17 June 2011
We left on the 11.45pm sleeper bus from Bangalore to Pondicherry on Friday after work. Four guys and two girls. It was 9hrs of bumpy road and at some point in the night I could feel the bus swerving near oncoming traffic, going through the potholes and taking sharp turns. All in all, I’m glad to say we arrived in Pondicherry safe and sound at 7.30 in the morning. We decided to go check in our hotels and freshen up before heading out into town. We could immediately feel the heat even in the early morning hours. I’m quite thankful that the guys were pretty prepared with their itinerary of things to do over the weekend. So the first stop was Le Cafe, a little French cafe on the promenade overlooking the sea. After a light breakfast there, we decided to go into town and see some of the recommended sights. First stop was the Botanical Gardens which was just a few streets up. There the guys got to feature in some photo shoots with the locals – one of many to come. Then it was time to see the main bazaar and I must say, it’s much the same as any other bazaar, except way hotter and busier. From there we headed towards the temple and were pleasantly surprised by a real live elephant. By then it was lunch time and we decided to go back to our hotel, freshen up yet again because already we were perspiring through our clothes. After having an average lunch there, we took a couple of auto rickshaws and headed towards Auro Beach. Now, I was not expecting to even go to Pondicherry much less the beach so I did not bother to bring my cossie. But when we arrived on the beach, it was so hot I was tempted to go in. I must say, I resisted for a while but the guys spurred me on and one of them was kind enough to lend me his board shorts while he went in with his boxers. Hee hee… but the locals were doing much the same so you could say we fitted in. The water was AMAZINGLY warm and after a good hour or so of frolicking in the waves with my friends, it was time to head back onto the beach and dry up. It was also a bit odd that there were just mainly men on the beach and at one point they would keep staring at us.
Later, we decided to treat ourselves to some good food at this restaurant in White Town called Satsanga. The food was well worth it. We then decided to look for a bar nearby but as usual everything closes in India around 11.30pm so after having a few drinks there, we decided to continue the party in the hotel room. Good times indeed.
18 June 2011
The next morning, the rest of our group arrived and we decided to visit the ashram. We then had breakfast on the Promenade again and then decided to head off to Auroville, just 15km north of Pondicherry. This place is apparently a community of more than 40 nationalities living together around some gaudy gold dome. I personally think it’s a cult. It feels like a cult. It felt as though I was on the set of Lost. There were so many things that was creepy about that place. Anyway, that aside, we had a great time there nonetheless but I can’t imagine how anyone could live there for long. It all felt so artificial amidst all the that is around it. We had lunch there which was great. A good lazy Sunday afternoon lunch with a bunch of friends to end our trip to Auroville. Half of us decided to go back to the hotel to then freshen up, shower and nap before heading for dinner and the bus which left at 10pm while the others decided to go to the beach for one last time. Apparently they got even more attention this time around. So after everyone had showered, we headed off for our last meal in Pondi at this restaurant called Rendezvous. Again, the food was amazing. In summary, I’m glad I made an impromptu decision to go to Pondi with the guys. I wasn’t expecting much but it ended up being one of the most fun and interesting weekend trips in a long time. Good company = good times! Can’t wait to get on that train to Hampi this Friday with them again – woo hoo.