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Home sweet home- for now

Pondicherry, India

We've been in India for two weeks now and Im just now getting around to writing a blog, guess Im not in any hurry since we are going to be here for so long. Then there's that limited electricity thing. Sadhana Forest uses only solar power, so our Internet and computer time can be pretty limited. If you don't hear a whole lot out of us during our stay here just know were not dying of the plague or kidnapped, though we might have been run off the road by one of these things...

Were still adjusting to life here but the past two weeks have been a blast. Weve planted a bunch of trees with the aid of several local school groups, gone to the beach, attended a yoga session, run amuk through Auroville, gone shopping in pondicherry, and risked our lives daily driving two-wheeled vehicles in India. Great Fun!

Im totally getting a moped when we get home, those things rock. And if I can drive one and not kill myself in India I should be OK in Austin.

A bit about our home away from home...

Sadhana is a totally vegan (No animal at all, no processed foods, no refined sugars) community run by a super dedicated couple who have committed their lives and life savings to saving Indias teeny tiny bit of remaining tropical dry evergreen forest. There are 25 or so volunteers here, from more countries then I care to think of at the moment, and that number will swell dramatically in the next few months as we head into the busy season.

We sleep under a mosquito net in a huge hut made of pine, bamboo, and woven palm leaves, fall asleep to jackals, and wake up to Christine strumming the guitar and cooing goodmorning-goodmorning at 5:45. If you put Giligans Island, Swiss Family Robinson, Camp Anawana, and PETA all into a centrifuge, you'd end up with something like the essence of Sadhana.

I need to go help cook dinner so this is all for now, but sometime in the near future I hope to have more written.

Love yall!

permalink written by  Slade's Elucidation on November 18, 2008 from Pondicherry, India
from the travel blog: Slade's Elucidation
tagged India, Auroville and SadhanaForest

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Who needs turkey when you have Cyclones?

Pondicherry, India

To see all the Sadhana and India pictures click on the photos link and scroll to the tags at the bottom of the page.

Wow, what an interesting couple of weeks it has been since I last wrote a blog. Let me first say, No we are not in the part of the country where the attacks have been happening. We are however in the part of the country that has been buffeted by a cyclone, but more on that later.

Over the past few weeks we had been trying to settle into life at Sadhana Forest and making new friends. The volunteers at Sadhana are a special breed of people, really the best of our species. Im sure we will see some again after weve left Sadhana, and are possibly going to travel India a bit in the company some really cool people weve meet there.

A couple more school groups have come to the forest and watching the kids enthusiasm for replanting their native forests, and life at Sadhana in general, is rather exciting. It's good to know that at least this part of India's youth will have a deeper respect for their natural environment.

I've learned to drive a moped, on dirt jungle roads and the chaotic main roads of India, which only gets more interesting when its been raining balls. Im pretty confident I'll be able to drive a moped around Austin now ; )

I think I can safely say James and I will never be vegan. Its amazing how clearly your body lets you know its not getting the nutrients and vitamins its used too. Even after eating a big lunch at Sadhana we'd find ourselvs still wanting to eat. Not hungry mind you, just craving more, our bodies way of trying to get what it was missing.

Thanks to those cravings though we've found a couple really nice places to eat around Auroville and nearby Pondicherry. The terrace above the Solar Kitchen has killer cappuccinos and lattes, not to mention the chocolate banana crêpes. Out on the main road, between Auroville proper and Sadhana Forest is a hole in the wall local place that serves some really tasty stuff on banana leaves. I think one of the things they serve are dosas(?) but i really have no clue what we ate there :P I have found a replacement for garlic bread, and I must find a good Indian restaurant when we get home to fufil my naan cravings.

The first week or two of our stay was desperately dry, the monsoon being a month late. Baby trees were dying and the volunteers had to work that much harder to keep them watered and get then in the ground as quick as possible. The past week however, weve had the blessing or curse of a cyclone settling in over the area. A cyclone here is a bit like a tropical depression in the states but it lasts a lot longer. The first day or two of the cyclone we just had a lot of rain, which we happily watched filling up all the rain water catchment areas around Sadhana. We started to get a little concerned when one of the bunds in camp started spilling over into the next, the last one before the bathrooms, little did we know what the storm still had in store for us. The next morning the wind started, and by this time the ground was so saturated that the trees started toppiling like dominos. While in the kitchen making breakfeast we saw the first one starting to go and within five or ten minutes another ten or so trees around the compound had also fallen over or broken.

The intense wind and rain kept up all day, blowing in all the windows around our beds. Everything by this time was damp and starting to smell. Our beds felt horrid and between the wet sheets and the hut swaying all night I got no sleep the next evening. The following morning due to the cyclone and some other issues that I wont go into on a public blog, we made the call to leave.

Cristoff, Jess, James, Myself, and Anna and her kids all left that morning and came into Auroville to stay at the Aspiration guest house. We haven't regretted our decision yet and thankfully were able to dry out our stuff quite a bit yesterday. Only a few items have been lots to the mildew now. Today is the second day since we left Sadhana and the cyclone has finally worn its self out and save for a few light showers seems to be over. There are trees down everywhere, and power is still out but the storm is over and everwhere you look locals are clearing the trees and working to restore power. This blog is being posted courtesy of the generator outside the Internet point :P

permalink written by  Slade's Elucidation on November 29, 2008 from Pondicherry, India
from the travel blog: Slade's Elucidation
tagged India, Auroville and SadhanaForest

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