Not pleased that AF showed up today. Pleased that she didn’t come yesterday when we were traveling in a car for 2.5 hours and having a difficult time finding a decent restroom to relieve ourselves.
We traveled to Pondicherry, a coastal city known to be a French colonial town back in the days. We hired a car for a day. Once I stepped in the car, I noticed a crazy mosquito flying all over the place. About half an hour into the trip, I spotted it again. Bob quickly handed me the newspaper from the morning. Proud to present to you this:
Me = 1, Mosquito = 0
I still got a few bug bites though. It’s inevitable.
Indian drivers and traffic are a bit crazy. There are lanes but nobody observes them. The last time I was here, I had a heart attack every 12 seconds seeing how close all the cars, trucks, motorcycles, and auto rickshaws were to us. This time, I am totally unfazed by it all. I am sure accidents happen quite a lot. But I am not as easily startled as last time. You hear horns honking every three seconds. That’s just drivers’ ways of saying hi and telling the other drivers that they are passing them on the left, on the right, or whichever direction they choose to come from.
See how close the cars were to one another?
The streets in Pondicherry were filled with colonial buildings that were markedly different from other streets I have walked in South India. It was about 1pm when we arrived. The streets were dead as if everybody was taking a siesta. This place is known for its ashram, which didn’t open until 2pm. We walked around a little and ate the lunch that my mother-in-law prepared and packed for us in the car.
I didn’t have any internet access so I had no clue what the actual temperature was. We parked in the shades but eating in the car without any breeze or moving air… it felt like over 100 degrees inside. My whole being was drenched in sweat. Still grateful for homemade lunch though. While waiting for the ashram to open, we were desperately in need of a bathroom. We couldn’t go explore because the driver left us with the car while he went to get lunch. I got sent by Bob to the post office to ask about a bathroom. The lady inside pointed me to a direction and said, walk two minutes then you’ll see pay toilets. I thanked her, looked out in the crazy hot sun, and thought, no thank you. A Caucasian lady walked by. We asked her about a bathroom. She said she was sure that one would be available at the ashram. Good thing the driver came back. Bob and I braved ourselves in the heat for a quest to locate a usable bathroom. We found an A/C restaurant and were told that the toilet was out of the restaurant around the corner. I went and it was again one of those squatty potty that smelled extra bad and was totally wet. Of course there was no flush and no toilet paper. I was prepared with a roll of toilet paper and I am very good at holding my breath. Being Chinese, I am also very good at squatting. I am just thankful that my period hadn’t come yesterday so I only had to take care of one thing. I don’t know if you realize but in India, people clean themselves with water only. Even at my in-laws, we bring our own toilet paper. It boggles my mind but it’s been their way of living for years and years and years. I’m in no position to judge but I am very thankful for toilet paper.
I learned that an ashram is a monastery type place. People go there for meditation. We were told to take off our shoes across the street from the ashram. We then had to walk barefoot across the street. The soles of my feet were burning like crazy. When we went inside, we walked around this courtyard and people were sitting on the ground with their eyes closed and meditating. We came back out after walking around a bit. My feet were black and dirty. You can call it an experience but I really hate to get my feet dirty.
After that, we went to see the ocean. It was really hard to enjoy ourselves there as the heat was really getting to us.
It was beautiful but it was about time to get back into the car. The driver took us to two churches.
My whole person is so swollen that my feet are getting wider and harder to fit into my sandals.
You can say that we didn’t do our research before we came here. The driver drove us a little bit farther away to a place called Auroville. Before this trip, I had never heard of this place. I looked it up and it says, “Auroville is an experimental township in Viluppuram district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, near Puducherry in South India.” I didn’t expect to have to go get a pass, walk about 1km to get to this golden metallic sphere which was the center of the town, called the Matrimandir. That walk really killed me. I was tired.. and hot… and we didn’t know how long it’d take to walk there. Dirt and sand kept getting into my sandals. Getting to that sphere thing wasn’t what I wanted to do at the moment. We did it anyways.
I wasn’t touched by it… didn’t feel its power, tranquility, peace, or other words that were associated with it. I just wanted to leave. Luckily there was a shuttle that brought us back to the visitor’s center. It was then 5:20pm. I was happy to be traveling back to my in-laws. I slept all the way through the car ride, leaving Bob to be the only one experiencing the exciting Formula One race firsthand on the road.
It was a heck of a long day. But I am glad we went. My mother-in-law made dosa for me for dinner.
We headed back to the hotel. I negotiated for a half of a day of down time this morning instead of rushing to my in-law’s house early in the morning again. The break is much needed. Since AF hadn’t shown, I had a half of a second of a delusion that maybe we got lucky last month.. that it was finally our turn to get pregnant in between IVF cycles. Well, we’ll have to wait until next month for that. But I am glad that AF chose to arrive at the comfort of our hotel room, so I am a lot more well prepared for it. We also did our travel workout this morning in the hotel room. I am proud that we did it but boy, it was so exhausting to be jumping around, doing push ups, burpees, and all sorts of crazy things with very tight and heavy muscles and a very jetlagged body.
This is day four. Five more days to go.