|I've met many wonderful people here. There are lots of european travelers here but they keep to themselves and I'm just fine with that.
I've already mentioned Gilligan.
Then there's the gas man, who sits on the corner with water bottles full of gas. I paid Rs 100 to fill up the scooter and ever since then, he waves to me and smiles as I drive past.
Paul runs the restaurant at Palm Beach Lifestyle Resort. He spent 8 years in America and ran two Punjabi restaurants and even a Tony Roma's. He is from Punjab and comes down here to work and returns home in the off-season. He has the widest smile and says that life is beautiful. I agree. He has three young children and a wife in Punjab. He gave me his home address and said that he will host me when I come to Punjab. :) He asked me about Temple Square. I found that very random that he would know of such a thing.
The owner of the hotel is 65 years old and used up his retirement money to build this place. He also got a silent partner to put up some of the money. His daughter does the laundry and cleans the rooms. His wife is somewhere, but I don't think I've met her. It's fun to just sit down and talk with him. He shares my distaste for "Delhi-heads" as he calls them. He wants me to come manage the hotel for him for 2 months when he returns home with his family. That is a very tempting request!
The fisherman who took me on the dolphin trip was so happy to take me. He had to haul his motor from his house and bring gas tanks. It was a community effort pushing the boat to the water. They roll it on wooden planks. I wanted to help but I think I would have just been in the way. He fishes for sardines and other small fish. I think he had already gone out in the morning before we met at 7am. I had met him on the beach the day before and arranged for the trip. We decided to meet "by the big tree." At 7am when I arrived, there he was getting everything ready. I am so glad I showed up... When I paid him at the end, he smiled wide and said "This makes me very happy."
I'm off to Chennai where my friend Senthil will meet me. We met a few years ago on a cruise to Mexico; he was working on the boat as a chef. How unlikely, that I would meet someone in Mexico who I would later connect with in southern india. I sort of have a way of meeting random people in random places. We've kept in touch since meeting and I am looking forward to seeing Pondicherry (his home town that is a former French colony) with a local. Pondicherry is about 3 hours south of Chennai. I'm including some pictures of Agonda and Palolem.