• Bus ride to Pondicherry
• Bicycle around Pondicherry
• The cleanest city I have seen in India
The bus rise is uneventful except that I manage to get on the right bus. Eighty kms for fifty cents – can’t be bad. Ands one other thing, it pours with rain and I think I am stuck in a monsoon!
But the sun comes out as we pull into Pondicherry and what do I see but a real bus station. OK, an auto-rickshaw and we start at 100 Rupees. “Sod off”, I say and start to walk away and I get them down to 50.
First to the Tourist Office and he’s great and recommends an Ashram so off I walk and wow, it’s brilliant! It’s a whopping $15 but no TV and no phone but who cares plus I get A/C. So I am here for three days until my twelve hour train trip to northern India on Wednesday.
I decide to rent a peddle bike and ride around the centre of the city and its fun. And there’s a Baskin Robbins and a single scoop of my favourite, Pralines and Cream is more than in Canada!
But the highlight is only what I can put down as the French legacy. It’s absolutely spotless AND would put Vancouver to shame. I only see one cow, a few dogs and no feces anywhere. Even with all the signs about keeping Pondicherry clean, there’s a sense of pride here.
The city is divided into two: The French Quarter and the Indian Quarter. The French Quarter is as one would picture a French colony: it is a little bit France here. The streets are laid out in a grid and it’s easy to navigate particularly when it’s sunny. The roads and avenues have beautiful trees planted on the sidewalks and it’s a delight just to be.
Back to the Ashram and there are people meditating on a small grassy park in front of my room. And just past the grass is the Bay of Bengal and the sound of the waves are both stimulating and peaceful.