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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Friendship: Doing it Right

The day finally came today, Pondicherry day! But before I go into more detail, let me give you a  bit of background information:

Unlike Chennai, Pondicherry was a french colony and therefor has a lot of french influence as well as some local french that still reside in the area. According to our friend, Pondicherry is the place people go for the alcohol because it's much much cheaper than in Chennai and the age to drink is 18. The beach you'll see in the pictures is the Bay of Bengal. And after my experience, the best way I can describe it is like Mackinac Island, the people are friendly, it's much cleaner and very pretty, a lot f people ride bicycles, there are quaint little shops all over, but it's not really a place to live if you want all of the commodities that come with being closer to the city.

Let me start this story with last night. Carly and I couldn't fall asleep, so we decided to watch the opening olympic ceremony. By the time we got to bed, it was probably about 2:30am. We had to get up at 6am to catch our 6:30am ride, so the entire day we were running on less than 4 hours of sleep. It takes about two and a half hours to get there, but we actually had a lot of fun in the car with our 6 NMS friends. Believe it or not, these Indians are PHENOMENAL at charades. We were playing with movie titles (where you act out each word of the title) and they were so good that they guessed "Chronicles of Narnia" in a matter of minutes!

We stopped on the way for a quick breakfast, and I'm not a big fan of the rice cake (the texture gets to me), but what I did have was good. We took a couple of group pictures and then proceeded to Pondicherry.

When we arrived, we visited a few temples where we got to learn more about the different gods and religious practices, that was pretty neat! And it is true that you have to take your shoes off in such sacred places. Afterwards we walked to the beach, which was an absolute riot! Standing on the stones and getting drenched in the waves was so fun and hilarious, Indians know how to crack really good jokes! For example, as we were taking a group photo, we were waiting for a wave to enter in the background and one of our friends said:

"Wouldn't it be cool if there was a Tsunami and we got a picture with it in the bbackground! We could make it our facebook pictures!!!.... You know, if we lived."

Maybe that's one of those "you had to be there" kind of things.

We then proceeded to a small shop with different gift items and then headed off to lunch. The lunch wasn't all that great, but it was pretty cool to be in a place where I could legally try alcohol. I tend to be pretty stiff on laws and am always afraid to break rules, so this was really cool for me!

When lunch ended, we headed to a museum where we got to see the Matrimandir, a large globe which took 37 years to build. It reflects sunlight and contains a meditation room inside, but we didn't get to go in. Click on the link for more info about it!

After a long day and a lot of walking, we headed back for our 2 and a half hour drive (which turned into 3 because our  driver was nuts, but that's another story). It was a long day but it was definitely worth it. Thus far, this day has been my favorite experience in Chennai. What made it so special was getting to bond with students our age and just ""hang out". It makes seeing the city so much more interesting and the day was filled with fun and laughter.

That's the nice thing about friendship: when you're doing it right, it knows no cultural, ethnic, or color boundaries.

Carly's breakfast

Our NMS friends!

The 1st temple we visited. There were no photos allowed inside.

The girls right before that giant wave soaked us all from head to toe!

The Matrimadir, the "egg" is 29 meters high.

If we ever come out with an American/Indian album, this will be the cover

1 comment:

  1. These are great photos! Looks like you had a fun time and made some new friendships which wont be forgotten. It was truly great to spend time with the students at NMS, Grand Valley and UAlbany, learning about India not only from class instruction and corporate site visits, but by exploring the country. Let's all stay in touch!