Posted by: dalefaio | January 7, 2012

Leg 4 – Madurai to Tuticorin

This one was pretty straightforward as far as the drive goes with most of the 100 some odd KMs on the highway.  We got into Tuticroin in the mid afternoon and hustled around to find the answers to our challenges.  Tuticorin is a mid-sized fishing town (about 20oK) located in the far southern reaches of Tamil Nadu.  We sampled a little of the fish for lunch and it was delicious.  Cooked similar to the fish that we got at Puthur Mess, it was red with chili paste and judging from the shape of the steak was probably something similar to a mackerel.

The sites where we found the answers were, in name at least, as diametrically opposed as you can get.

–  What color is the ceiling at The Lady of the Snows Church?  And, who built it?

–  Find “Hitler’s Tea Stall?  Why the Hitler reference in southern India?  According to the chaiwala manning the stand when we snapped our pictures, “Hitler was a strong man, and we make strong tea.”  Okay… Gandhi was a strong man but maybe somebody already grabbed that name.

Dave in front of Hitler's Tea Stall

After checking in, we headed to the hotel’s permit room which was very dimly lit with red interiors.  After a couple of Vorion 6000 Super Strong beers and putting in a room service order, we chilled a little and then headed out for a night on the town “Tuticorin style.”  There are some things that you just know by first sight, sound, or smell.  It’s not because of anything that  your mom, dad, kindergarten teacher, or tour guide told you.  You just know.   The local bar where we went for our rounds of Old Monk and Pepsis was one of those places.  We walked into a dimly lit doorway, the Tamil speaking members of our party said a couple of words, an uneven looking guy pointed kind of upwards, we walked around a corner, up three flights of stairs in kind of a triangular configuration, and ended up on a rooftop that looked like its last power wash came sometime around never.  We pulled up a grimy table, some plastic chairs, and sat down down to drink two doubles each.  There was another table of locals besides us.  But other than that it was just us having a nice chat in sort of post-apocalyptic surroundings.  It was awesome!  This is the kind of place that I wanted to see in India.  The type of place where only the locals went.  It was way south of no frills, it was more likely anti-frills.

After a night cap at the Gymnasium Club where Jeremy made some new friends on the way to the bathroom, we wandered home through the late night streets and called it a night after a bite to eat (sambar, gobi masala, rice, and baratha).

Next stop, the lush hilly town of Courtallam.

Tuk and Roll




  1. Hitler’s tea stall, anti-frills, we’re loving your reports. (And such a nice contrast to “back to work in the new year” here in Seattle.)

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