22 Jun Pondi Pondi Pondi! Raj and Jesu!
After receiving such generousity from Lenin in Chennai the team didn’t think it could get much better. As soon as the driver let us off at our guesthouse in Pondi, we had two amazing locals, Raj and Jesu, greet us and help us with our bags. Both of these guys are beyond generous, from guiding us through hectic Indian traffic to helping us barter for Ali Baba pants- these guys couldn’t have made us feel more at home.
The team stayed in two guesthouses equipped with a large living area and two bedrooms…not too shabby at all. Our one week stay was filled with Anika’s birthday shinanigans, which included eating at Banana cafe- the BEST place to eat in all of India (at least in my opinion), visiting Auroville (a community that focuses on reaching enlightenment through consciouness and completely functions without the use of money) and going for a stroll along the beach.
Later in the week, the team went to the local boathouse, swam in the ocean along a gorgeous island, meditated in Auroville’s matrimandir (which looks like something that could be taken right out of a star trek film- no joke), and toured various temples. In one, dedicated to Ganesha, the team was blessed by an elephant as it circled around the temple.
One of the most memorable days of our stay in Pondi was definately the night the girls learned a bollywood dance at a dance studio covered with graffeti and run by the local boys of the neighborhood. Members from the community all gathered around to watch our girls as they were given their two hour bollywood dance lesson. Afterwards, the team was treated, by those learning at the studio, with a presentation of their dance skills. The night ended on a high note with a pizza party at Pondicherry’s only Pizza Hut- Indian Pizza Hut is so much better than North American Pizza Hut.
The team took a day trip to Mahabalipuram, a rock sculpture place with stones very ancient to the land. Here a massive circular rock (almost as big as a bus) sits on top of a hill, and has been for hundreds of years, without rolling over because it is tilted in such a specific way that it is almost unbelievable. The combination and cooperation of science and nature completely astonished the entire team.
Throughout the week the team filled time by hanging out with Raj and Jesu (who still call each of us everyday while we are in Bangalore), going swimming in pools on top of buildings (no big deal), and watching local Tamil and Bollywood movies.
Our week in Pondicherry was a good one, and we all left having made two very good friends who will forever remind us of how amazing Tamil culture is and the never ending hospitality India has to offer.