It’s been 2 years since we last had a vacation. In 2008 we went to Goa for 10 days (if I remember correctly). Logan was only 4 months old so it was fairly relaxing and we didn’t have to do too much as far as his care went. Last year I was too pregnant to go anywhere for vacation so we just sort of relaxed at home. So this year we were ready. We had to go somewhere – get out of the house and relax (well, relax as much as is possible with two active children).
Our original plan was to go to Goa again, mainly because a number of people we know were going to be there at the same time. But as we added up our finances and realised what another long train journey with the kids would mean, we decided to look for something closer to home. Besides, Chennai is on the coast. There is lots of beach around if we want it. So we ended up going to a place not too far outside of Chennai. From our house the drive was about 1 1/2 hours. We stayed in a small but nice hotel that was situated right on the beach.
Ok, so I’m going to divided this up by days (to the best of my memory). Since I have such a large selection of photos to show you, I have put them in albums. Just click on the picture below and you can see the slideshow. Enjoy!
Day 1: We left around 12 noon for the hotel. Both children fell asleep almost immediately so we had a quiet drive down. Drove to a place called Mahabalipuram. (Don’t feel bad if you can’t pronounce it. I had a tough time at first too.) We checked in to the hotel, only to find that the room we had reserved was still occupied by some guys who were too drunk to know what was happening around them. They gave us a temporary room so we could at least have a place to wait. We had lunch and relaxed a little, then went for a swim.
This was Lila’s first time in a pool. At first she was ok with it, but after a short while she wanted nothing to do with it. She held me tight and wouldn’t even kick her legs or splash like she does in the tub. I think she realised that not being able to touch the bottom is scary, even if mommy is holding you.
Logan, on the other hand, took to it right away. It had been about a year since he last went in a pool, and he hadn’t liked it much that time, but this time, with the aid of some water wings, he had a great time. The first day he swam all over but the next few times he just kind of floated in the water and took it easy.
After swimming we moved to our room and got set up. Then we went out for dinner. We found a small restaurant on the beach and ate there. Glad loves his seafood so he was happy to be able to eat lots of his favorites on this trip. I’m not so fond of it so I stuck to pasta as much as I could. That night the children went to bed quiokly, tired from the day, but I stayed up for a while and read “King Solomon’s Mines”. Interesting, but not as much mystery as I had hoped for.
Day 2: We ate all our breakfasts at the hotel restaurant, so would go there each morning as soon as the kids were up and dressed, usually by 9 a.m. Then back to the room to decide what to do that day. It was hot, not terribly hot but hot enough that Glad preferred to stay in the room in the aircon and watch cricket. I prefer to get out even if it is hot cause I have to do something. But this morning we stayed in for a while, then went swimming.
After lunch the children napped and I finished reading “King Solomon’s Mines”. When they woke up we took them to the beach. This was the only time we ventured to the beach and you will see why.
The first thing Lila did while there was eat the sand. She shoved a handful into her mouth and wouldn’t take it out…and she kept eating it. Logan and daddy played cricket for a while, then they went in the water. Daddy decided to take Lila in the water and did she get mad. She screamed and freaked out and came to me, not looking back. After she calmed down he took her in again and the same thing happened. After that she refused to even look at him, much less go to him. She is still not comfortable in the water. Glad tried building sand castles with Logan, but every time he got one bucketful of sand to stand up, Logan would smash it. He gave up after a short time, and I don’t think I was ever happier to leave the beach.
That night we all were in bed by 9:30 p.m.
Day 3: Today I went out shopping while the kids slept. I always like to pick up a little something from wherever we are staying as a reminder of the place, but I like it to be useful. I looked in many places but only bought two silk scarves. Got a good deal on them though. They will go nicely with my formal tops.
Logan wasn’t feeling too well today. I think he had too much activity yesterday. He went down for his nap much earlier than usual, before lunch. Later we discovered a sort of inflamed rash on his abdominal area. We have no idea how he got it or what the cause is. He finds it very itchy.
In the afternoon we went out for ice cream. You can see in the pictures the progression of Logan’s. He only licks it with the tip of his tongue, hardly getting any on it, and most of it melted on his pants, but he enjoyed it. I also picked up a herbal antiseptic cream to put on his rash. I hope it works.
Tonight we ate at a different restaurant. It was small but very busy. We had a table right on the sidewalk. I finally got smart and took Lila to meals in the stroller so that I didn’t have to hold her. The best thing about a restaurant is each person can get the food they want. So tonight we went all out. Logan had chicken and fries, Glad had his favorite fish curry, and I had spagettie bologness. Lila had a little bit of everything.
Day 4: Today Glad was determined to stay in the room and watch cricket. For those of you who aren’t cricket buffs, this was the day that his favorite player, Sachin Tendulkar, scored 200 runs in the game in one shot. I am not a cricket fan, but I think that if you love your husband, you will at least familiarise yourself with his favorite game and players. Apparently this game had historical relevance and it was in the newspapers for days afterwards.
I didn’t want to stay in the room all day so we decided that Logan would stay with Glad and I would go out with Lila. I wanted to check out a park I had heard of that was full of rock carvings and sculptures. I’m not normally into this kind of stuff, but I found it very interesting. Most of the temples were all carved from one rock, except for the biggest one, which was pieced together from several large rocks. You can see in the pictures what they look like. I also found steps cut from rocks that were just lying around. It wasn’t easy getting around this place with the stroller and my high heels but I was determined to see it all. Had I known I would be mountain climbing I would have worn other shoes so don’t blame me for wanting to look fancy. I would have preferred running shoes.
One of the main attractions of the park is a large rock that is perched on a much larger rock. It is perfectly balanced, so much so that even hooking 8 elephants up to it didn’t budge it. The top half of the rock is cut off, but even then, it is a sight to behold. The locals have named it “Krishna’s Butterball”.
Another attraction was the lighthouse. There was a long walkway up to it and I carried the stroller up the stairs, hoping for a look inside but it was closed up. After that I think I only saw one or two other carved temples and then I left.
Lila napped most of the time so I was free to look at things, but I did have to carry the stroller over rocks and in areas that weren’t made for a stroller to go. Along one side of the park were lots of stone masons who sold small replicas of the statues in the park, and most of the Hindu gods for anyone who was interested. I wasn’t. I did pick up some earrings made of seashell. I usually get a pair on vacation. They are cheap, and last until the shell gets broken by me carelessly tossing them in my jewelry box. I also bought Lila a pink straw hat with a big flower on it. There was a time when I used to love to wear things like that. Now you couldn’t pay me to wear them but I think my baby looks adorable in such girly things.
On the way home the hat blew out of the stroller and I didn’t notice until I got back to the room. I wasn’t happy with that so I left Lila with Glad and went out to look for it. I found it with someone at the end of the street and happily brought it back.
By this time the camera was full of pictures, so I emptied it. That afternoon we went to the grassy area above the beach so I could relax in the hammock and Logan and daddy could play cricket together. Then we swam again. Lila is finally warming up to the water and enjoyed it more today. She didn’t freak out like before.
That night we tried a different restaurant. It was a failure from the start as we were there for at least an hour waiting for our food, as was each other person there. We finally found out they only had one cook on duty that night. I think they lost a lot of customers because of that.
One good thing that happened while waiting is Logan said a few new words. To pass the time and distract the kids while they were waiting, we watched the kitten begging for food from the other tables, played games and sang their favorite songs. They both love “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. Any time it is sung you get their attention. Then at one point Logan started saying the words of the song, not the whole thing but just the part he wanted to: up above (you know, up above the world so high). But when he said it, it came out more like “upabub”. He thinks it is one word. He also said the word “high” fairly well. Then he looked at the banner above the restaurant (you could see the words printed on the other side through it) and he recognised the letter “b” and very clearly said b. I had reviewed the phonetic alphabet with him and found that he can say most of it, but to have him indentifying letters even when backwards means he can read them well, even if he can’t say all of them or many words. I find it very encoraging and I think it won’t be long before he talks well.
The kids went straight to bed and I watched the new Sherlock Holmes movie.
Day 5: I decided I wanted Logan to see the park and sculptures for himself, not to mention the animals that were there. The grass was so nice that there were goats all over feasting on it. Logan learned to climb rocks and he had fun but also found out that rocks sitting in the sun are HOT. He climbed some rock steps by himself. I followed him up to take his picture at the top; then I helped him down. I turned my back for one minute to check on Lila and he was back at the top. But the highlight for Logan was seeing monkeys up close. He wanted to follow and touch them but these monkeys can be dangerous. Not only are they dirty and full of germs, but also they have a nasty bite. They get away with a lot because of this. They steal food from vendors and shops, and will even enter your house if they can get away with it. For this reason we used to keep a pellet gun when I lived in Bangalore. Once shot they never came back.
In the evening we went out to a very nice restaurant. A friend of a friend had invited us to sample the buffet in his 5 star resort. Who wants to turn that offer down? The kids enjoyed it too. The bad thing was that the camera chose this moment to conk out so I have no pics of that night.
Day 6: Vacation is over. We only had to check out by noon, so I took my time packing. The camera, tempermental piece of equipment that it was, decided to work again so I got some last minute pics of the kids and hotel before leaving.
We all enjoyed ourselves and can’t wait to do it again. Enjoy the pics.
Selection of the best pics.
Visit to the rock carvings.