Published: February 25th 2007February 25th 2007
The train trip here was a good experience...I had lazed around the hotel a little before leaving Madurai and I was in the mood to travel. After a short exchange with a rickshaw driver I chose to walk to the train station ,a 5 minute walk that he had wanted 20rupees for .It felt like I was heading out to conquer the world!!Mind you I was doing that in 2ndclass reserved AC ...no hardship there .
I really enjoyed the journey. We went through farming country most of the way. Plains actually ...where there were grains of varying kinds being grown and crops at very different stages of development. I recognized wheat about to be cut ,some had already been stooked and in one area it looked to me that they were winnowing. People sitting in a half circle throwing the cut ends in the air and the chaff blowing into a pile beside where they were working and a pile in the middle getting larger. I should clarify that the fields ranged in size equal to My garden up to the size of Roger's garden. ,separated by a small mound of dirt. It was VERY well tended .In some areas the plots were flooded and women were planting rice...in there saris rolled up to their knees...the mud was up to their calves! In harvested fields there were often animals ,goats , cows and in one area black boars foraging. There was always a person around to keep an eye on them. It kept me interested for the 6 hour journey.
I arrived in Villapuram , the Pondi Junction too late for a connecting train so Hopped on a local bus to the cheers of a group of young people going home from the Polytec .They stowed my suitcase under their seat and the young women guarded my back pack. I got to stand for the first 1/2 hour which was OK once I got BUS legs...I sat the last 1/2 hour and the young man (@18)I was sitting beside had some english and was a bit concerned that I was travellling alone .Before he got off he gave me his cell phone number in case I had any problems...
as I often say people are kind.
Pondicherry is VERY busy right now celebrating an anniversary at the ashram...guest houses and hotels are full!!!I am very fortunate that Kersten had arrived here and had gotten a doubleroom at the ashram guesthouse the 2nd day she was here ..after staying at an expensive hotel the first night.. It is right on the Bay of Bengal with a lovely garden complete with GRASS to walk on . I met her there when I arrived and after a patient wait of 2 hours ...actually we went and had supper a GREEN SALAD!!...they gave me permission to stay.It has several rules and the gates lock at 10:30 but the price can not be beat...300 rupees for 2 people...
I have enjoyed her company .
Pondicherry is a Union Territory governed by the Government of India. It had been a french enclave for @250 years and touts the fact that it was the 2nd planned city of India. We are staying in the European area , eating french food and strolling along wide streets with many trees and buildings that are quite european.The steet signs are all in french!. There are a LOT of tourists here from everywhere including other parts of India. The Ashram is a major draw as is a place called Auroville...an international community about 15kms from here.Across the canal is the Indian side. At one time it had been divided into 3 for the tamils , the Christians and the muslims .Those boundaries have melded over the years .It is an interesting place. Yesterday I did a city and area tour that went from 9:30 -4:30 ,for 110Rupees! It was interesting to see the countryside and pleasant to just go along for the ride.
The sun here is really hot and it is best to get out of it mid day. Evenings the breeze off the bay is wonderful ... a slow fan is all that is need at night. I have enjoyed the time here .
Tomorrow I am off again this time to Mamalapuram for a few days. I can't decide how much time if any that I want to have in Chennai but know I have to head out to the airport in the evening on Mar2nd for my flight to Dubai...I' ll have to decide soon i guess.
Hope all is well with you and yours...