Sunday, July 8, 2012

St. Mary's Cathedral, Madurai, India: That Eve We Lost An iPhone

It had been a long day. The hubby and I were dragging our feet, wandering aimlessly. Brainlessly. We just trudged three kilometers from Gandhi Museum (still couldn't get over their resident dinosaur) back to Palace Road. Earlier we also visited Meenakshi Amman Temple, Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal, and Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam which are as tiresome to explore on foot as it is to read their tongue twister names.

We were famished. And couldn't wait to go back to our Couchsurfing host's house, where a home cooked Sudanese meal was waiting for us.

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St. Mary's Cathedral's facade at twilight. 

Searching for the bus stop was a daunting task, because first of all, we didn't know which bus will take us to Madurai's central station. We asked random pedestrians and received way too many head bobbles, without verbal answers. The blue hour was approaching and we've gone hundreds of meters astray until we caught sight of St. Mary Cathedral, majestically standing on East Veli Street.

Not sure where to go next, we walked in the compound.

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Locals remove their shoes in the church too before praying, like worshippers in a temple.

The number of people astounded us. For a country that's about 70% Buddhist, we certainly did not expect a packed cathedral. The hubby and I lurked in the shadows, by the doorways and windowpanes. There was no church service at that time, but I felt scantily clad in my tank top and short harem pants, so we didn't enter the cathedral.

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Founded in the year 1840. The present structure was built in 1916.
 
For a few minutes, we merely observed from afar. Unnoticed. On our way out of the compound, we asked a guy manning the cathedral's souvenir stand for directions. He spoke excellent English, and mapped out our route for us. Yah know what they say about the church, it may have the answers to your life questions.

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Oh look, another tourist attraction!

We briefly dropped by an internet shop to inform my mom, who was then babysitting our five-month old Luna in the Philippines, that we're still alive. And well, to write some braggy Facebook status. We hurriedly left the shop when we realized it was already dark. Thanks to the shopkeeper's concise instructions, we caught the bus to the central station where we waited for another bus that was supposed to take us all the way to our Couchsurfing host's village. As we boarded, I realized we left our iPhone in the internet shop.

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How can you trust establishments in a dingy, dilapidated building like this?

I cried. Not cause we lost an expensive phone, but because we lost my fave video of Luna which I play every minute night we're apart. We weren't hopeful in seeing the iPhone again, but hopped off the bus anyway and hailed a cab. It was the first and only time we rode a taxi in India.

The internet shop's just a couple of blocks away from St. Mary's Cathedral, it didn't take long for us to find it. When we did, our hearts sank for the shop was closed. I thought, our good karma finally ran out.

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Sudanese dinner prepared by our Couchsurfing host that eve.

We assumed the staff closed the shop early when they found our iPhone, afraid that we might return to look for it. It's probably worth a month's income. Or two. Or three. I began to regret coming back to the shop. Such a waste of time and Indian rupees. We were about to descend the building's staircase when a man approached us and asked, "Phone?". I bobbled my head in manic enthusiasm.

"Come back tomorrow. Eleven morning. We close because no electricity.", he explained. It made sense why we could hardly see in the hallways.

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Back at the internet shop the next day. The owner didn't even accept our reward.

Recharged with new found hope, we happily boarded again the two connecting buses that ply our route. Back home, our uber worried Sudanese host burst out the door and greeted us with "What happened to you guys?! It's late! We went inside your room to check your ringing phone because we thought you might be calling it... Then realized it was just an alarm... And...". He became more upset after hearing about our iPhone story but eventually calmed down when we mentioned that we'll get it back the next day before we leave Madurai. In my book, he's one of the sweetest hosts I've met, ever.

"You guys must be very hungry.", it was all too obvious with our colorless faces.

So were we able to get our iPhone back? Yes, we did. And the internet shop's owner refused a monetary reward. We used his computers once more and handed him a hefty amount, hoping he'd keep the change, but didn't. Hubby and I couldn't believe our good karma.


Thank You, India Series:

Madurai, India: Gandhi Museum And Its Resident Dinosaur (I Kid You Not!)
Madurai, India: Thirumalai Nayak Palace
Madurai, India: Meenakshi Amman Temple
Aboard India's Modes of Transport
Arrival Turned Fans Day
Thank You, India
How To Apply For An India Tourist Visa In The Philippines


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19 comments:

Mel said...
November 2, 2012 at 11:50 PM

You really can find kindred spirits in all parts of the world. :)

Tin | The Average Jane said...
November 3, 2012 at 7:55 AM

What a nice story. Good to know there are still a lot of honest people in the world. =)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
November 3, 2012 at 10:40 AM

Mel, so true. And it reminds you how great people are.

Riz said...
November 3, 2012 at 10:57 AM

Ang bait nmn ng owner ng internet cafe. Minsan lng mga taong gnyan.

watching Luna's video every night you guys are apart is so lovely. sweet mother. :)

Glad na nakuha nyu ung phone pra ma play mo lagi ang video ni luna and to create more great video's of her pa. :)

Sudanese dinner. nice. gs2 ko ma experience yan. :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
November 3, 2012 at 11:27 AM

Yes! Sooo honest, Riz! He'd receive tons of good karma in his life. Well, I hope.

Two2Travel said...
November 3, 2012 at 4:44 PM

<3 this post, Gay. Indeed travel's greatest reward is meeting incredibly kindhearted people. Glad you got your phone back! :) ~Nikka

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
November 3, 2012 at 9:44 PM

Glad too. We eventually lost that phone though. In Tarlac. LOL.

Kulengkleng said...
November 3, 2012 at 11:01 PM

good karma gives more profit. :-)

docgelo said...
November 4, 2012 at 5:15 PM

good people are always rewarded; you got your phone back, you were sheltered by a good couchsurfing host, and your monetary reward wasn't accepted -what a downpour of blessings!

...but lol on "braggy facebook status!"

soloflightEd said...
November 4, 2012 at 5:56 PM

hay, kakastress talaga ang mga ganitong experiences! but syempre, mas maganda ang kinalabasan kasi mas exciting ang blog post --- whahahahahaha, blog post pa rin ang iniintindi? lol

glad that you got your phone back! and for sure, nasave na yung video ni Luna :)

blissfulguro said...
November 4, 2012 at 6:53 PM

such a heartwarming post gay. so nice of the owner. galing :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
November 4, 2012 at 8:05 PM

Doc Gelo, haha! Yeah! Saw a lot of awesome stuff that day and we just had to tell the whole world!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
November 4, 2012 at 8:08 PM

Ed, yup managed to save it before we lost it again. LOL.

grasya said...
November 4, 2012 at 8:48 PM

suddenly I miss India ^_^

bertN said...
November 4, 2012 at 9:08 PM

Meeting folks like them is what makes travel more rewarding. Of course, the opposite is true also. Fortunately, the good ones always outnumber the bad.

The Nomadic Pinoy said...
November 5, 2012 at 7:30 AM

Another great story that ended well! We sometimes don't expect honest people in certain "dingy, dilapidated" places but your experience disproves that. See, it's just not Manila airport janitors who are honest :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
November 5, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Indeed, Dennis.

dumboqtpie said...
November 5, 2012 at 1:23 PM

I was breathless and full of sadness and regrets in the beginning. And finally relieved and glad in the end of your blog. It was like a suspense movie turned into a blog.

Luck is in your side.

Best regard

Fr. Eddie and Ethel

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
November 5, 2012 at 4:50 PM

Happy ending :) Hope to travel with you again Tito Eddie and Tita Ethel!

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