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Monday, December 7, 2009

A whirlwind on a budget!!

So there I was, drinking with some friends at a pub at Chennai airport, whe I discovered two things...my grandaunt, who I was supposed to meet the following day, stayed half way down the road to Pondicherry... and well, that I had flown into Chennai with some hash in my pocket...hahaha... anyway, so I decided to go meet my grandaunts - the religious one and the cool one... once that was over, I decided to take a shot at Pondicherry from there... my aunt suggested that I visit Mahabalipuram instead, so I decided I'd do that on the way to Pondicherry...I had 500 bucks in my wallet and I had to go to all these places and come back... I somehow convinced everyone that I'd done such 'unheard of' things before...I messaged a couple of friends who had been there before for tips about places to visit, etc. I boarded the bus at 3:30 in the afternoon; one of my friends told me that the temples at Mahabalipuram shut at 6:00. I reached the place at 5:00 p.m.. I was lucky to get an Ac bus that took me there for 36 rupees...the conductor told me to take an auto to the 5 Rathas temple and then the same auto to the temple on the beach... The auto guy asked for 80 bucks, while I couldn't afford more than 50... so I walked briskly, buying a pack of hide n seek on the way to satisfy my hunger for the moment.

I reached the temple, which was quite impressive... large monolithic structures... I was amazed at the fact that so much could be done from one single rock...the I found the same auto guy outside (obviously he had got someone else there for some price) who said he would take me to the beach for 30. I had no choice as it was already 5:30.I quickly went to the temple at the beach which was very pretty, with several chambers glorifying Shiva's masculinity...it was 5:55 when I reached the caves - the last of the places to visit...the guard didnt let me in initially, but I talked my way in... promising that I would hurry up... the caves were nice exercise and had lots of very interesting sculptures... who says that the Greek Gods had all the fun?...our dudes had quite a happening time themselves...most of the caves glorified the trimurti, while one shrine was dedicated to ganesh... oddly colourful amongst the other stone structures...I was in the premises till 6:45, when it just got too dark, and having seen almost all the caves, and the lighthouse, I decided to jump over the fence and head out... I made my way to the bus stop on ECR (East Coast Road) that connected all these places...waited for a bus to Auroville, as a friend had mentioned that the beach shacks there would be CHEAP!!!??? The buses were too crowded for my comfort, as another friend informed me that it was a two hour journey at the least... an hour later, as the bus got progressively fuller, I decided to take the next bus that arrived, partly also coz there were some cute foreign chicks who were to do the same as well...being the good samaritan, I had to help tem communicate with the locals...and I caccompanied them till auroville, and sat at the doorsteps of the bus for the most part.

At Auroville, we parted ways, and I found out from a helpful, well-spoken local that the CHEAP!!!??? beach shacks were at least 400 per night... maybe even 600... He suggested that I go to Pondy instead where I would get something for 250 or even less... My friend's research further informed me that I could get accommodation for around 150 at Pondy... and that you get beer for 60 rupees till 11:30 at liquor stores...the bus ride to auroville had cost me another 32 rupees, and the bus from Auroville to Pondy took another 3 rupees. I reached Pondy at 11:00 pm to find the wine shops wide open. I asked at one lodge, and a single room with an attached bathroom was for 150... I asked at another, where the rates were the same... half-heartedly, I asked the guy if there was anything for less than a 100. He looked at me blankly, and even as he shook his head, asked me what time I would leave... I said as soon ats it was day - 6:am...he gave me a room for 100 bucks... as it had been booked by someone from 6:00a m onwards... I went n had food and thought of buying a bottle of beer, but for once in life I was too tired for beer...I had two egg dosas... my first in life..and went to the rooma and... no I DID NOT sleep... battled with the mosquitoes for at least an hour...till I finally fell asleep. I was fighting with the mosquitoes even as I slept... till the guy knocked at my door at 5:30 am...