You and I have two completely different ‘todays’ .. MY Saturday is your Friday the Taa-Daa 13th .. I am dating this as the 14th ..
Here in Pondicherry .. my ‘now’ is 2:40PM .. Saturday afternoon the 14th of January 2012 .. not that any of this matters one whit .. when I finally got into my hotel last night I was .. beyond being exhausted .. totally incapable of writing a post last night ..
Let’s go to the start of the train ride from New Delhi south to Chennai ..
I successfully boarded my train in New Delhi last Wednesday evening the 11th of January .. nice and early .. at 10:10PM .. the train pulled out .. on time .. at 10:30PM .. set your watch sharp ..
The moment that I walked into my cabin .. all of my bags with me .. struggling to begin to get settled .. kind of warm and sweaty .. it was trouble in River City .. the forty year old man in the berth below me began a rant that was to continue and a rant that was repeated for about forty five minutes .. the time it took for me to get settled into my upper berth ..
Will you take off your shoes .. you need to take off your shoes .. it is only right and proper that you take off your shoes .. it is the right thing to do to TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES ..
Well I certainly DID remove my shoes AFTER I got settled ..
But we two did not speak for the 34 plus hour duration of the trip south .. and the other people (a woman and her daughter .. her husband was across from us on the aisle and a very nice man) .. were kind of intimidated by the man below me and with his starting the trip ranting about my shoes being on my feet .. so it was NOT a particularly pleasant in-cabin-chemistry ..
The 34-hour journey encompassed two nights of sleeping on the train .. those night hours were nice since we were all asleep and no tension was present .. and when the man below me was out of the cabin .. the other folks and I certainly did speak to one another ..
I mention this friction because I don’t want any of you to think that each and every trip is a dream cruise .. do any of you remember the young man and his wife and baby .. on the train from New Delhi to Calcutta last September the 11th who thought I was going to remain in my upper berth the entire trip .. and the train conductor finally had to explain to him that .. during the day hours .. I had a right to sit up in the lower berth and look out the windows ..
Well .. this man.. saw to it that he was full out sleeping all day long .. occupying the lower berth .. I did sit on the far end corner of his bed for a short time and then spent hours between the cars .. with the train door open .. just enjoying the air and scenery .. and visiting with a lot of other passengers .
Onward .. we were only one hour late into Chennai .. phenomenal for a 34-plus-hour train trip in India .. pulling in at 8:35AM Friday morning January 13th .. your today and my distant yesterday ..
It was a task for me to find the Chennai Main Railway Station Foreign Tourist Booking Office but I finally found it .. it is a separate building next to the main station .. and here begins a nice story ..
When I got into the correct building .. and was asking people where the Foreign Tourist Booking Office was .. an elderly Indian lady .. standing at the elevators .. called out to me .. “COME ! it is on the second floor .. you follow me !” ..
I did .. up we went and she commanded me .. “Out here .. ” .. so I got out .. she got out and walking ahead of me commanded .. “This way .. follow me ! ” .. so I did .. into what was obviously the Foreign Tourist Booking Office we two went .. her leading the way .. me in tow .. she then veered off into the working part of the office again commanding me .. “Follow me !” .. and so I did .. into her private office ..
Long story short .. this lady was The Chief of the Foreign Tourist Booking Office and SHE .. at her private desk .. with me sitting comfortably in a chair at her desk and not being in any line .. personally took care of my re-booking the entire trip .. I cancelled my trip to Puri, Orissa and I cancelled my trip from Puri to Agra Cantt and re-scheduled my departure from Chennai North to Agra Cantt to the 13th of February ..
THEN .. as if what she had just done for me was not enough .. she gave me detailed instructions on what to do to get to Pondicherry .. INCLUDING WRITING the critical portions in the language of this state .. Tamil .. so I could show my directions to an auto ricksha man in his language .. Tamil .. AND the amount I was to pay the auto ricksha man when I got one .. 120 Rupees but NOT more than 150 Rupees ..
I had to go about ten kilometers from the Chennai Main Railway Station to the Chennai Main Bus Terminus .. an enormous facility .. gigantic ..
Sure enough .. I got an auto ricksha for 150 Rupees and off we went .. arriving at the bus terminal at 10:35AM .. and .. constantly asking people where to go .. I found the bus to Pondicherry .. Air Conditioned First Class Bus for only 190 Rupees ..
It was scheduled to leave at 11AM and did .. it was scheduled to arrive into Pondicherry at 2:30PM and it did .. three and one half hours on the bus after a 34-plus-hour .. two nights .. train ride ..
I got an auto ricksha to take me into the French Sector of Pondicherry and to take me to the beach .. he did .. and then the hunt for a room began ..
At the beach .. the one-night going rate for rooms varied from 11,000 Rupees all the way down to 4,000 Rupees .. I began to head East and South .. asking and asking and asking for rooms and the costs .. a block East and a block South .. diagonally moving into and through the French Section ..
FINALLY I found a room for ONLY 1,500 Rupees .. as I was about to start the signing-in-process .. I asked the desk manager .. is there an Internet Cafe close by .. he volunteered .. “Yes .. just up the street across from a guest house ” ..
Don’t ask me why I did not continue to sign in .. BUT .. I told him “I will be right back” and out the door with ALL of the bobbseys we went ..
And I found the Guest House he was talking about .. some Guest House .. a fifty seven room hotel ..
In we went (me and the bobbseys) and to that front desk we trudged .. you have to know I was beat down dog tired at this point ..
“Have you a room ?” .. “Yes we have” .. “The cost?” .. “Six Hundred Rupees” .. “Will you repeat that please?” .. “Six Hundred Rupees with attached bath ” .. then I had to ask the dreaded question but I asked it .. “Does it have a Western Style Toilet ?” .. “Yes” .. “May I see it please?” .. “Yes” ..
I saw the room and .. it did .. have a Western Style Toilet ..
So I took it .. I will post photos of my hotel and of my room at my photo web site .. http://bobbacaps.blogspot.com ..
Almost beside my hotel is a phenomenal super market and I bought water .. then I went out for a phenomenal dinner .. then I washed my clothes .. bathed me from head to feet .. then .. at 8:40PM .. I crashed .. and slept like the dead ..
This morning (my Saturday morning the 14th of January) I got up and when ready went to the Super Market for a detailed inspection of it .. and I got to talking with a young man from England about Pondi .. Jacob .. he told me about a real bakery with real bread .. and about his hotel .. and other options .. so off I went with Jacob and his girl friend .. and found another section of the inner Pondi French Secti0n and I may move into another hotel .. same price or maybe lower .. for a larger room ..
I got a nice round loaf of fresh baked Herbal Bread and back in my room .. I got out my olive oil and enjoyed my fresh Herbal Bread .. did more stuff and came out to post this ..
So ! I am in Pondicherry and I am settled .. I am on the ground and now plan to post some photos for you to look at ..
over and out with joy and with love .. cap ..
- JAN 11, 12 .. NEW DELHI
- JAN 16, 12 .. PONDICHERRY