Sunday, December 25, 2005

Ho Ho Ho!

Merry Christmas everybody! I arrived in Chennai (formerly known as Madras) from Tirumala and spent 3 days basically writing Christmas greetings to friends and relatives (as well as buying my airline ticket to Sri Lanka). I'm not a big fan of mass e-mails so I prefer to write individual ones if I can, but Chennai isn't too interesting anyway so it was no great loss. Now, though, I am in Pondicherry, a town which used to be all that remained of France's colonial ambitions in India. The French would argue that whilst the British went in for quantity (taking over the entire subcontinent) they went in for quality. And, surprisingly, a few vestiges of French rule have remained: from the Catholic churches to the odd smattering of French briefly overheard here and there.

To evade accusations of being a scrooge I have insinuated myself into the company of Alex and Sarah, a Kiwi couple who I fist met on the bus to Phnom Penh in Cambodia. They continued to follow me through Vietnam, until I finally lost them by crossing over the border into China. But now I have come to repay the compliment. We haven't achieved much, generally just lounging about, chatting and eating (a typical Christmas then) as well as exchanging small, kitschy presents (I got some chocolate money). But it's a nice break from the arduous work of backpacking which I will be resuming in a few days time.

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