A brace of free days in our itinerary. Indian Interlude has set aside the afternoon for packing and sending another 10 kilograms home, regrettably this will have no effect on the excess baggage charges likely to be faced when next we fly. Naturally, this means more shopping in the morning, with the intent to send it off today.
We make an early stop at the main post office. India Post have been on strike the past two days, and customers are aplenty. We check with the packing and parcel side of the building who assure us they will pack our goods for us. Parcel sending from India involves, amongst other things, getting your items into a sealed box, and then having the box stitched inside a white cotton bag. Kerry also takes the opportunity to start her stamp collection, and spends thirty minutes in the philately queue. She reports that if “pushing in” gains Olympic status, it will be “gold, gold, gold” for India.
More shopping which involves trying to remember where particular shops are, and confirming one recommended store is as closed as it was the day before. One store with a very particular line remains elusive.
Post-lunch, we gather our bags and look for an auto rickshaw. There are three parked at the corner doing nothing, but can Indian Interlude persuade them to work? A passing auto does the persuasion. Our driver wants to know if Indian Interlude is coming back to the hotel, or if he’s just dropping off. We explain the parcel packing and the wait, he doesn’t seem to mind. Our language skills let us down as the driver tells us that India Post don’t do packing. We know better, and tell him we asked this morning. He is persistent, so Indian Interlude asks if he knows a packing place if India Post won’t do it – of course he does.
India Post tell us that packing is closed for the day, and it isn’t yet 3:00pm. Indian Interlude ponders the veracity of this, are the staff just busy following the two days strike and can’t be bothered? Or why we weren’t given this crucial piece of information in the morning? No matter, as a now smiling rickshaw driver delivers us to a packing and forwarding business. Actually, the driver is quite jolly, and seems to be on talking terms with roughly half the women in Pondy. The pack and send business option is less onerous than dealing with India Post, and familiar to us from our previous trip. After all of that, even the auto rickshaw fare is reasonable.
Kerry has a mild case of “Tamil tummy” which leaves Ian to have a very good Vietnamese meal for dinner at the restaurant on the corner.
Saturday morning sees Kerry stay at the hotel attending to postcards, whilst Ian goes exploring. In the afternoon, more shopping and another trip to the pack and send business. Late afternoon we head back to the Ganesha temple for another elephant blessing, despite our misgivings on her living conditions. Blessings are less skilled here than in Hampi, and Kerry misses out; Ian pays for a number of blessings and Kerry misses the photo.
Tomorrow is a travel day, and we leave the hotel at 9:00am. Two flights and twelve hours later Indian Interlude will be in the north of the country.