The ship pulled into Chennai at 6am and I got ready to disembark the vessel. The sleeping had vastly helped and I hadn’t died from yesterday’s injection so I was feeling more positive. The rush to get off the ship was the same as usual and the crowd battered me as I walked down the gangway, Kim grabbed my passport and met me on the shore. Just as I was calling over a rickshaw to take us to a hotel before they were all full of ship passengers Kim realised she had left a top of hers on the ship and hurried back to get it. I was left with the bags and although I was feeling better than I had done I had to crouch down to keep my mind off the pain in my stomach. When she returned we quickly made our way towards the exit to find a rickshaw and spotted a rickshaw driver who I called over. He was on his way back to the ship to collect passengers with lots of luggage to get big tips. We were relatively poor with virtually no luggage and obviously not what the rickshaw driver was interested in. He reluctantly let me climb aboard his rickshaw after I explained how ill I was and all the rest of my life’s troubles. We got in the rickshaw and reached the exit very quickly where he stopped and told us to get out. It was now obvious why he hadn’t wanted to take us as we were more than half way to the exit when we had called him over and we had minimal luggage.
With that we got off the rickshaw paid him and went off to find another. The state I was in I needed hot water to shower in and a good comfortable bed. I hadn’t had the chance to talk to the other westerners on the ship seeing as I was in the sick bay, but I guessed that they would go for the cheap and cheerful option. I agreed with Kim that she could pay 100 rupees and I would pay the rest if we stayed somewhere that was slightly luxurious. Two metres past the exit gates a rickshaw driver approached us and said he could offer us a good price to take us where we wanted to go. A further two metres down the street we discovered the reason why he was so cheap - he didn’t have a clue where to go! I jumped out and clambered into an autorickshaw, with Kim hot on my heels, and we were whisked away.
Kim had wanted to go to the hotel with Sasha, Lindsay and Laura, an Irish girl who was the life and soul of the party - the very thing I didn’t feel like being around right at the moment. We trekked from one side of Chennai to the other looking for a hotel and every place we found was fully booked. After circumnavigating the city we eventually found a place down the street from everyone else. I was a happy man having hot water, cable T.V to keep me entertained, and an extremely comfortable full sized bed. I hadn’t eaten for two days, and for some reason seemed to crave coke-a-cola. I spent a long while standing under the hot shower whilst Kim was out hanging with her new friends. I started wondering where it was I picked up this infection and eventually thought back to the one time I had a drink from “apparently” filtered water in a restaurant in the Andamans. As a consequence I had been shitting blood for the last three days, not able to hold any food or water down and the most terrible constant stomach and head aches. After freshening up I went down to the store opposite the hotel and bought some Coke. It was the first thing that had gone into my system in two days and it felt great.
The next couple of days ambled by as I slowly recovered, I had bought some medicine from the chemist that proved to be working. The next few days consisted of wandering around Chennai or sitting in my hotel room and watching cable T.V. Each evening I would go to the next rooftop to meet Kim and the others for music and stories, and I was fortunate enough to hear the opening credits to Sasha and Lindsay’s film - a piece of poetry performed in unison by the two of them.
TRAVELLERS JOURNAL - BORACAY - Music to travel to...