My train arrived around 7:30 am. Prashanth picked me up around 8:30 am, and we headed straight from the train station to Pollachi. The total trip took about 13 hours. Ridiculous, I know, but we stopped for food along the way and got some printing done.
Prashanth did the driving, and I did my best to look for signs. I also managed the music, playing songs off my iPod, which was running low on batteries. We stopped in Salem for lunch. Prashanth had done some type of schooling out there, and he spent some time driving his big Jeep through small streets to look for this one particular restaurant. Prashanth hadn’t been back to Salem in years, and he said that the streets looked kind of the same yet kind of different. The restaurant was never found, so we went to this very nice hotel for lunch and chowed down on butter chicken and sweet lime soda.
We got our 200 surveys printed at a shop in Salem, too. Lesson learned: if you want to do printing, go to a large shop. The tiny ones over charge. The shop we went to was pretty good, except they printed our color pictures on A3 paper and cut them in half. The person who did the cutting was quite inefficient. I guess I’d be okay with that if the quality were up to par, but it wasn’t. After printing, we stopped by a stationery store to buy a stapler, sheet protectors, and pens. Prashanth requested his favorite cheap pen: the FineGrip Cello. Note taken.
Prashanth said that Tamil Nadu’s roads are relatively nice compared to the rest of the country. I was still freaked out by parts of the drive, though, especially when it got dark. There was a lot of construction, and sometimes the wide roads turned into two-way roads. When we wanted to pass a slow bus or truck, we’d pass on the right … and be driving into another cars’ headlights for a brief moment of time. Prashanth is a great driver, though, and we made it to Pollachi safely.
I will say that the drive was also quite gorgeous. Tamil Nadu is luscious. There is green everywhere. Here’s a picture of the road at dusk. It was pink and dusty.