Our last day in Sri Lanka saw us heading for the airport around 1pm. We were a little worried as we had read conflicting information regarding flying from Sri Lanka to India without an exiting flight. When we went to check in we were told that Sri Lankan air passengers must have an ongoing ticket, so we had to quickly book a flight before we could board. This was frustrating as it seems that this is the only airline that checks so carefully for this, and on arrival in India they did not care whether we had an exit ticket or not.
Our flight went smoothly and we arrived in Chennai around 730pm. I had looked up the bus numbers and had them saved so I felt relatively confident in our ability to get to our accommodation. Unfortunately, India had other plans and little did we know then the night it would serve up to us.
The first thing we wanted to do upon exiting was was get money. Usually straightforward, however this time all ATMS were out of money so after an hour of hunting down any means of cash I found a money exchange that would also allow you to take money out off debit cards, though they did charge a very large percent. Seeing no other option, reluctantly went with this plan of action.
With money in hand, we now only needed to find the bus. A few quick questions from friendly and helpful traffic police saw us on a bus within half an hour. Problem was, the had read the address wrong and we were now on a bus 40 minutes the wrong way! As the bus drove on we started to worry and quick look at our mss confirmed our fears. Getting off the bus, we jumped back on one going the opposite way and then thankfully found the bus we had originally needed without too much hassle.
By now it was around 11pm and we were exhausted. We had some worries about our accommodation as we had booked it months in advance and since then reviews had poured in and the place sounded very dodgy.
It was actually worse than the reviews made out.
Our room was filthy, dirt on every surface. the roof was missing in multiple places and the ‘bathroom’ was the dirtiest squat toilet I had ever seen. Too tired to find somewhere else, we used our packs as pillows and laid on top of our towels fully dressed and tried to get some sleep, ready to leave as soon as we could to find a cafe with wifi to find our new accomodation.
A good coffee, quick wifi and a nice toilet later, we had managed to get ourselves back on track. We didn’t want to fall into the trap of pre-booking our accomodation this time so we noted down the address of somewhere that looked far more upmarket and, after a few stops to book buses etc, we made our way there to see it in person.
The new place was a quantifiable palace compared to the dump we had just left. Crisp white sheets, air con and pay TV saw us hastily book ourselves in for two nights. At 35aud a night it was expensive, but well worth it for a break. The next few days we did little. We explored Chennai, but there was very little noteworthy about the city. Two nights of good food, sleeping in and hot showers saw us happy and ready to continue on with our Indian journey.