Friday, February 5, 2010

The Little Rikshaw that Could

After a quick overnight train ride, we're now in Pondicherry. It's a former French colony on the east coast of India so the French quarter has a nice feel to it. Occasional conversations are overheard, but I haven't yet had to say "Je ne parle pas!"

It's 90 degrees F here.

The trip to the train station through Bangalore was probably our most epic journey yet. After working for the last few days on creating a flat area to thresh millet, Paige and I said our goodbyes. I'll miss John.

Babina greatly enjoyed riding the ghetto smoothing sled.

That awesome dog at the bottom is named Nipples.

We got on a bus headed in the right direction and I swear we were on it for an hour and a half. We could go to either of two places on the bus which were close to the train station; our bus was going to neither, but like I said, right direction. That's Indian transportation. On board, a couple of the women took an interest in where we were going and disagreed about where that was with the bus conductor. They argued our fate with him and we sat, without being consulted, and spectated the traffic.

After making it approximately to our even more approximate midway point we switched to traveling by rikshaw. None of the drivers were willing to go by the meter, so we did what the travel guide advised not to do: just bargained with them. I don't think we got ripped off too bad.

Better than Mario Kart.

The rikshaw ride had two distinct stages. First, insane traffic. Imagine canned sardines. Now imagine them moving at 40 mph and jockeying to win a race. A rikshaw racing league would be so awesome. The second stage was a dirt backroad that bypassed traffic. It was nice, but we were going at about 5 mph. The riskshaw was struggling and chattering and sputtering and at the last hill to rejoin the freeway, I thought I'd have to get out and push.

The train station was relaxing at about 1/8th the level of insanity of the roads. We made it ok and the train lulled us to sleep overnight.

A mobile phone ad on the train. It has a guy with a gun!

Out the window of the place we're staying in Pondi.


  1. You both look so happy in your photo! And you look so clean! I want to hear about how you do laundry. PS. Did that dog get her rabies shots? Love you, and miss you, but I'm glad you are having a good time!

  2. Hi Andy,

    I just about came across your blog. Glad to learn that you are having a good time in Pondicherry.

    Hope you were able to recollect me. I am a travel writer based in Bangalore. I had dropped by to meet John at Gaia when you'll were re-doing the cow shed. It was lovely chatting with all of you.

    With warm regards,

    Sanjay Sivadas

  3. 'NIPPLES'??!!!! Well, that's original. Was the dog spayed? Grandma Wanda

  4. oh my gosh, that picture of where you're staying is beautiful!