Last February I went on a four day trek on the Panchase Circuit outside Pokhara. I chose this trek as it was regarded as easy and you can go through different villages up the hills, experience village life and stay at local teahouses. This trek was also not as touristy as the other more popular ones like Poon Hill trek and Sarangkot Hill trek.
So I’m finally in Pondicherry (or Puducherry, to be precise)!
Took the early morning flight on Maldivian airlines yesterday to Chennai. Very pleasant flight, enough empty seats to get some privacy. Friendly smiling crew (unlike the last time I flew to India on Air India). I always wonder how cabin crew can smile so much, I know it’s their job, but!
This was my first international flight on Maldivian airlines. I used to think they flew the small domestic planes to international destinations as well (shows how much I know). But this was an A320, looked very new too.
Chennai airport was better than the stories I have heard. Airport staff were actually helpful. Maybe they aren’t so bad after all.
After waiting for my taxi (which the guest house hadn’t sent), I took a taxi from the airport to Pondicherry. Supposedly Rs 2800 but, in the end there was the addition of Rs 50 +Rs 50 +Rs 50 for highway toll charges, plus Rs 150 for entry permit to Pondicherry. I wonder if it’s much better to take a domestic flight to Pondicherry? Must look it up.
Chennai felt like a hot burning furnace! I was sweating so much inside the taxi. It reminded me of the hot sauna in Soneva Fushi. I think it helped ease my cold too. Flushing out everything. And when I opened the windows, the wind felt like it was coming from a hairdryer!
Nevertheless, I slept for most of the 3 hrs in the taxi. I can sleep anywhere, in any condition, it looks like.
I am staying at the Fullmoon Guest house in the muslim quarter of Pondicherry. It’s fairly alright. I’m paying about USD 240 for a monthly rent, for a room with a kitchen, free wifi, and I get a bicycle! The landlady is very helpful. She speaks French, as she had lived in France for 15 years with her husband and family.
A Frenchman I met at the guesthouse treated me to dinner at a little Tamil eatery. Guess how much this meal cost?
Now to go see what a bike ride will bring about.
Here’s a short summary of where I’ll be and what I plan to do till Dec 2013.
1 – August 2013 – Fly from the Maldives to Chennai, India. Work at Kallialay Surf School in Pondicherry for about four weeks. Explore Auroville. Do yoga. Practice my French.
Kallialay Surf School organised India’s first ever international surf competition in 2012, called the Summer Swell Challenge.This year it’s held over the weekend of 23rd-25th August. In exchange for lessons, I’m going to help them with marketing, social media and taking photos for them. This will be a good opportunity to meet some ‘cool’ people and network.
2 – End of August 2013 – Fly from Chennai, India to London, UK. Visit friends in London and Bristol.
I’m excited to see autumn in the UK, much less experience my first time in Europe. I have never seen a real autumn before. There is something about leaves turning red and falling, it’s beautiful. The only place I have seen anything close is at my last work place, Soneva Fushi, Maldives.
I’m also planning to take some mosaic art classes in Bristol. I’ve always wanted to make mosaic art ever since I discovered it in a book in my high school library. This seems like a good opportunity to finally take lessons.
3 – Mid September till mid December 2013 -Taghazout, Morocco. Stay in Surf Berbere surf camp for 3 months to do ASI Level 1 surf instructor course.
I will be learning to surf as a complete beginner and by the end of the 3 months, get certified as a beginner level surf instructor. This way when I come back to the Maldives, I can teach women and girls to surf. What’s great about this 3 months course is that I’ll get French lessons again, do yoga daily, and teach English to community school children as well as learn to surf. Looking forward to my first time in Africa!
Nothing definite after that. The idea is to do some volunteer work at surf camps to get some experience in teaching beginner surfers and take a lot of surf photos. I also plan to volunteer at an organic farm through WWOOF or workaway.info to learn more about, well, organic farming, so I can start growing my own food and do composting when I come back to the Maldives.
What are your travel goals and plans for the rest of 2013? Does it involve learning something new? If you have any recommendations for the above places, I would love to know.
Hello, my name is Anariel. I am a blogger living in New York. This is my blog, where I post my photos and traveling tips. Never miss out on new stuff.