Here we are in Pondicherry (or Puducherry as it is now known), and the promised cheap alcohol has happened - 140 rupees for a large bottle, which is less than $3.
Pondy as it is known is a former French colony but about the only French thing remaining is the street names, which are all Rues and Boulevards. The French cooking has a definite Indian flavour, with a few croissants thrown in.
We wandered down to the beach front to find somewhere for lunch, and then decided to walk along the road to find the museum, which turned out to be closed as it was Monday. As it was so hot we hailed a tuk tuk and agreed on a price for him to take us to the major sights. We had only been planning to go out for lunch, so I had left my camera back at the hotel - no pictures today.
First stop was the petrol station where he put a litre of petrol in the tuk tuk and asked us for an advance on his money so he could pay for it. From there we visited Sri Aurobindo Ashram, a hot house of yoga and meditation since 1926. We walked through the flower lined paths in silence so we didn't disturb the inmates and then found our tuk tuk again. Our driver did not speak much English, just dropped us at the front gates of the buildings and told us their names. It soon became clear that everything was closed and would not open again until 4pm - it was around 2.30pm at the time and we were very hot. Eventually we just asked him to take us back to the hotel.
In the evening a group of us went out for dinner at a nearby restaurant. Very nice meal, with a glass of Indian wine too which was quite drinkable. After dinner some people went back to the hotel and the rest of us adjourned to a bar across the road for a few more drinks. We had the funniest experience on the way home - we hailed two tuk tuks and had just set off when one of them ran out of petrol. Our resourceful Indian driver was not fazed, he just drove up behind the dead tuk tuk, put his foot firmly on its rear and pushed it all the way home! Hilarious!
Tomorrow we leave for Mahabalipuran, and reach Chennai the following day - the end of this leg of the trip.