Got up and packed up our slightly damp clothes from being in our ‘room’ (that would explain the amount of mosquitos!!). Went to got some breakfast and walked to the bus station to catch a bus to Pondicherry. Arrived at the bus station, avoiding the countless taxi drivers who told us they could drive us for a good price to wherever we wanted to go and, after asking two bus drivers which bus to get on, jumped on to a moving bus. Triple checked with the bus conductor that we were on the right bus before settling down in our seats, feeling quite smug. Got to the main road turning and then we turned away from where we wanted to go!!! Slightly panicked, Jayne quickly ran down the bus to talk to the bus conductor – apparently she thought we said something else. Managed to convince her to stop the bus so we could jump off but at this point we were 4km down the road from the bus stop with no way of getting buses to stop for us. So, we picked up our bags and walked back to the main crossroads in the searing hot sun. Both of us thinking that the other was cross, we were both grumpily silent as we sweated and got sunburnt during our ‘stroll’ back. Arrived back at the bus stop incredibly wet and hot but got on a bus in the correct direction within 5 minutes. As we climbed onto the bus, I managed to smack my head on the bottom of Jayne’s bag. The bus conductor thought this was hilarious and as I took another step into the bus, he bopped me on the head!! Surprisingly funny, and nice to finally see a sense of humour from a local, it got me out of my grump and we both laughed about how, for the first time during our trip in India, we had got on the wrong bus! Sat at the back of the bus, opening the windows wide to dry off(!) and relaxed into our two hour journey to Pondi. The bus was relatively empty so it was incredibly frustrating when a guy got on and, walking past dozens of empty seats, decided to sit in the broken seat directly in front of Jayne. Had a quick lunch break stop where we were able to replace our much needed liquid levels with Limca! Arrived in Pondi and, as we got off the bus, a new passenger was waiting to get on. As I passed, he looked me up and down before saying ‘nice’. Before I even had a chance to say anything, the bus conductor tutted loudly and told him to be quiet – brilliant! Walked through the back streets, past ‘mini-canal’ street (more like an open sewer!!) with water buffalo wallowing in the dirty depths. Got to our hotel, dumped our bags and headed straight out to the local dive centre to organise some diving for Jayne tomorrow. Felt a bit sorry for myself that I couldn’t join her and the dive centre tried to convince me to do a DSD with them, until I pointed out that I was a DM – that stopped them quickly! They then asked Jayne if she was also a DM and were slightly embarrassed when she had to say she was a MI. Once it was all sorted and Jayne had packed up her equipment, we walked to the waterfront and we wandered up the promenade watching locals blow bubbles for their children to catch. Walked through the French part of town, stopping off at the Notre Dame de Anges. Built in 1858, it is an imposing pink-and-yellow building. There was a service going on (in French) so we only had a quick peek inside from the open doors. Sat on the beach chatting about nothing in particularly as the sun set. Went out in the search of a burger – Pondi is the only place in India to easily find beef! It took us four restaurants before we found what we were looking for. After a bit of faff over whether they had the ingredients, we were tucking into the first beef burger we’d had in over three months. Headed back to the hotel and I downloaded some new books whilst Jayne got ready for her day on the dive boat.
Sunday 10th January 2016