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India Chennai Flood

5 December 2005

Work time

I manage to sleep until about 5 a.m. local time, quite an achievement as thats 10 a.m. Adelaide time.
Im excited to look outside! I get dressed and go downstairs soon after first light, and snap these cool shots.

India-Chennai-Flood - View down the street to the right of my hotel

View down the street to the right of my hotel

India-Chennai-Flood - View to the left of hotel

View to the left of hotel

India-Chennai-Flood - The Radha Park Inn - fittinly named

The Radha Park Inn - fittinly named

Time to go to work, easier said than done, the roads are washed away in places, and in some I think theres just the suggestion of a road might be around some place, once again red lights are just ignored, in fact they are turned off, at major intersections a police man directs traffic, a braver man than me.
I do feel safe in the big 4wd though, as a scooter or 3 wheeler is no match, and the busses moves at 10kmph with human shields in effect to soften impact (people hang off the outside on running boards...what could possibly go wrong?)
It is difficult to snap a pic whilst moving as the windows are tinted, heres the best I could manage.

India-Chennai-Flood - Moving through Chennai (this is a main street)

Moving through Chennai (this is a main street)

We arrive at my destination, and it is like the Taj Mahal springing up in the middle of a slum, 2 cows are asleep on the 'road' out the front.
I am greeted with more flowers, a couple of thousand people work in this building, but a sign has been erected in the lobby to greet me.
This is a secure facilty, there are guards at every door, and I need to sign a special agreement because they search my bags and find my camera.
We have a meeting and I am expected to give a speech - this I was unaware of, and I have a cast of about 40 people who all introduced themselves, 10 of them I have met before in person or by video conference, but I really am struggling with names...
I give a speech about partnerships, excitement, India, my company, what we have done, where we are going, goals, deliverables for visit, things I am interested in, favourite colors, food I like, the best guitars, a couple of card tricks followed by impersonations.
It goes over well! but they are so polite.

We now move down the road to another Taj Mahal like facility, for another division, time for another speech! some repeat audience members have made the journey, so I have to mix it up! I had no idea I would be giving speeches, but I dont dissapoint as they are laughing, at the stupid Australian.

Now it is time for lunch, I am excited! the facility has very high quality cafeterias, the main meal in India is lunch, and the employees pay about 25 cents each for lunch to be provided....I am expecting to eat with the workers in the luxurious cafeteria, but no, theres a private room for me and 10 people, which has gold statues and waiters in elaborate dress.
There are 20 dishes to choose from, I expressed my fondness for Indian food, and so there is a full selection, I am dared to try every dish, which I do, they are great, my hosts seem genuinely surprised, I earn some respect, and finish with Lassi (Curds and sugar, imagine a yoghurt drink).

Lunch lasts an hour or so, and we share travel stories, I am at the head of the table but finally the attention shifts to others for some of the time.

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