Killing time in Pondicherry: DON’T LET BAGGAGE RUIN YOUR LIFE

Whilst we had a lovely few days in Pondicherry, our last day seemed totally against us.

First, an unfamiliar man knocks on our door at 9am, demanding to know why we hadn’t check out yet (to which we explained that we had been told checkout was 10.30am). after giving Brendan some attitude, we quickly got ready and were down in the reception in little more than half an hour later. It was a shame the other (nice) man who had been at the guesthouse every other day, wasn’t there, as I don’t think we’d have been greeted in the same rude manner. With our hearts sinking a little at the realisation that he would not allow us to leave our large ,heavy rucksacks at the guesthouse as planned while we walked around. (This was realised when our request was answered with him screaming in Tamil and pointing at the clock – a gesture which could maybe, kind of,almost, be understandable if we weren’t the ONLY people staying there and if there were ANYBODY waiting for a room to check into). So, we turned away, and walked out, although I admit I didn’t keep my cool as well as Brendan who managed to bite his tongue before departing.

Having nowhere to leave our luggage on this delightfully hot, sunny day, they trudged around with us. having decided that it would be lovely to have breakfast by the breezy, picturesque seafront, we ventured by rickshaw, to Le Cafe. About to seat ourselves, we were ushered outside with the insistance that we order before we enter the cafe. Annoying and persistent as this guy was, we ignored him, wanting to put our bags down before sitting and reading the menu. We walked past him, bags in tow, and sat at the front. Bliss. When we realised that the waiter’s job was not to serve our food, but was merely to stand and walk around, we collected our sporadically prepared breakfast, which we found to have been sitting out for some time, unbeknownst to us. And after waiting an hour, we finally gave up hope on receiving the coffees we paid for, and plodded on.

The following 3 hours were spent sitting in another cafe, though one where customer service could not have been flawed, and the fact that they had WIFI killed time deliciously. Whle Brendan skyped home, I went to explore the nearby boutique style shops in hope of finding another pair of trousers and a tshirt so that I could finally take off the ones I’d warn constantly for 5 hot, sweaty days, including on an 8 hour overnight bus ride, and a train ride.

The first shop I approached was closed so I opened the door of another, to find tht it was only a jewellery shop. Not wanting to offent the man who was so excited at having a customer, and after he so certainly declared he wouldn’t “push” me into buting anything, and offered me a cup of chai, I continued to step inside and marvelled at all the jewellery I either didn’t want or couldn’t afford. Despite his best efforts to entice me into buying his shiniest diamond or ruby or sapphire rings over tea, I declined and on my way out her embraced me in a very strong hug.

In the third shop, I looked through a whole spectrum of colourful trousers in different styles, colours, patterns and fabrics. Picking out 8 that I wanted to try on, I looked for the changing room – of course there was none – and I was whipping my clothes off and on behind a small pillar, which failed to shield me as the shopkeeper walked around the shop organizing his fabrics and garments. In the end, I purchased one pair of overpriced trousers and one overpriced plain tshirt. I felt refreshed though at having a new, simple, comfortable, CLEAN outfit to wear at last.

I went to meet Brendan, who then went for a walk and returned on the back of a local’s motorbike just as I was finishing a skype session with my mum. Realising how long we’d stayed at LB2, we decided to retreat and find something else to do, though remaining restricted with our bags. I collected my pre-purchased contact lenses, and went to check on the puppy we had met the night before in the middle of the road, wincing in pain as it’s stomach wretched. Seeing him this day much more content and playful, I felt such relief and we headed to Pizza Hut where we unnecessarily devoured our killing-time meals, despite not being hungry.

All in all we learnt that;

  1. Never allow baggage to ruin you life! (It totally ruined our last day)
  2. Killing time is expensive.

Thankfully, as night came whilst we sat on the lit-up promenade, we agreed it was an acceptable time to make our way to the bus stop where we would disembark for Madurai, enjoying a comfortable, curtained doubled bed on board (non-AC sleeper).

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