So, I went to a meditation session at the ashram.
Now, meditation and me -
I know meditation is meant to be good for you. I know it's something that would probably be very good for me but it's something I never quite get around to doing. Lame, no?
I mean in Cambodia (or was it Laos?) I went to a 'learn to meditate' session run by monks and I 'got it'. I learned what to do and the whole thing was de-mystified. So, of course after Cambodia (Laos?) I meditated every day. Sometimes 5 times a day. Okay, did I fuck! I never quite got around to it.
In Hampi last year, I learned how to do breathing exercises for health and meditation. Did I practice those? Of COURSE not!
So, I have all the theory but never quite got around to doing it.
At the ashram there were dozens of people seated in a coolish courtyard. The smell of incense was wafting around and there was complete darkness and silence and a gentle breeze. I called on everything I'd learned and - when I wasn't painfully aware of how sore by arse was getting on the hard ground - I did my best to concentrate.
At the end of the session, I floated out. I felt amazing. And of course, I've not quite got around to doing it since, but the intention is still here!
Floated my way into a nice restaurant and had a beer and some food and talk about bad luck...
At lunchtime and in the evening I'd gone to two different restaurants and had the bad luck, both times to be seated near Anya ('Unya') from Denver. Both times she was with different groups of people and both times she was talking their ears (and the ears of everyone within a 500m radius) off. Loudly. For someone I didn't talk to, I sure managed to learn a lot about her life, her husband, her first date with him, why he has his name and - I've managed to blot out the rest thankfully. But seriously people!
Pondicherry reminded me of Luang Prabang.
It took a while to dawn on me that was because they're both French colonial towns.
I really liked Luang Prabang too.
I've been doing pretty well with last minute bus bookings. So far I've had no problems. Like booking my Coimbatore bus (for Ooty). There were no seats left, but the bus guy agreed to get his friend to move to the day after so I could have his seat...
... the next day, I was talking to a Scotsman who was travelling on the same bus, and who had been given the same story.
You gotta laugh. Wonder how much the guy is making from this scam? (40 rupees from each person)
The last full day in Pondy was HOT. Nice but bucket sweaty! After sorting out the Coimbatore ticket, I went to the 'Botanical Gardens'. It deserves inverted commas. Think wild park with lots of overgrowth. Not really what springs to mind when I think of botanical gardens. Still, it was a nice place to chill for a bit and hassle free and calm.
Walking to the bus station and around to the botanical gardens I'd walked through the non-French side of Pondicherry which was pretty hectic. What is it with Indians and beeping horns and shouting? It's a veritable noise fest! And not in a good way. I still found Pondy had it's charm and the manicness was manageable.
Back in the gardens, I met a Scottish guy (plague of them, no?!) and we started chatting. Bumped into him later and we spent a couple of hours drinking coffee and then beered it up in the evening together - until I had to go to my hotel and hit the curfew time! It was fun hanging out and felt a bit of a connection with him (no, not like that, he was gay. Hot. But gay!)
But, later that night I woke up feeling shit. Burned up a right fever and threw up. A lot. Felt vaguely human the next day but took lots of anti-nausea tablets. Don't know what it was. Maybe mild food poisoning (although ironically, I've been eating mainly in 'nice' places so far - cheating, I know!) - but no poo problems. Maybe mild heat stroke? Donno. It's over anyway.
Spent some time listening to the waves lapping against the rocks in Pondi before leaving which was nice and relaxing, but it always gets me how of a long stretch of free coastline, people manage to come and sit right. next. to. me.