Unexpectedly successful weekend trips have to be among the best things in life, no? One such trip was had last weekend to Pondicherry, er..Puducherry. But let's just stick with the former name. Anyway, this trip happened as a diversion to a rather stressful three days in Chennai.
One noisy, LOUD Tamil-song filled bus trip was all it took to get to Pondy. A smashing colonial-style hotel was the place of stay. The staff here was not only charming, they also spoke perfect French! Friend, who claimed to have had four years of French classes in his youth, found that he could not even summon up enough French to translate Chicken 65 (it ended up as Chicken 69). He also loudly proclaimed that he felt slapped when the front-desk girl chatted in fluent Francaise about postcards with a French tourist.
Anyhow, the streets in the French quarter are home to many very sweet dogs and rows of pastel-colored houses with lush bougainvillea in pink and white. And these streets are very quiet relatively early at night. This did not prevent friend and me from traipsing down them, sometimes ringing doorbells at random after having swigged several healthy shots of rum and coke at the obliging cafe in the hotel.
Pondy was also historic in that it was the site where for the first time in my life I seriously thought there was a ghost in my room. The ghost made strange tapping/hissing sounds and then dripped some water on the floor. In my slightly inebriated state at about 3 am in a fitful sleep, I became convinced that a drowned girl named Jasmine was in my room. Fortunately, Jasmine obligingly turned out to be a faulty AC and then left me alone.
Also, I took some truly award-worthy shots of a man meditating against the backdrop of a Bay of Bengal sunrise. Reproduced here, though, is the work of a slightly less-gifted artist.
In the end, Pondy made even Chennai fun. Strange things do happen.