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What the Mouse Did While the Cat was Away.

How I spent my first weekend in Pondicherry, India, while my wife was away.

We are traveling to Madurai tomorrow, a city known for its ancient temples and palaces, as a part of an Aravind Eye Hospital-organised excursion, so I probably won’t be updating this blog until next week. By that time our stay in India will be half over!
Last Saturday, I wrote a piece entitled “When the Cat’s Away“, detailing my options for my time here, alone, while Anna was back in Singapore for the weekend. One or two of you might be wondering what I did during that time, I doubt it, but stranger things have happened, so I thought I’d take this oppourtunity to update you. Don’t worry, it won’t be anywhere near the essay that yesterday’s post was.

Saturday was quite a relaxing day. After I finished writing I walked down to the beach to go to the Lighthouse Bar at the Promenade. The concert that I had seen a couple of days prior wasn’t a stand alone event. It was part of a festival and Saturday was extremely impressive; they had fire-dancers, but not just adults, children, too!

Imagine trying to organise an event like this back in Australia, there would be so much red-tape, it would be an Occupational Health & Safety nightmare! Here, it seems like they just asked some kids if they can, or want to learn to, fire dance and the ones that said “Yes” got the gig. That’s not to take anything away from their performance, it was truly amazing.
After the completion of the event, I continued to the bar and struck up a conversation with a really nice guy who works for General Motors in Detroit, who was here for a wedding. Because he was a car nut I explained how Certificate of Entitlement works in Singapore. He couldn’t believe it!
Bars and clubs close at midnight at the latest here, last call is usually 11:30pm. On my stroll home I saw an advertisement for a rave, “Pondi Electro”, that went from 7:30pm – midnight.

The view of the old lighthouse from the Promenade bar

The view of the old lighthouse from the Promenade bar

My plan for Sunday was to move rooms, because the wifi in our room hadn’t been working. Anna badly needed it for work, but the only way she could use it was to move outside, but by the time she gets home there are mosquitoes everywhere. We had previously arranged to move on Sunday, but I slept in and didn’t hear the knock at the door. That’ll have to wait until Monday.
I walked around town for a bit, then went back to the to the Promenade, first for their buffet, then outside for what turned into a substantial quantity of libations as I eavesdropped on the insanely obnoxious tourists next to me.
“I kinda understand metres, because I watch a lot of golf, but I don’t really get kilograms or Celsius. What we really need is some kinda global measurin’ system the whole world can use!”, was one pearl of wisdom.
I wanted to inform him that there was indeed a global measuring system, it was just that his country was one of three in the world that has refused to adopt it, or maybe the metric system can’t measure freedom or something, but it was just too much fun listening to the ridiculous crap that came out of their mouths. The local Indian man sitting at their table was too polite and just nodded his head, even when they spoke to their waiter like he was something they had scraped off their shoe. I had the same waiter, so I emphasised my accent so he’d know we were from different countries. I got a bill for three beers when I had a lot more than that, so I gave him a nice little tip and still came out on top. Winning.

I set my alarm the night before so I wouldn’t screw up again. It was time to move. We went from this:

To this, our new room:

Goodbye, Michael...

Goodbye, Michael…

We prefer the new room, especially the bathroom, the only problem is that I burnt my scalp on a spotlight in the ceiling when I entered for the first time; I have to duck to get through the doorway, but I didn’t realise that the ceiling was about the same height as me when I straightened up. I have to admit, though, there is one thing I am going to miss from our old room: Our painting of the Indian woman who looked to me like a ‘Thriller’-era Michael Jackson.

Other things I did while Anna was away:
Killed an arse-load of insects. I decided to call my electric insect zapper “Frank”. Trust me, it makes perfect sense

“Thanks, Diane.”

Finally grew a moustache. I hadn’t shaved since my Mum’s 60th birthday for this reason and I’m glad I didn’t! People stare at me constantly over here, it’s like in old Western movies when the cowboy enters the bar. Everybody stops what they’re doing; the bar-keep pauses while polishing a glass, the patrons put their beer glasses down, open-mouthed and the pianist in the corner just stops. Dead silence follows an initial collective gasp. I feel like that cowboy here. Maybe it’s my size, maybe it’s my tattoos, but I still believe it was my severe lack of a moustache. Until now, I felt naked without it.

• Went to a local art exhibition. There are some really talented people in this city and it seems there are constantly art and handicraft exhibits, as well as local performances and films. Some of my favourite pieces from the art exhibit:

So, this weekend we are off to Madurai and in two and a half weeks we’re moving to Germany. This year, we are constantly on the move, it seems that one of us has been in an airport almost every week or two, which got me thinking…
Tim’ s Pointless fact of the day: In the past 25 years, 14 trillion frequent flier miles have gone unredeemed. That equates to 75,268 round trips to the sun.

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.

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