I am sat in the back of my car taking advantage of the 45 minute drive from the airport to my hotel to write my blog. Really hoping I don’t start to feel car sick from this and have to stop.
So, wow, what a fun weekend I had. Saturday I worked copy writing until 14:00 and then I headed out to buy a new camera and straight on to the Bangalore airport for my weekend holiday in Chennai. It was such a fun eye opener to the diversity of India for me so far, I really can’t wait to go back already.
For those of you who don’t know, Chennai is on the eastern seaboard of India, along the same latitudinal line as Bangalore (more or less). It is a short 40 minute flight or a five to seven hour drive, depending on who you ask!! Haha The original name the Brits gave it is Madras, and today is home to 4.3 million people.
My lovely friend Anand, a friend of a friend who I was connected to back in March when I was coming to India for my job interview (thanks Maria, April and JC) invited me to come for a bit of much needed socializing and fun. Aside from my half a dozen work mates (who are all married so I can’t count on them for dinners and happy hours too frequently) I so far don’t have a social circle or network of friends in town. So flying to Chennai for a short 36 hour trip was A-OK in my book and I reserved the first afternoon flight I could.
I was on a mission to take photos of guys in skirts (yes, yes…I know the real name is lungi for these colorful versions and the white ones have a different name but this will be its own blog post!!) and these two were pretty happy to take a photo with me, haha. Even invited me for a coffee in their hut down below with the dog and sheep. Sweeet.
First off, Chennai is HOT. I don’t mean like “India” hot, I mean like Death Valley HOT. It was 42 degrees during the day, cooling off to mid 30s at night which was HORRIBLE because it is also humid. That means that my hair goes “mad scientist” frizzy as soon as I stand outside for more than 90 seconds, haha. Anand swears that this is a “two week weather anomaly” and normally it is not so hot, haha…hmm, just my luck.
Dinner was at Kryptos at 20:00 and it was wonderful. This is a lovely Greek restaurant owned by a charming Australian gentleman who I was fortunate to meet after our meal. The food was amazing but I don’t care about that this time… I had live humans and not my laptop to eat dinner with for the first time in three weeks. What a real treat, I swear to you. Anand’s friends are entrepreneurs, very kind and funny as well as well-traveled and simply put were a real delight to meet. It was fun to hear the differences of opinions amongst everyone on Indian cultural topics that I was curious about. I was even invited out for a movie after but I respectfully declined the invitation to see a local Tamil language film without subtitles. “No, no, Angela, it has lots of dancing so you will be able to follow it.” Haha! Maybe next time???
Next it was a mini night tour of the city and a walk along the beach where hundreds of street vendors sell their goods and services to the thousands of people who flock to the beach each night. Some come to sleep, others to play or go for a stroll or take their children out for cotton candy or some local street food. I was the only foreigner I saw walking around down there which is always fun. And like always, it was a black and white, night and day, yin and yang experience. In Spain, our beaches are lined with chiringuitos that sell tapas and beer, wine, cava (Spanish sparkling wine) or mixed drinks. Some even sell cocktails like mojitos. But this is India and I could have tried dozens of new foods, drank a Sprite or if I was a kid, I could have ridden in a fabulously low tech, hand-cranked carousel. Not quite the same but the smells and sounds and life on the beach were all new for me and I loved it.
Next we hit The Park hotel for a drink at Aqua but it was closed so that ended Day One in Chennai.
Sunday was amazing. We headed out first for sushi at Moma Yama, Chennai’s newest Japanese sushi restaurant. It was deeeee-licious. They even had cold sake which I love. Next we went down south to Vivanta at Fisherman’s Cove (part of the Taj chain). This is an amazing resort right on the water that would be the perfect spot to disconnect for a few days. And there were women in bikinis at the pool and a bar INSIDE the pool…so oh yeah, I am going back!! I didn’t see any stilettos and it didn’t resemble Nikki Beach but mama doesn’t care!! After a nice walk we settled in for a very un-touristy but “just what the doctor needed” couple hours of sipping Champagne Juleps (Champagne with mint and lime) and watching the Bangalore Royals play cricket.
Last we went back into town for some dessert and choco-chai (tea with freshly melted white chocolate milk) and then it was off to the airport. I look loads of photos, laughed a lot … and even walked away with a lovely new silk scarf.
(from the personal blog of Angela)