Arriving into the usual India chaos I headed east, across the open sewer, where I knew "French town" was. I had no guest house booked but had notes on a few places from the internet and guide books. After getting the "full" response from 7 places a realised it was Friday, and Pondicherry is a favourite seaside resort of Chennai. Balls! Still getting "FULL FULL FULL" it was now getting late. Every "full" would lead me to a slightly more upmarket place.
Eventually I found Hotel De L'Orient. I later read about it in the Lonely planet, this is what they said;
"This is as grand as it gets in Puducherry: a restored colonial mansion with rooms that appeal to your inner pith-helmeted aristocrat. Should you need a sense of columned regal importance, the hush of breezy verandas and the scurrying service of men in clean white uniforms, this is the place to book"
Arriving so late I was able to bargain their last "suite" down to a mere £40. 10 times more than I had been paying but i need these little luxurious punctuations in my travels (I told myself). They mentioned wearing a suit to dinner and I explained that I only had a sweaty t-shirt and shorts (i'd put my shirt and trousers in laundry) and all was fine. Dinner was lovely: garlic prawns to start, masala fish main and a cheeseboard for dessert! Man oh man, i miss good cheese. What i'd give for some thick cut cheese on toast right now. Dinner finished, i sat there on my own, watching the rich French couples dine and listening to crooning guitar man playing "lady in red" with a thick Indian accent. I decided to head back to the room and play about with long exposures.
The room, sorry, appartment was enormous. Basically four rooms. The bed area for sleeping, a desk area for writing things, a washroom for cleaning and a entrance hall with TV for accepting guests, should I have had any. All the furniture was intricate original or restored period furniture. To say it was overkill would be an understatement. Monsta had his own bed! I sat there thinking about why people would want this, i mean, sure it was lovely but at the end of the day surely you just need a bed and a bathroom? No?
Stole all the soap and wash items, had a delicious breakfast and checked out. Back on the streets where I literally bumped into a Canadian chap searching for a room, so we searched together. What we found is a world away from the hotel De l'Orient. Twin room for £2 a night. Ridiculous. Popped our bags in and decided on beer. Just checking out of the room next to us was a Kiwi girl and an American girl who we spent the afternoon drinking with. The drinking hole we chose, women didn't usually frequent so Sara and Kate, were celebrities. Everyone had their photo taken with us including a geeky Indian man in a t-shirt with "I like big jugs" emblazened across the front. Class.
French town Pondicherry is nice, but done in a day. The new town is the same as anywhere else in India. Next day me and Liam hired a moped and headed up the coast for a swim. Found a beautiful but scorching beach, no shade anywhere. Could only stay the morning for a swim then back and hid from the sunshine, only venturing out for some street food past dark.
Next day hoppped on a bus to the dreaded Chennai. Grabbed a dirt cheap room there next to the station and hopped on a train first thing in the morning. Next stop Sri Lanka!