Batch's Blog travel blog

Some crazy guy is keeping an elephant in the street

Today i caught an early morning bus from the town of many m's to Pondicherry further south on the coast.

Pondicherry (which the Indians call Puducherry and is shortened to Pondi - does nowhere round here just have one name??) is supposed to be a wee pocket of france in India. Dissapointingly, like France, it is full of French people - which goes someway to explaining the standoffish nature of other travellers and the amount of cigarette buts lying around.

I'm staying in the Park Guest House in a room with a balcony looking out over the Coromandel coast and very nice it is too. The Guest House, like most of the accomodation here it seems, is run by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Sri Aurobindo apparently started off life as a freedom fighter in Calcutta. When he became an outlaw he retreated to French owned Pondicherry and started up an Ashram - peace, love, yoga, muesli for breakfast, that sort of thing.

On walking round Pondi reveals itself to be very open for an Indian town, but then again it was mostly built by the frogs. Oddly everybody appears to be sleeping. Apart from the richshaw drivers that is. They are wide awake pursuing their two favourite hobbies of caroms and harrassing tourists.

Some of the streets are so French that i momentarily forget that i'm in India and take my eyes off my feet. Thats when i step in a very large cow pat. Stepping in a cow pat with flip flops on is an interesting sensation but not one that i plan to repeat anytime soon - give it a go and you'll see what i mean - you slide quite a long way...

In the evening i get to eat coq au vin - it actually does taste like coq au vin - i also bump into the Norwegian couple whom i met on the film set. They tell me that i've picked up a very good tan from the days filming. A very diplomatic race the Norwegians.

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