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Winging it “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” - Martin Buber, Philosopher

Chennai

INDIA | Thursday, 24 January 2008 | Views [869] | Comments [3]

I was really excited about flying into India, it has been such a long time. And nothing tells you that you have arrived quite like the soung of the traffic and horns blaring away. Taxi drivers look at you enthusiastically, hoping they can get to you first. We were bundled into a classic old Mercedes and were whisked out of the International Airport over potholed roads at breakneck speed, barely missing people and motorcycles, horn blaring to let a very overladen truck know we were passing virtually underneath it. A faded saffron-tassled paper image swung erraticly from the mirror and the driver alternated between humming along to tinny Indian tunes, yawning and hawking productive gobs of saliva out the window.

Our hotel was not quite what I expected from the online photos or price, and we had to ask for the greasy, blackened sheet to be changed and the blanket to be removed. First priority the next day was to look for a new hotel and to sledge the hotel on trip advisor!!!

Anyway, a clean hotel cheered my spirits dramatically and so we could face the city with enthusiam. After a very lame tour consisting of a Brittish War museum, a drive by the beach, a Catholic church and a temple closed for renovations, I decided to wander the city. Now you'd think that if you just keep turning left, you would get back to where you started fairly easily- I guess nothing is that easy in India. After a confusing number of alleys and dead ends, I ended up a little lost, but decided to keep going anyway.

Streets were busy with kids coming home from school and tiffin being consumed, tandoors heated and street pickers painstakingly sorting through piles of rubbish and flattening paper for selling to recycling middlemen. I ended up along the river lined by shanty town huts, and was soon approached by a couple of girls of about eight years. They were rather bold and came up to practive their English on me which was limited to 'Hello Madam' and 'Happy New Year'. We were watched carefully by the others until they saw I was chatting and suddenly I was mobbed by children wanting to shake my hand and wish me Happy New Year. Every now and then a hand reached out to touch the skin on my arm, and surreptitiously, my hair. They soon realized I had a camera and as soon as I took a photo, they would rush to have a look at the image. Even a couple of mothers were interrested in the process. It was difficult to extract myself and was stopped a number of times on this road. I wish I had more time and perhaps a video camers so the kids could have some real fun recording themselves and watching the playback.

Next onto Bombay

Tash

Tags: culture

Comments

1

Glad to hear you are stll travelling with such enthusiasm.India sounds very colouful.
All is well at home except Neil Fong has resigned for some dodgy emails to Brian Burke and Heath Ledger has died.
No doubt this news fills you with anticipation for your return.
Lots of love.
Mum and Dad

  mum and dad Jan 26, 2008 5:11 PM

2

Hi Guys
Glad to hear you are having interesting time so far, look forward to reading more of your adventures. All is well.
Susie

  susie Jan 27, 2008 12:15 PM

3


We have had the dubious honour of staying at #2 on the dirtiest hotels in Asia list!!! (OK, not really that much of a surprise, really)
http://www.tripadvisor.com/DirtyHotels-g2
tash :)

  tash Feb 1, 2010 7:38 PM

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