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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I've finally been able to gather the energy (and willingness) to write this post about my trip to Machlipatnam. So like I mentioned in my last post, the omens weren't that good and boy did this trip turn out to be a lesson in mismanagement.

So, I book the tickets through the railways website and there aren't any available tickets to Machlipatnam. I look at the routing chart and find a couple of stops ahead of (or so I thought) Machlipatnam. It was simple, just get off at Machlipatnam. I was willing to pay more just to get the tickets. Lo and behold! There are available tickets and I quickly proceed to book them. At this point I'd like to mention that I think the railways has the shittiest website on the planet for a service of this magnitude.

I had to search, and search again dozens of times simply to find the right train, route, fare etc. And if that's not bad enough, it gets worse. While booking my return tickets, the site times out right after they take the payment out of my bank account. How convenient!

Though I mentioned all of this in my previous post, I'm writing it again to get all the frustration out of my system. Ahhhh. That feels better. In retrospect, it was better that we didn't get the return tickets because we simply took an A/C bus on our way back, which cost less and was comfortable.

Now, on to the trip. We wake up at 5:15am to learn that out train will never, in the near or far future, ever go to Machlipatnam with us in it. So we got down at this town called Maneguru (MMA has this really funny way of pronouncing it). We go to the bus stand and find out that there is no bus from this little town to Maneguru. But yes, there is a bus to Thiruvur, wherefrom we could board another bus to Machlipatnam. Fare enough, no pun intended.

We hopped on and got to Thiruvur in about an hour. We had breakfast, roamed the town a bit, rested ourselves.. and waited for the bus to Machlipatnam. The bus arrived at 9:30am. We boarded it and off we were.

The journey wasn't eventful. We reached our destination at 1:30pm. The first (smart) thing we did was to find out when the bus to Hyderabad leaves. Turns out, there's quite a few of them with the last one (A/C bus) leaving at 11:00pm. We were starving, so we asked a couple of locals and found this decent enough place that served good non-veg food. Veg was simply inadequate at that point. No offense intended to any of your veggies out there, and if you love non-veg you know what I mean ;-)

After treating ourselves to some tasty biryani and washing it down with drinks (non alcoholic if you ask) we headed straight to the beach. Lots of autos headed that way. Guy charged us 50 rupees to take us there.

When we finally got there, we could spot the waves from a distance. The first thing we noticed about the place was that there weren't many people there, which was surprising. I mean, here's probably the closest beach to Hyderabad and no one's interested in coming here. Anyhow, we walked towards the water and we could hear the sounds of the waves as we drew close.

I, for one, think that the sound of the waves hitting the shore is one of the most soothing sounds you can hear. We got close to the water and walked a short distance. We wanted to find an isolated spot where we could keep our bags and not worry about them. Finding such a place, we marched onwards to hopelessly challenge the might of the sea. And mighty it is.

I've literally been tossed about by the waves like a little baby and the feeling is at once enjoyable and intimidating. Words cannot describe the might, power, and endlessness of the seas and oceans. Those sailors who ventured out in to the oceans, not knowing where they were headed are truly brave souls.

We played in the water for a while, but the saltiness was very uninviting. We sat in the sand for a while and then decided on getting back to the town. That's when it hit me that we might as well just take the bus back to Hyderabad today. I mean, there was no point staying another night, then coming to the same beach. We'd save some money on the room. So we booked our tickets, had dinner and some very nice and different fruit juice. Then whiled our way until our bus arrived. We left Machlipatnam at 11pm and reached Hyderabad at 5am next morning.

It was a nice trip, a small adventure as my good buddy put it. We talked, walked, and balked on a few occasions too. It's nice and I imagine that we'll be visiting the place again.

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