A Travellerspoint blog

Pondicherry and points south...

...in search of the French...

semi-overcast 31 °C

...to carry on where I left off in Chennai, the dancing and music was excellent and a good time was had by all...we had great seats in the balcony and saw the whole thing in good detail...Indian dance is very colourful and quite intricate, the story being told with gestures and expressions whilst the musicians play and sing in the background...

...the following morning we took a taxi from the hotel to Auroville, 150 km to the south...usual hectic ducking and diving through the hordes of other road users (cows, goats and dogs included)...nothing we're not used to by now...there was rain on the way down, too, our driver seemed to wish to preserve his windscreen wipers so added another hazard to an already hazardous experience - that of not being able to see out of the windscreen!...we arrived at Sadhana Forest where we were intending to stay for a month and plant trees, however, we weren't overly impressed by the lack of friendly overtures on the part of the hosts, or anyone else come to that...it seemed to me to be a kind of jolly-hockey-sticks cum boy scout camp with over a hundred youngish people living 'the life'...can't say as I am all that into communal living on that scale and it rained stair rods while we were there which didn't help...off we went to a place called Repos beach where we found ourselves a, relatively, beach-side room in what must be the expensive end of town...the beach was lovely but, sad to say, the male poplulation use it as a giant toilet, squatting down in front of people and dumping their last meal without any kind of embarrassment...they don't even have the nouse to dig a hole and bury their offerings afterwoods...cats do!...a comparison to be drawn here...

...a couple of days of that then we moved to Pondicherry...an interesting town which requires more time to discover its possibilities than we gave it...the French quarter seemed to be dirtier than the Indian side, curiously...went to a 'rock' concert and listened in dismay as House of the Rising Sun was horribly massacred by an enthusiastic Indian group...they didn't do much for Hey Jude, either...met with Rob, a young Australian who is living in Pondy and running a sub-aqua and water sports centre...he is on couchsurfing.com so I knew him from there...we even somehow or other managed to find ourselves in the middle of the funeral of an Roman Catholic Indian woman who arrived in a van in an open coffin!...shock, horror...the musicians who preceded her to the cathedral were playing so joyfully that we had thought it was a parade!...

...to be continued...

Posted by nantic 21:49 Archived in India Comments (0)

Time to catch up...

...strangers in a strange land...

semi-overcast 28 °C

...Well, what can I say!...we arrived in Mumbai at 6a.m in the morning of the 29th December and encountered a world of chaos!!!...the most positive thing I can say about Mumbai is that, after two days there, everywhere else we have been has been easy by comparison...there is no way to describe the constant noise, movement, smell of Mumbai...rumour has it that Delhi and especially Calcutta are worse...if that's the case then I shall avoid both!...there are a huge number of stray dogs everywhere and quite a few 'pampered pets'...a curious canine caste system seems to exist between the doggy 'haves' and the doggy 'have-nots'...

...from Mumbai we took the train to Hyderabad...here there was a parting of the ways when one of our number went his own way...another lesson learned with regard to being careful with whom one chooses to travel (for those concerned who understood what was going on! - 'nuff said)...strangely few dogs wandering the streets here, only saw two puppies...

...we three continued on our way towards Auroville stopping off at Chennai...here we found a very comfortable and reasonably priced hotel (the New Woodlands Hotel, thanks to Melissa whom I met on the train) where we immediately availed ourselves of the shower!...three days acquired grime hit the drainage system...oh, the joy of being clean!...then a bit of a rest to rejuvenate before plunging into the hustle and bustle of Chennai (north-east Chennai to be exact) where we did a 'tour' of the sights with an auto-rickshaw driver who had accosted us earlier on...the 'tour' consisted of being driven to various places where the driver got commission from our presence if not our purchases...we had a bit of a barney with a guide at the temple of Shiva when we refused to give him the 20 euros he demanded (having already paid for the privilege of having a prayer said for the family) and we parted on bad terms!...a case of the biter bit, perhaps...after that we visited a couple of shops then back to the hotel where the driver tried to wheedle more than the agreed fare of 50 rupees out of us...no joy there, I'm afraid, as we are getting the hang of things at last...

...so, provided we get a taxi tomorrow, we shall leave here having seen very little but enough perhaps to be going on with...whether I shall return here on another occasion remains to be seen as Chennai seems to have very little in the interesting-things-to-see department...we are going to see traditional Indian dance this evening so may be it will have been more than just a so-so visit...not many dogs here, either...strange...

...to be continued, hopefully on more frequent basis...internet in India can be even more flaky than in France...

Posted by nantic 03:53 Archived in India Comments (0)

Christmas day and all's (possibly) well...

...snow, snow, go away...come again another day - preferably after the 28th!...

sunny 2 °C

...well, it snowed during the night of the 23/24 and I woke up to a winter wonderland which, under normal circumstances, I would have found positively lovely...however, with only a few days to blast-off I found it intensely irritating instead...the horror stories from Heathrow where thousands were stranded and the latest report from Charles de Gaulle airport where many put together an impromptu christmas day (father christmas even put in a special appearance for the little ones, now how cool is that!), have made the last few days quite stressful...but, ZEN...all will be what it will be...I just wish I didn't have to worry about a client's swimming pool which has decided to spring a leak and needs sorting out before I can leave with a clear conscience...ah me, these things are sent to try us - and they surely do!!!...

...anyway, the next entry on this blog will be from somewhere other than here...I am almost 'on the road again'...not long now...merry christmas to all and a very happy new year...

Posted by nantic 07:26 Archived in France Comments (0)

Still very cold here in the mornings...

...fingers crossed it doesn't snow again!...

semi-overcast 14 °C

...here we are with just nine days to blast off from Monpazier...now decided to go on the 27th just in case there are problems en route...probably a wise precaustion...also, we shall be able to leave the car with my friend Gabriel in a nice heated garage, safely under lock and key...one less thing to worry about...then onto a train and schlepp across Paris to the airport for an uncomfortable night on the floor!...at least we will be in time for the airplane that way...

...be so good to get away from this interminable cold weather and share in some of the 30' C over in Mumbai...looking forward to meeting with my 'e' friend Arif, whose wife is just about to have their first baby, way to go Arif...

...well, back to worrying about what I am going to forget to take with me that I absolutely won't be able to live without...

Posted by nantic 07:04 Archived in France Comments (0)

Seriously cold weather...!

...time to fly away...

sunny -2 °C

...well, it's decidedly cold here now and I can't wait to get on the 'plane and head for the sub-continent!...there's a bitter wind blowing through the streets of Monpazier, keeping people indoors despite the valiantly shining sun and blue, blue sky...let's hope conditions improve and that we don't get snowed in like we did last year around about this time...

Posted by nantic 07:53 Archived in France Comments (0)

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