Cyclone from our balcony

November 30, 2008

Pondicherry Scenes

November 30, 2008

Street scenes from this beautiful town………

Our Little Garden of Eden (last day in Pondicherry Nov 30)

November 30, 2008

These are shots from our guest house garden……… the sign below if you can. lots of room to roam in Silence, sit under the trees or pond, enjoy the carvings, listen to the waves (on the other side of the fence) and enjoy the peace.

I Receive a Blessing from Ganesh

November 30, 2008

This elephant lives at the Ganesh Temple and comes out to give blessing every morning.

here I am giving the elephant first some sweet grass. and then a coin – that I put right in his/her trunk. Then I bow my head for my blessing…..

Many many people pass by and give offerings, pet the trunk, line up their whole family for a blessing – the elephant goes over the head of each person – even babies in arms! wow

And the Rains Came and Came and Came….

November 28, 2008

Well, the refreshing light showers turned into a full blown cyclone 2 days ago. the winds are howling, the rain driving (under our door and into the room) the poor trees are whipped around (many of them not surviving) and the power out. And still – the strangest thing – it is 77 degrees! it astounds me every time I walk out the door – it is so warm! If we had a storm like this in Victoria, the wind and rain would be cold, but here we are in our room, still in dhotis and tshirts with the fan on!

Our view from our 4th floor balcony is spectacular….. huge waves breaking way out to sea, smashing into each other and the wind catching the tops and blowing them ahead of the waves. you can hear the crashing and the wind screeching. ANd it did not let up for nearly three full days. never eased off, never quieted down. I guess that is the other thing – it just went on and on and on. Our balcony is perfectly situated so that we are slightly off the wind direction – so we can sit on our balcony, out of the wind and watch it all take place jsut out of our reach.

luckily we have a small canteen in our ashram guesthouse complex, so we would don our raincoats and push our way through the wind and horizontal rain to get a bit to eat. Joseph made one brave foray into the streets before the power went out and brought back some oranges, croissants, and juice so we were well stocked. (never fear being out of supplies with Joseph!)

Nov 28 – this morning there is a break in the sky and we watch the lst of teh storm clouds pass over. there are many broken trees and branches in the street and the power is out in some areas still. we are drying our clothes and room, but it takes awhile when the humidity is so high.

since the power was out and we could not leave our room for 2 days we only heard the news about Mumbai this morning when several friends emailed and asked of our well being. We are hundreds of miles from Mumbai and are not planning to be anywhere near it.

we are safe, well and happy. In 2 days we take the train to Cochin. Steve, my brother, is flying in and will spending the month of December with us. yippee!

The Value of Rupees

November 22, 2008

Here’s what it takes to live in India, in addition to the desire!

600 rupees a night: Our double room, marble floors, couch, table, wardrobe, bathroom, hot running water and flush toilet overlooking the gardens that edge onto the sea ($12 per night)

400 rupees a day: breakfast of yogurt, fresh fruit (the real thiing, ripened on the tress) or omelette and home made bread. lunch and supper: good home cooked Indian food, the names you probably would not recognise, but delicious. snacks: fresh lime juice with club soda, or fresh fruit juice, hot peanuts or soybeans roasted on the street ($8 per day)

150 rupees: 100% Indian cotton blouse ($2.50)

20 rupees: taking my sewing to a tailor who hemmed my shawl and repaired my ripped pants (35 cents)

25 rupees: the best croissant I have ever tasted )rememeber this is an ex-French colony – cetainly not typical of India, but I have to put this in here. (40 cents)

1500 rupees: four hour drive from airport in Chennai to Pondicherry ($32)

20 rupees: a meal at the ashram (rice, 2 kinds of vegetable dish, yogurt, and 2 little bananas) (35 cents)

40 rupees: autorickshaw ride from the opposite side of town to our guest house (70 cents)

Auroville and the Gold Dome

November 22, 2008

Yesterday we took a trip to Auroville – an experimental community based on the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother – basically living in unity and harmony, everyone equal. there are about 2000 people live in Auroville with about 8 settlements in a radius around it that includes Indians as well as people from all over the world, who hold to these ideals and want to live their lives based on them. There are auto repair shops, electronic stores, musical instrument building, cafes, artists, mechanics (everything that every community needs) all roughly aligned and working together. quite amazing to see in action. It started about 40 years ago as a desolate piece of land – not one growing thing except a huge huge banyan tree. Now there are over 1 million trees planted, gardens – everything is green, lush and growing…its’ hard to believe the transformation.

The heart of Auroville is a gold geodesic globe (about 15 stories high) that has a special meditation room where you can meditate at certain times of the day if you qualify – which we did. long process but worth it for sure.

light streams through a ‘window’ at the top of the dome and comes straight down and hits a polished crystal ball (the largest in the world). the whole inside of this meditation room is white marble and dome/curved ‘walls. there are specific seatingplaces for meditation and everyone has an unobstructed view/exposure to this sight. you have to make an appointment – I think there are about 60 spots. the experience and what you are looking at is truly beyond words – J and I are going back for an hour session next week.

as we left the meditation room we walked down these circular ramps that follow the shape of the building and at the very bottom there was an exquisite lotus petal fountain in white marble.

We walked outside on the grounds/gardens for an hour as the sun was setting and sat in the silence under this banyan tree which looks like a forest, but is really only one tree.

too hard to describle – but the whole day was memorable and will stay with us always.

And the Rains Came – Nov 22

November 22, 2008

What a relief – we have had a couple of days of rain, so it has been a lttle cooler and a whole lot more pleasant! the winds picked up, the sky blackened with thick clouds and the change from high humidity to light rain was almost imperceptable. it was a little strange – is it raining or not? it is mostly like a fine mist (think of spraying your plants….) so that it is almost invisible………..but you do get wet through after awhile. there is no point in wearing a raincoat – it would be way too warm, and then when the rains stops, you have to carry it. so we just get wet and dry and wet and dry – most likely with no ill effects on our health as it is all warm. I am sure it has not gone below the high 70’s degrees in days.

Last night a big blast came through with lightning and thunder that jolted us from our sleep. so we stood on the balcony and watched the lightning over the sea and enjoyed the bit of coolness the storm generated.

It’s Not Easy Being Big……….

November 19, 2008

There certainly have been many opportunities to laugh at ourselves………………..

squeezing in between people in restaurants or shops. Although there are a LOT of people here – everyone manages to keep a little space around themselves. No one has ever bumped into me or touched me. so maneuvering through the crowds and respecting this ‘no touch’ policy can be quite a challenge.

sitting on chairs that support about half of my derriere. not comfortable for long….

plastic chairs with arms (like our lawn furniture) only you can’t get into them – they really do make everything a little smaller here

or even better – I go to stand up and the whole chair comes with me! how embarrassing!

Joseph (and David, not the ‘big’ part, but the tall part) – bumping your head in doorways to restaurants, shops, etc.

And then there is the bus……..
Four Indians sharing a bench seat on the bus get off and Joseph and I take up the whole seat!

with every nerve shattering bump – a knock on the head from the bare metal roof of the bus

being able to see way further down the precipice that we have somehow miracualoulsy not gone off

And there is an upside………..
I can always spot Joseph in a crowd.

I walk behind Joseph because I know all the cars and moving things will see him and move over.

uhmmm………I guess that’s it!

seaside and Botanical Garden Pondicherry

November 17, 2008

Here I am a few feet from our room, enjoying the small beach access. the water is warm and the winds come in a cool us off a bit

Here is Joseph playing flute in the garden outside our room. The ocean is jsut feet beyond the fence behind Joseph.

The view from our window.

The following are the school boys we met at the Botanical Gardens. I wrote about our trip there on the previous insert.