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Bicycles, Beaches and Good Food (Chapter 4)

Chapter 4: Food, Food and More Food

Le Dupleix is definitely one of the most serene restaurants I’ve ever been to. Located in a very quiet area, and surrounded by trees, it’s the place to go if you want to have a nice and peaceful meal. We realized that Le Dupleix would make a really good destination for a dinner date. Especially on Valentine’s day. Such a pity we’re all single, I tell you.

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By the time we reached there, we were pretty exhausted and sweaty. All I remember was plonking down on the extremely comfortable chair. Because of the awesome breakfast, none of us were particularly hungry, so eating (believe it or not) wasn’t much of a priority. So we ordered some really refreshing lime sodas (Iced tea, in C.’s case), and sat back, enjoying the atmosphere.

Looking back, I can’t really believe that we only ate so little, but that little was scrumptious, so I guess that makes up for it.

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Before our food arrived, P. and I spent quite a while referring to our map and discussing which direction to head in to reach the beach side. For about half of the duration, we were trying to figure out which side is east. “We have to go towards that side!” She pointed towards our back. “But the sun rises over there!” I pointed in the opposite direction. S. and C. were busy taking pictures.

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Our waitress was a really nice Canadian, who inquired whether we were staying the night at Le Dupleix. We shook our heads disappointedly and informed her about the Pre-Valentine weekend rush (Not that we would be able to afford the place otherwise, but still).  She raised her eyebrows and twisted her lips in such scorn at the phrase, which made all of our days.

From there, we headed to the promenade, the famed walkway flanked by the ocean. Well, we were actually heading for Promenade the Hotel, where we wanted to have dessert from. We cycled for a while (or walked, in C.’s case) along the neat walkway, passing some of the well-known landmarks, such as the French War memorial.

It was soothing to be inside the air conditioned restaurant after enduring the outside heat. We were also looking forward to some yummy and sweet dessert. The waiter, however, thought it appropriate to hand us the drinks menu. Once we corrected that mistake, and got the food menu, imagine our disappointment when we saw they had only about five options for desserts. Plus, we couldn’t just get up and leave now that we had sat down inside. So we settled for Tiramisu, although we had our doubts about how good it would turn out to be. Our suspicions were confirmed when it was served. It was just barely alright.

Regardless of the disappointing dessert, we hung around there a while longer, waiting for the sun to go down. Soon after, we left and roamed around for a while. P. and I made an attempt to teach C. how to ride a bicycle, and failed. Or more like C. gave up after two minutes. At some point, P. and S. initiated what seemed like an enthusiastic photo shoot on the walkway. I got bored, and promptly abandoned C. (with her permission, of course) to cycle towards the other end of the path (or to go off on my own adventure, as P. put it later). Once I was back, we sat down for a while watching the calm ocean. No better way to spend time, I tell you.

Of course, so much time doing random stuff can only be compensated by more food. We parked our bicycles and entered our last restaurant of the day, Le Cafe. Now according to P., this was supposed to be a really good, and really crowded place. The last two times she’d been to Pondicherry, she’d come here to eat, and had left without having anything because the food hadn’t arrived by the time they had to board their bus.

We got our food, thankfully. But we sorely wished that P. had gotten hers the last time she came here, because then we’d have known that it wasn’t so great. For the first time in the day, we were disappointed by what we got to eat. Sigh.

Of course, our time at Le Cafe was still entertaining, because of certain events happening at the table behind us. Being an open air restaurant, the only thing that separated our tables from the road was a fence. A gentleman sitting behind us had thought it appropriate to jump over the fence and onto his seat, much to the chagrin of the management. This led to a tiff between the group and the managers, with the latter even asking them to leave without paying. The fence – jumping gentleman then decided to go have a private word with the authorities, and returned looking triumphant.

Now, why was this event of any consequence to us? Because according to S., the guy resembled Robert Downey Jr (Sighing and swooning in the background). Enough said.

So after some disappointing food and stolen glimpses at the Robert Downey Jr. lookalike (turned out he was bald under his cap! Who’d have thought that?), we headed to bicycle rental. Now that was a fun journey, with C. leading us in an auto rickshaw, and me, S. and P. following, in that order. P. almost got lost, interestingly. The next stop was the bus station. No more waiting this time thankfully. But we did get onto the wrong bus the first time. I’d expected that I’d be dead tired during the return journey, but surprisingly, I wasn’t. P. and I spent almost the entire time chatting like there was no tomorrow, while S. and C. fell asleep with S.’s head resting on the shoulder of C., whose mouth was wide open. I’d have loved to put up a picture of that, but C. would positively kill me. Although the return trip was longer, I found myself wishing that we wouldn’t get back anytime soon, but alas, all good things have to come to an end.

And thus, after almost three years of speculation, we finally went to Pondicherry and came back to tell the tale.