India/Tamil Nadu

April 10, 2006

(February/March, 2006)

Hotel l’Orient, Pondicherry

French until after even the British left India, this town still retains some of its Gallic influences. The hotel, recently restored from what appeared to be rubble, is a former colonial mansion and serves decent French food. The town itself is interesting to walk around and has a nice promenade along the sea similar to ours in Nice. Sterling Resort, Yercaud

A musician, poet, photographer we met in Pondicherry highly recommended the hill station of Yercaud. The views are terrific but the accommodations strictly utilitarian. The restaurant served good food, no wine and had only two cold beers which were dropped and shattered as they are being brought to our table.

Taj Savoy, Ooty

This hill station, 2240-meters high in the Nilgiri Mountains, opened in 1841 as the summer headquarters for the Madras-based British. This charming, low-key hotel was once a school with a wood-paneled dining room and Indian buffet meals. The area is rich in tea plantations, scenic view points and a nice Botanic Garden, where some Indian tourists asked to have their picture taken with us. We were the only Westerners around and we do stand out as such.

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