Saturday, December 23, 2006

What's your good name?

Just arrived in Pondicherry, about 3 hours south of Chennai. I spent the last couple of days in the little sculptors paradise town of Mahaliburum, a lovely little town by the sea. It's famous throughout India (and the world) for producing sculpture, and anywhere you go you'll hear the clinkety clack of artists busy producing everything from tiny Ohm signs to put on necklaces to massive sculptures to be shipped to temples or homes and businesses abroad.

Yesterday I watched a cow eat a cardboard box. People who own cows bring them into the city in the morning, where they can feed on various rubbish before making their way back to their homes at night. The cow literally ate the whole box. Apparently they eat plastic as well.

No illness to speak of just yet, though I have been drinking water put in front of me in restaurants from questionable sources. Foolish? Perhaps, but what is a trip to India if you don't spend a couple of hours (though hopefully not more than a couple of days) wretching over a filthy shit-smeared squat toilet, right?

Today held plenty of excitement as well, with my first hitch-hiking in India. Pondicherry is apparently a hot place to be during Christmas time, so all of the buses going there were full to the brim with people, hanging out of the open door for dear life. I was determined to get on the next one, even if it meant riding on the roof-rack, but before I got a chance (hopefully I'll get to try that later) a couple a businessmen pulled over and gave me a lift. Quick, comfortable, free tea stop...

I'm constantly laughing and smiling in this place. Everywhere you turn there's some surprise, some magical thing, or some amazing person. Indians are unbelievably friendly and many people have remarkable English skill, so people constantly strike up conversations with me everywhere I go. And then they're gone, and the next person takes their place. And on and on and on. As one fellow traveler commented, you're never alone in India.

Sorry, no photos just yet, but I have been taking plenty of video and pictures. Have patience... and a wonderful Christmastime (I'll be here in Pondicherry practicing Indian dance and sipping on the best f'ing Chai tea in the world).

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