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Newer Page 959 of 968 Older Full Trip Report
India Chennai Cow

6 December 2005

Another pre work walk

After waking up at 5 a.m. again, and watching the second half of a movie about a guy with a sword who fights dinosaurs inside darkly lit apartment buildings, I decide it is time to venture out for another walk.
It is easier than walking at night, it is also less busy, easier to cross roads. I walk up the street my hotel is on for a while, there is not much to see, mainly hardware shops selling tiles, cement, fireworks....

India-Chennai-Cow - Scene on the main street, still quiet at 7am

Scene on the main street, still quiet at 7am


India-Chennai-Cow - A side street - I am amused that there seems to be driving schools based here

A side street - I am amused that there seems to be driving schools based here


India-Chennai-Cow - The ox is laughing at the stupid Australian

The ox is laughing at the stupid Australian


India-Chennai-Cow - Joyous Occasions Buy the best COCK.............brand fireworks

Joyous Occasions Buy the best COCK.............brand fireworks


I manage to cross the road, a police man is guiding traffic, however upon seeing me, traffic is no longer important to him, he chats to me instead, he speaks very good english and knows somebody in Sydney and asks if I might know them, or have heard of them etc.
He wishes me on my way, and tells me that Chennai is the best city in India, do not go to Dehli....OK, thanks for the advice.
I find a side street with bitumen, and take it as a sign, there are stores along here, some selling packets of lays potato chips, but not the normal size packets, they are tiny little packets that come in a string of packets joined together, it seems like it would be hard work to open a packet for 2 chips to me, so I keep walking. Some sites presented themselves along the way.

India-Chennai-Cow - This is the nicest looking house on the street, I believe this is the garage, although it has a sign of some sort, perhaps the person living here is a

This is the nicest looking house on the street, I believe this is the garage, although it has a sign of some sort, perhaps the person living here is a doctor or lawyer who you see in their home or something.


India-Chennai-Cow - And in contrast, heres one of the more common forms of houses along here, there seems to be about 10 people in there

And in contrast, heres one of the more common forms of houses along here, there seems to be about 10 people in there


India-Chennai-Cow - Electricity is no problem, the local authority has erected 10,000 volt transformers on every street corner with no fence, this one buzzes loudly.

Electricity is no problem, the local authority has erected 10,000 volt transformers on every street corner with no fence, this one buzzes loudly.


I decide to not take my camera to work today due to the security issues, but think I will again from tomorrow, as I discuss it with my friends and they suggest that it should be OK, but perhaps they are being polite?
The morning session I do some actual work, so nothing to report, spirited argument is had on some change requests.

Lunch is once again in the fancy lunch room, another selection of Indian dishes, which is again fantastic, apart from the savory curds, which I dont like too much, weird tasting, but its the texture I dont like, yoghurt mixed with crushed rice and carrot. They have prepared 3 meat dishes, thinking that I would need them, I tell them its a waste, as I am the only meat eater, tomorrow perhaps only one meat dish, the other 14 can be vegetarian.

After lunch it is time for me to give another one of my famous speeches, where as yesterday I addressed 2 teams seperately, today they have all assembled together, looking for a more formal speech...some notice would have been nice, I think it was assumed that I would come prepared with speeches, perhaps thats what other clients do when they come here.
I try my best, as I have 2 hours, but many of the people in attendance are quite junior, and shy, and despite my insistence that they ask questions, no one does....I am forced to resort to asking questions myself 'hands up anyone whos been to Australia'....no hands, not even the guys that I worked in Melbourne with...but then finally I make a breakthrough, 'our Melbourne office is quite near the MCG' (the MCG is Australias largest cricket ground).
All of a sudden everyone, male and female, has questions, luckily I am quite knowedgable on cricket, even Indian cricket, and I am well aware that Irfan Pathan is the new shining light in Indian cricket.

On a roll now, and keen to talk somewhat about work, I remember that in Melbourne we have the contract for the waste at the Melbourne Grand Prix, and that Karthakayen, who is an Indian F1 driver for the new Midland team (formerly Jordan) is from South India.
So I some how manage to relate sport Indians are interested in back to collecting rubbish, and give an idea of the logistics involved for doing so at such an event, and how new systems could help.
I have written far too much about boring work stuff! I will try not to, hopefully, no more speeches have to be given!

In the evening it is arranged for me to go to see some sites, a nice fellow is assigned to accompany me with the driver, I feel sorry for him that he has to entertain the stupid Australian instead of going home to his family, and I make apologies.
However...riding in a car with me seems to be the greatest thing he has ever done, plus - and this I found a little strange, he was married in January, his new wife leaves to work in Singapore for 2 years next month, his new wife lives 500km away...with his parents! He has seen here only 3 times since the wedding, under supervision. Only when she returns from Singapore will they consider moving in together.
So until then, he is living with 4 other guys - he sleeps on the roof.

Now, we return to my hotel on the way and I grab my camera, but I am a total ass, the SD card for my camera is in my laptop, which is at the hotel, so no pictures!
We go to a massive church, st thomas, apparently this is the biggest tourist attraction in chennai, I am thinking perhaps it is if you are catholic, cause to me its just a church...no it didnt fall down as I entered.
We are quite near the famous marina beach, which some say is the largest in the world, it is dark though so I am wondering what I will see, we get out of the car and I cant see water, just people, bikes, cooking setups, statues etc.

Perhaps I have found the answer to how this is the biggest beach in the world despite being only 12 miles long, there is a good kilometre of sand before you get to the water, and the sand never gets wet (apart from tsunami day).
As a result this sand is rock hard, people are riding their bikes on it, it is very weird.
The statues are mainly of film stars, and for the whole 12 miles the beach is lit up with spot lights.
Film stars I can understand, but my new friend tells me that the most popular statues, at which you have to line up for hours to see, are the tombs of the former chief ministers of Tamil Nadu. Now, wherever you are reading this from, please for a minute imagine first of all constructing a tomb in a prominent public place for your states/provinces leader, then imagine people making a pilgrimage from all over the state just to see it, waiting in line for hours to touch it, bizzarre!

To get to the beach we passed many nice looking areas, compared to where my hotel is, and I ask if we can go to a supermarket, so I can get supplies, of course this is no problem, it would have been no problem if it meant driving to another country I am sure, you have to be careful what you ask for, because even if it is a very big problem, it is no problem.
The supermarket is on the way home sort of, it is not that big, but is basically 100% a junk food supermarket. It also seems to be the place to hang out if you are young and have a car in Chennai, theres a Skoda with a Supra wing and a sticker down the door that says 2FAST4YOO.
I am a little concerned that there are no price tags on the shelves or the items, and fear that this is a plan to charge stupid Australians 10 times the normal price.
My friend points out to me, the maximum retail price including taxes for all items is printed by the manufacturer on every single item, so theres no competition in the retail sector at all.

Its all junk food, I get a cadbury block of chocolate, 2 litre pepsi, a box of chocolate biscuits and a big bag of lays 'AMERICAN CHEESE AND TOMATO CHUTNEY' potato chips - cost for this is about $2.
It is now late and I am tired, so I get dropped off, and this is entirely too much text without photos - I promise never to forget my memory card again!

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