Thursday, March 23
Maison Perumal, Pondicherry, 17:23
This morning we went down for breakfast and said hello to the more sober of the British salesmen we met last night. The whole breakfast experience seemed more relaxed than in Kochi, possibly because we did not have to listen to an over-eager chef trying to explain tonight’s dinner menu, which never changed and always included the possibility of (allegedly gigantic) sea crabs.
I read The Deccan Chronicle at breakfast, and learned a new expression which appeared in a headline about a murder: history-sheeter. I asked at the hotel what it meant and got blank looks and shrugs. I went upstairs and googled it to find the Oxford Dictionary defines it as a person with a criminal record; ’a defendant with a criminal record, a history-sheeter, a bad egg’.
I love the language Indian newspapers use!
We spent the morning strolling around the small shopping area and we had lunch at Domino’s, where I had a hot vegetarian Cloud 9 pizza and Irma had a Chicken Dominator.
Once we had too many bags to carry we walked back up Mission Street and turned left to our hotel. We live on the first floor and I walk onto the terrace to photograph our room from the outside. Irma pops her head out of the window to see what she can see. She can see a table and two chairs, and a lot of large green plants. I can feel the humid heat of a fictitious Louisiana afternoon.
I found a guidebook in a shop called Kalka full of products from Auroville, and I will look through ito find somewhere to eat tonight. We will decide on La Vietnam, which is only four blocks away.
At about 18:00 we will set off and within five minutes we will find ourselves looking at a burnt-out building which presumably used to serve French-Vietnamese cuisine. We will see another restaurant ten metres away and decide that fate has intervened on our behalf.
We will enter the Raj Classic Inn, sit down and order, and realise that fate has, in fact, played a cruel joke on us. You can tell that a restaurant has failed at almost everything when you leave with your memories of delicious Domino’s pizzas at the front of your mind, and a sneaking desire to go back for another one.
We will go back to La Maison Perumal instead, brush our teeth, and have a nice cup of tea.