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When the Cat’s Away…

Anna was away for our first weekend in Pondicherry. What should I do? What are my options? Time will tell…

What appears to be a traditional Tamil choir

With every marriage there are pros and cons, anyone who tells you any different is a liar and just plain under the thumb. Being married to a doctor is no different.


  • We get to live this lifestyle, constantly traveling.
  • Cheaper healthcare (which is good when you’re in my situation).


  • Scrolling too far when looking for images on your computer and accidentally opening one of a ruptured eyeball.
  • Constantly being around hospitals, doctors and medical talk (which is bad when you’re in my situation).

But one constant that can’t be put into either category is this; When you are married to a doctor, for some reason or another, they are always away. Anna was away at a conference in Arizona all last week and, yes, I definitely missed her, but the freedom during those times can be enjoyable, too. I generally only end up doing things that I would do with her, anyway, I just don’t need to find out if it’s what she feels like doing.

Last night, Anna had to fly back to Singapore for our friend’s wedding at about 11:30pm (Pondicherry’s timezone is IST +5:30, thus, we are currently 5h 30mins behind Melbourne and 2h 30mins behind Singapore), but the resort owner and myself strongly insisted she make the 2-3 hour taxi ride to Chennai Airport at 4:30pm, so most of the trip would be during daylight hours. She will be returning Monday on the same flight that we arrived here on a week prior. I was originally going to go, too, but we decided that might not be so wise after my seizure on Monday.

So, what to do when you’re all alone in a beach side resort for three days? Besides the obvious, quite a lot, actually!

1. Kill insects with this bad boy!

Killin' bugs 'n' eatin' brownies, bitches!

Killin’ bugs ‘n’ eatin’ brownies, bitches!

Good advice.

Good advice.

There are a tonne of mosquitoes here, more than there are people and this is the second most populous country on earth! With this in your hand, any time a mosquito flies past is like playing electric tennis. I wish I had one of these when I was in Melbourne two weeks ago to deal with the flies! You can buy them from the ’88 Store’ near my place in Singapore, but I just thought they were stupid. Now I know what I’ve been missing out on all these years. When I need inspiration for writing this blog, I just start killing ants. It’s like making popcorn, but the secret ingredient is death! Fortunately, safety is the manufacturers main concern, as the packaging points out.

2. Watch the cricket.

Only this woman could go for a leak and miss a hat-trick! Seriously, she did! And I set a new record, too; Four chins!

Only this woman could go for a leak and miss a hat-trick! Seriously, she did! And I set a new record, too; Four chins!

The ICC World Cup is on now and this is India! They are crazy about cricket here, you see teenagers walking up the street practicing bowling, as if it’s how they normally walk. Anna and I went to the first match of the World Cup between Australia and England at the MCG and had a great time. There is a bar near where we’re staying that has Star Cricket and reasonably cheap beer. In fact, I’d probably be there now if it weren’t for the fact that Ireland vs. Zimbabwe is the match that’s showing. If India and Pakistan meet in the finals, I’ll definitely go, even if it’s just for the atmosphere:

3. Learn to make cheese.

The French can be confusing people; Any culture that considers both Bridget Bardot and Gérard Depardieu as sex symbols could be seen as somewhat perplexing, but one thing there is no difficulty in understanding is how well they nailed food. Just ask them. One of my favourite things in the whole world is cheese, particularly soft cheese. Not just because it gives you weird dreams if you eat it late at night (I once sleep-walked and tried to wind back the clocks in Anna’s aunty’s house in London after a night on the brie, because I was subconsciously worried I wouldn’t get enough sleep), it just tastes great. The French community at the Sita Cultural Centre, here in Pondicherry, hold cheese-making courses twice a day on Mondays;

“Make your own mozzarella, ricotta or even mascarpone with the help of a French specialist. Monday 10am & 4pm”

I realise that they are mainly Italian cheeses, but it still would be fun . They have “Children Cooking” too, but it turns out it’s just cookery classes for kids.

Seafood salad and spinach soup.

Seafood salad and spinach soup.

4. EAT!!!

The food here has been amazing and I haven’t needed the imodium once! In fact, things have been better on that front than when I was in Singapore. This is what I got the other day when I ordered a seafood salad and spinach soup. Anna ordered an incredible fish curry at Le Club the other day, I’ll probably have that for dinner tonight. Or maybe something French, I don’t know…

5. Go with the flow

I was walking last night to what is quickly becoming my local and I could hear traditional music in the street that was substantially louder than what you usually hear around here. In the park next to the hotel there was a concert being filmed for TV, with quite a large live audience. That’s one of the things I really love here; walking around, or even just sitting down, people-watching, is just so damn interesting. Singapore is a bit of a cultural black-hole, so it’s nice to step out of your door and be entertained.

6. Spend the night sitting on the beach

It might be the most obvious thing to do, but come on, who could resist a view like this every night?



About Dr. Tan's Travels (104 Articles)
My name's Tim. I'm a freelance writer and former ESL teacher from Melbourne, Australia, who taught in Daejeon, Korea for six months in 2007 and, until February 2015, had taught in Singapore for seven years. My wife, Anna, is an ophthalmologist. Between March 2015 and July 2016 we spent a month in Pondicherry, India, three months in Bonn, Germany, and 12 months in New York before returning to Singapore, all for training and work placements for her. The reason I wanted to keep this blog is because I suffer from epilepsy and have a terrible memory, therefore this would be a great way to help me remember our travels. I will do my best to keep it updated and even continue writing now that we're back in Singapore, but there is one problem; I have a pretty severe phobia of anything medical.

2 Comments on When the Cat’s Away…

  1. Great post with interesting content.
    Can’t wait for more!
    Keep up the good work.
    Best wishes, R

    Liked by 1 person

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