happnin' mamallapuram, India - first beach

Yolanda’s bit
Lakshmi Lodge is a nice friendly hotel 2mins from the beach. It's a pretty safeish town where everyone is quite laid-back, even shop owners!.
We go to the beach everyday, have a few dips in the very wavy sea, enjoy the wonderful seafood and the dance festival.
We haven't been able to access Internet or e-mail since Bombay and finally got a reply from Aki (Belgium Sony man) saying he'd send us a replacement for little Vaio while ours gets repaired in UK. Fantastic! We may extend our stay here a few days after New Year.

Tomorrow is the so talked about Millennium day and we'll have a party at the hotel with life tabla music, magicians, cobra fighting, lots of nice seafood and free cocktail! It won't be as full on as Goa 2000 but who wants that anyway?

Nothing in town seems to indicate there's a new Millennium coming tomorrow. Everyone seems to be having fun on the beach or chilling out in the shadow of cafes and palm trees. Same as usual.
I wonder how's the Y2K madness going in busy-busy London.

It's one week in 2000 now and… what happened?

Party was great. Crazy magic tricks of this bloke swallowing and spitting stones in between scary noises. Snakes pretty doped but still impressive. Viewers taking pictures from the safe height of their chairs.
Within minutes the circus arena became an open air restaurant with tables and chairs for everyone (around 100 people). Fish, prawns, crab and rice were served and the rum-fruits cocktail. Sound system on. Everyone was cheery. Getting drunk.

Some of the Indians working at the hotel sat at our table chatting. They were completely drunk! Which is rare for Indians. The sweet furry animal one was really funny as someone who is drunk for the first time and we were shocked to know that he hadn't had anything to eat. Dinner was over and it was late so we brought down some biscuits that him and others devoured. One of them was making his three year old kid try all kinds of alcohol available so "he knows what it is". Educational.

Just after midnight I watched at my Greenwich count down millennium watch. It went 00 and then started to count up 1, 2, 3, ...
Miles and I went to say Hello Happy New Year to everyone and started dancing around the huge fire, built up from the palm trees around, with a whole lot of Indians that contorted like devils. Fun, fun, fun.

Around 2am we escaped to the beach. There was a big party going on there, pretty packed. We laid down in one of the numerous beached wooden fishing boats and became the center of attention of loads of young Indians who, with the excuse of the New Year, approach to meet "the westerners" and try to kiss the girls.
Then crashed out.

We ended up staying one more week in what I later thought of as a fairy tale toy town where everything is nice, colorful, happy, perfect.

The beach. Your skins burns in half hour, specially coming from a loooooooong time in London. We discovered the 2 huge straw umbrellas pitched in the middle of the beach and we got refuge under them when it got too much.

"Want to buy drum?" and there they go, playing it very well really, with that special trick they do with their fingers and looks so easy and it sounds like a string instrument with an echo. "Cherry wood, camel skin, good price, it's your lucky day". And "tap, tap, tap tapatatap, drooooooooing..."
When one of them comes to you, he sits down (as you keep saying "no, no, thank you, it's very nice but I don't want a drum") by your side no matter if you're reading, sunbathing or talking to your friend. After five minutes you have a few other ones around you who also want to sell you drum.
Then join colorful and cheerful women selling bedspreads and lungis (sarongs) who also sit next to you and even if you say no, no, I don't want to buy anything, all of them stay there stuck for ages chatting with you. Some are fun to talk to.
You start to see, in the distance, disseminated colorful bunches of Indians gathered around disseminated white tourists. And you smile to yourself. They are part of the beach, always there.

I bought a huge 3 persons hammock for Miles, looking forward to trying it! made by some hippy New Zealand girl who's been living in India for 3 years!
Few other westerners - mainly French - have settled down in the town with restaurant/shop business. In "Nautilus", nice cafe with very nice punch run by this very nice French bloke, there used to be this German spooky bloke all dressed and painted as Krishna. He used to sit at his table in the evenings, have lots of coffees and cigarettes and look at everything and everyone from the corner of his eyes with a devilish smile. Didn't talk much. He was doing India again but living in the Philippines since a while.
We are not being too sociable so far, neither unsociable. We take it as it comes. We're reading lots of books, I was missing that since ages, and getting quite addicted to playing chess. The sun, the food, people, places, landscape make us happy but it's time to move on.

Miles’s bit