DAY 2: HONK, HONK, HONK!
Today I feel much, much better. Yesterday was epic. After a long day of rain and weariness, I went to dinner at place Lonely Planet recommended called Satsanga. They are known for their variety of Continental cuisine, but most of that seemed a little too adventurous (and expensive) for my queasy stomach and first-day palate. So I got a vegetable curry and pot of hot herb tea with honey. A lovely garden surrounds the restaurant, but it was raining so I tucked into a corner and pulled out mom’s Kindle and started reading Julia Child’s My Life in France. This seemed particularly appropriate, Pondy being a French settled port town.
When I returned to the room, I turned the air con up and the fan off. I fear Asian fans, they have no “low” setting, just a really high one that whips around at dangerous speeds on what looks like a poorly constructed hanger and you wonder if maybe it could fall off and decapitate you in your sleep.
I decided to sleep in my yoga pants and long sleeves since the bed was questionable and there was no sheet or blanket. I dabbed more lavender oil on my skin, and found it to be very relaxing to smell it as I drifted off to sleep. I think I may become obsessed with lavender oil.
I used the eye mask I got on the plane (that’s one thing I forgot but totally recommend, since a lot of light filters into the room). I also used earplugs to block out the HONK HONK HONK from the street and clash and clang of dishes. Ear plugs are awesome. I slept, with a little tossing and turning, from 8pm through 8am.
This morning I checked out, after accidentally putting some tap water on my toothbrush out of habit, quickly spitting it out of my mouth and removing the “infected” toothpaste, rinsing the brush and my mouth with bottled water, and trying again. Whew.
Though Lonely Planet recommends the Ashram Hostels, I found the people who run them to be less than friendly. It seems they could care less if you stay there, as they have such a high volume of people passing through. I tried again at the Park Guest House (the first Ashram one I tried the day before) and she told me they might have availability, I should come back at noon. It was 9:30am and I had a large pack on my back. Come back and noon? And go where with my huge pack?
I moved to a different hostel called Kailash Guest House. This one’s more expensive but clean and the guy was very nice and helpful. After a little debate, he let me stay in a double room for the price of a single room. I insisted and almost walked – I simply couldn’t afford to pay more.
***That’s one piece of advice I have: don’t be afraid to say what you can afford and walk away if they don’t bring the price down. There will be something else, and often, when they see you’re serious, they’ll negotiate.
Then I walked to French café, named “Hot Breads” and had 2 mini croissants, coffee (the coffee here is incredible, served like a latte with foam) a little mango juice and a fried egg for $2.50. I made it an even $3 with a wonderful looking veggie quiche they had. I stayed away from the incredible pastry case, but I may be back later for dessert…
The city seems much more manageable in the sunlight, and I’m beginning to understand the layout so that I can walk most places. It’s important to watch the road you’re walking on – sidewalks don’t exist and there’s a very real chance you could step in poo. This afternoon I will rent a bike and do a bit of touristing – there are a couple of churches here that Lonely Planet recommends and a museum. I thank the goddess to blue skies.
Peace & love,