Hihi.

fetus said...
April 11, 2011 at 7:10 AM

with head bobble? hahaha i can imagine.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 11, 2011 at 10:05 AM

Yup! Nakakahawa. But it was fun communicating like that.

Anonymous said...
April 11, 2011 at 3:22 PM

Hi question! panu yung mga drinks nyo sa India did you get bottled water etc...

sheril benedict said...
April 12, 2011 at 9:09 AM

Its about my state n my country .Ah Nice post !! U r lucky cos those uni guys helped u.So how was that parotta and dosa ?

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 12, 2011 at 11:41 AM

Hi Sheril! I love dosa! It's my favorite brekkie. Hope I learn how to make it someday.

tengturista said...
April 13, 2011 at 1:13 AM

gs2 ko din makapunta sa india! agree, they are hospitable at mdalas mag-head bobble. =)

lakwatserong tatay said...
April 13, 2011 at 10:21 AM

yan ang malupit na adventure...^_^ kainggit...

Pinoy Boy Journals said...
April 13, 2011 at 3:51 PM

i know more stories gay! yes... may fans club talaga! ha ha i can't wait for India!

Nelieta said...
April 13, 2011 at 8:50 PM

Gee, that is a lot of transport! Why we do punish ourselves so much? The food looks yummie!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 14, 2011 at 1:37 AM

Teng, nakakatuwa maghead bobble. Because if you do so, parang you really communicate with them :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 14, 2011 at 1:38 AM

Thanks Lakwatserong Tatay!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 14, 2011 at 1:39 AM

Jerik, you are also going soon right?

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 14, 2011 at 1:39 AM

Nelieta that's what we do for the love of cheapskate backpacking :)

Ed said...
April 14, 2011 at 5:02 PM

saya nito gay! I remember you sharing this story in Oh My Gulay! saya. hehe :D

chris said...
April 16, 2011 at 6:27 AM

why didn't you go to agra?ako dream ko makita taj mahal.

The Nomadic Pinoy said...
April 17, 2011 at 5:07 PM

with India's easing on visa rules for Pinoys, I'm already expecting more Pinoy travel bloggers heading that way!

now I'm longing for a parata and a lassi.

Ian said...
April 18, 2011 at 1:31 PM

I'm excited to read your tales from India. I'm also fascinated with this country...

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 20, 2011 at 4:57 PM

Chris, we'll do that someday when we got more time in our hands and when our baby's already walking! Haha!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 20, 2011 at 5:03 PM

Dennis, definitely! Lots of them are already planning.

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