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Patti's Passages’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 09 Sep 2006

Location: Pondicherry, India

MapI'm in Pondicherry now. Those who've read "Life of Pi" may recognize the city name. It's not quite what I expected. Divya told me that Pondicherry still has a lot of the French Colonial influence. We did have French food for lunch at Rendezvous and there are street signs in French & Tamil, but still not quite what I was expecting. Definitely the eastern side of the canal of more French than west of the canal.

We took the cramped public bus down from Chennai last night. The bus lef the station at 6 pm, but we didn't arrive in Pondichery until after 10 pm. So much for it being a 3 hour trip. We took an autorickshaw to the first hotel in Lonely Planet. It wasn't a bad hotel, but they only had availability until 8 am the next morning! Divya was too tired (and I was cranky) to look for another place. Hotel Surguru wasn't bad and it was clean with marble floors and bathroom. We set our alarm for 7 am this morning, as we'd have time to get up and get ourselves together before we were kicked out. After talking to reception desk this morning, they told us we could stay in the room until noon, but they still didn't have a free room for tonight.

We decided to take the Heritage Walk and see what hotels we could find along the way. The beach & Bay of Bengal was beautiful as always, but it wasn't much fo a beach. It's more of big rocks and larger waves. We continued our walk and came across the Park Guest House. This is somewhere I had noticed and considered from LP. We checked if they had available room and if we could see the room. The room overlooked a small green space, and beyond that the ocean! (or is it bay?) We were statisfied with the room. We had to hurry and get back to Hotel Surguru to pick up our luggage so we could make it back to Park Guest House to give our laundry over to be washed. Hotels here have cheap next day return on laundry- but if you're not staying more than one night anyplace, it makes it hard to get the laundry done. I have washed some of my underclothes and air-dried them, but I haven't attempted to wash my pants or shirts yet. I don't think it's hot enough to dry them in the hotel room before we move on.

I'm hot now. There's a/c and a fan in this internet place, but it's not quite doing the trick. I was trying to find a small bag to buy. I need to find a way to rearrange my luggage. I have my backpack, which is working fine, but now I've taken to carrying stuff around in the bag I brought to protect the backpack when traveling. My waist-pouch bag that came with the backpack is too hot to wear, but it's all I have for daily trips. I was hoping for a smallish bag to either pack my souvenirs in or a different bag I can use daily.

We finally figured out the plan for the rest of my trip. I can't believe half my trip is gone. On the one hand time has gone quickly; on the other we've done so much and we still have a lot left to do. After Pondicherry, we'll continue exploring Tamil Nadu. We'll go to Mamallapuram tomorrow morning and see the rock carved temples and regular temples. We catch a late afternoon flight from Chennai to Madurai. I can't wait to see the Sri Meenakshi temple. Divya says it's one of the best. The next day we take the night train to Kollam in Kerala. We have two nights to make our way up to the airport near Kochin. Thursday morning, we fly to Bangalore, the IT capital of India. We have two and half days and two nights to see Bangalore and take the 3 hour trip to see the Maharaja's Palace in Mysore. Saturday afternoon, I catch flight back to Delhi from Bangalore. Then I get to wait a couple hours at the Delhi airport before getting on my midnight flight back to Chicago. I'll be back in San Francisco 10 am on Sunday the 17th. It's going to be a packed week, but it'll be worth it. We took it slow to start with, spending 4 nights in Delhi, now it's time to get a move on. To see Tamil Nadu. To see Kerala