It's really strange how the Internet is the same everywhere you go. Where everything else is odd and confusing, I feel that familiar sites are almost too easy, too simple. It makes them seem childlike. They should have weird foreign writing and colour-schemes.
Now in Pondicherry after two days in Chennai. I was told by a nice lady on the plane that two days was insufficient, but I was not sad to go--aside from leaving my lovely hosts, the Banerjees. The city is flat and low-lying and lacks grandeur (though not large concretey buildings). I did get to attend a fancy-schmancy art auction, which was swank and lavishly catered and fun; also enjoyed the Snake Park (many bored crocodiles) and Marina Beach and the gorgeous bronzes at the museum. I had some delicious paan too.
Pondy is sort of the Indian Riviera. Once French, now merely full of charming bicycles. I have one, #8 from my guesthouse, and with giant sunglasses and sweeping skirt I feel pretty damn cool. Tomorrow I'm cycling 10km up the coast to see an "experiment in international living" aka mondo huge commune type thing. One of the big deals in this town is the Sri Aurobindo ashram, which seems like a nice place with a good set of philosophies. They own half the town, including my lovely ocean-view guesthouse.
Someone on my Chennai city tour (the guide talked as long about snakebite remedies as he did about anything else) asked if travelling alone gets boring. I don't feel bored so much as un-purposeful. Part of the fun of travelling is executing plans in a confusing setting. Getting on the correct bus is a triumph, but not if you've no one to share it with. Also, it's better to have another set of opinions and observations going on alongside one; I feel sort of deprived with only my own (un-novel; they're mine) thoughts for company.
Actually the most difficult thing about being alone is that I have major problems figuring out when I'm hungry, and ordering in unfamiliar settings. Have to work on plunging in--typical Rebecca. I'm not getting harassed at all, which is so, so nice. The worst it's been is that the airport taxi-wallah laughed really hard at my awful Tamil, and asked me questions in very broken English, and kept saying "I very like! Soooooper!" and grinning and telling me he had no girlfriend. If that's as bad as it gets, awesome. The beggars are more aggressive here, though--they even grab your arm. The flipside of no harassment is that people are less friendly here; not rude (like real French people) but pretty uninterested.
Mm, enough of this. Am thirsty. Off to find some dodgy roadside juice stand and take my chances.