Monday, January 08, 2007

India pt 3A

We've been enjoying ourselves too much to post a lot lately but thought it'd be nice to give you an update. Here's the first installment, wrapping up our last few days in Tamil Nadu.

One of our days was spent in Pondicherry, a former French colony with some amazing architecture and a lively temple. This elephant greeted us outside of it:

And here's some of the beautiful European architecture -- one of the homes near the Bay of Bengal and a French-language school.

We haven't really informed you all of how we've been getting around (more on that in the next post), but having a driver is a big asset and a pretty common one around here. Driving, as in most of the former British colonies, is on the left. That's fine. But the preponderance of auto-rickshaws, seeming absence of lanes, seatbelts without buckles (nobody uses them, even when they are in fact full seat belts as in the front seats), motorbikes carrying a family of four, and random cow crossings make driving something no sane foreigner would do in India.

Though our friend Harjit drives, his wife does not, so they have hired Feroz, a guy who seems to be about our age. He can hit the gas pretty hard and he knows his way around. He also speaks Tamil and we don't, so he proved to be immensely helpful during our stay in Chennai.
Also, when we were trying to get a prepaid phone card and didn't have the passport-size photo the store seemed to assume everyone possesses of themselves, Feroz whipped his out, and got the phone in his name for us. Awesome. We got to know him a bit despite the language barrier, and he shared his favorite music and movie stars with us.

Here's Feroz, along with some other random TN driving shots:

Elephant in the slow lane:

When the Bills win the Super Bowl, you can bet your ass we're going to "Dizzee World"!

Sort of like riding in the back of a pickup truck, if less NASCAR:

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