Colombo was a sleepy little town compared to Chennai, thick smog, constant traffic, but I got on the local bus a few times - a first for me (they don't actually stop, just slow down to a crawl and you hop on, went to the train station and booked a ticket, used the train station washroom (surprising clean!) maybe asking about 8 people for directions and the day of, found my seat without having to ask anyone. All little adventures.
At the beach, young girls were running up to me to say hello, little kids turn and run from me. Have not seen that many north americans - only spoke to one who was on a tour - from Toronto but living in Cairo.
In Vellore, the people from SHARE (Self Help Assoc. for Rural Employment) picked me up, have been staying in their guest house and going for lunch and dinner to their homes. This association employs the ladies who make baskets and handicrafts that you seen in Ten Thousand Villages, they also ship to Europe. They take me around to the training sessions they provide (tailoring, accounting) where the ladies ask me questions. Villi, my chai buddy, comes every morning and we walk up to the Indian equivalent of a fast food joint for chai, he then brings me my breakfast - idli - that someone has prepared at their home. Yesterday they took me to the Sri N....... Golden Temple - sorry no cameras were allowed. Solid gold. They herded us into long caged walkways then into holding areas (300 per area; 5 areas)not unlike a prison, then more herding (with the occasional monkey overhead peeing on the crowd).
The people I was with hung on to me, and each other too. Was mesmerizing, also the reflection in the surrounding water, this is a major attraction for Indians as well.
Hopefully will get on the train Sunday morning (waitlisted at the moment) to Bangalore and then Mysore, all in one day if I can. If not, will get on the bus, maybe only to Bangalore. Have a cell phone and keeping in touch with Nick - love you and miss you lots.