Hi from Auroville
Thursday 28 Jan
We have been trying to hires bicycles from the guest house we are staying, with no success. There is an American party of eight and they have all the bikes this week. So we took the offer of a TVS, this is a small moped with no gears. However we think its safer on foot as we had a couple of near misses on the very bumpy, dusty pot-holed tracks that are roads here.
We rode our TVS to Kuilpayam which is a small village on the outskirts of Auroville. We needed to buy fuel which was interesting as this is obtained from the grocery store. Basically you pull-up outside and a guy comes out with fuel in litre plastic bottles (of the water variety) and fills the tank for you. We then went on a mission to get an Indian Simcard and change some money which took all day!!
We were told to come back at 13.00 by the owner of the shop which also provides internet and telephone services, changes money and goodness knows what else. The place was packed and everyone was patient when either they were cut-off mid conversation or the net went down or were trying, as one guy did, to copy some music onto a CD. The poor guy spent over an hour trawling through a book of software programmes looking for the right one, none of the CDs had writing on. Eventually he found the programme he was looking for only to find the CD was scratched and so the programme would not download properly. Such patience is required in such adversity!
So, after being told to come back later we thought we would try and find some accommodation for the following week when we have to leave Verite.
We rode to a Guest house called Forecomers. To get there we had to drive down a very long track, when we arrived the owner was not there, only the other guests, who suggested phoning the owner. At this point Rae had a go at riding the TVS and put us in a hedge. Luckily no damage was done except a very large bruise on Rae's left leg to add to her many mosquito bites!! I felt terrible and offered much consolation to her, but Becca, you know your mum!
We then drove back to the shop to collect the now unlocked phone with its new simcard and to change our money. We waited for two hours, nothing unusual for India! apparently the owner was short of money and his wife was bringing some cash but her TVS would not start, hey ho, we just waited, Rae played with a beggar child and eventually we got the cash!
We have now found a room for Rps 700 per night which is about 9 quid. We are going to be staying at Creativity for 2 weeks. We had not realised that this time of year in Auroville is so, so, so busy with the majority of places being fully booked. Lots of Americans, Germans and French people and a small spattering of English.
Friday 29 Jan
Yesterday we did our clothes washing by hand. Then we volunteered to collect litter as part of the first ever Auroville litter picking day. We were led to the perimeter of one of the Auroville Industrial units and were shocked by how much litter we found, our team collected 4 large rubbish sacks full of every sort of waste item.
The culture in India is to dispose of waste over the fence which was fine before non bio-degradable items were invented. Now with the invention of plastic the practise still continues with unfortunate results.
On a positive note there is little evidence of litter on the tracks and roads in Auroville which are very clean, albeit dusty.
In the afternoon we visited the Gnesh Bakery for coffee and cake, looked at clothes then back to Verite to write and read.
For a while now we have been wondering what creature makes an amazing fluting whistle noise. They seem to call to each other a lot at night. First we were told that it was the palm squirrels which we found hard to believe and then we found out that it is a bird called a Koel bird, its call is exotic and you can hear its call on You Tube.
Talking of palm squirrels the ones that own our capsule seem quite happy to share it with us which is cool.
Becca, your notes have been invaluable, thank you so much, bitten and bruised but having a lovely time.
On a very positive note: Auroville is 41 years old next month. Its achievments are enormous, a barren wasteland has been transformed by enormous effort into a forested flourishing haven.
Over these years, over one million trees have been planted and irrigation systems put in place. Verite, where we are staying is off-grid, and produces its own power and pumps its own water.
Lots and lots of love
Marc and Rae XX