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Newer Page 958 of 968 Older Full Trip Report
India Chennai T Nagar

7 December 2005

Laundry

Today is to be my first full day of actual work, no tours, no meetings, but the first task is to arrange some laundry to be done, I call up the number it says for laundry, and the person who answers says 'no problem sir' and a few sentences in tamil (I assume he is speaking to someone else).
A couple of minutes later a man arrives at my door to shine my shoes.....
No, thats not right, lets try with props, I show him my laundry, which i have folded in a plastic bag, he looks at his shine box and brush, looks confused, then proceeds to try and brush my dirty clothes with his shine brush, 'no no no no!' I try to explain, he calls up on my phone, talks for a while, hands it to me, a girl is on the other end.... 'hair cut?' no, I tell her laundry, wash clothes, she speaks to the shoe shiner, and he laughs and takes my clothes, will I ever see them again? who knows!

Today I am working at a different facility, I promise not to many boring work details, but one thing to test is a text to speech tool, it reads text out in a human voice. To prove how great it works a demo has been set up that not only speaks to me, but I speak to it, so I get given a microphone and the computer asks me how is my day, and my name and sir etc. A crowd is forming by this point....I keep asking for the speakers to be turned down, but no, that doesnt appear to be an option (I am betting it is, but they are pretending its not)
So I talk to the computer for a while and am wished good fortune, and it guesses that I am from Adelaide, that I like to cook pizza, and basically it asks me questions which it knows the answers to based on information I had shared with my Indian friends.
Now...I am not sure at this point wether I am supposed to believe the machine has artificial intelligence, or wether I am supposed to just appreciate the effort, but soon after laughter erupts around me, followed by furious hand shaking.

Lunch today at this facility is not as luxurious as the last couple of days, I get to eat in the cafeteria, a sales manager who presented initially to us in Australia joins us, and he has lived in Australia and America, and tells me that my presence in the facility is much amusement to the staff, as no one before has worked in amongst the cubicles, eaten in the cafeteria, or especially stayed all day - it seems most other V.I.P.'s (his words not mine) come in a group, for half an hour, and leave.

I leave on time, which gives me plenty of opportunity to venture out, I have convinced my friends they do not need to escort me back to the hotel in the car, the driver knows where he is going.
Upon arriving back, I dismiss the driver for the evening, he seems thrilled, I think he is getting paid regardless, and I suspect he would of sat in the hotel car park until 10pm otherwise.
I collect my camera, ensuring it has the memory card, and venture out to the street to get a three wheeler taxi!
'english? english?' I ask, theres about 10 three wheeler taxis to choose from, most of the drivers are 3 foot tall and 200 years old! soon a young fellow comes over, he speaks english, and helps me negotiate a price to go to T.Nagar a market for clothing and jewellery, but mostly bright lights. 100 rupees is the fee, which is $3.

India-Chennai-T Nagar - We stop for fuel and I snap a pic of the taxi, or auto rickshaw as they are called, apparently theres room enough for 4 people in the back of one of t

We stop for fuel and I snap a pic of the taxi, or auto rickshaw as they are called, apparently theres room enough for 4 people in the back of one of these.


India-Chennai-T Nagar - T.Nagar - the building on the right of this picture is the nicest shop in all of Chennai, it stands out like a sore thumb. It is of course where I am

T.Nagar - the building on the right of this picture is the nicest shop in all of Chennai, it stands out like a sore thumb. It is of course where I am dropped off.


India-Chennai-T Nagar - A view down the main street, each side has the shops, and in front, the stalls, with wires running everywhere, also theres lots of cooking going on in

A view down the main street, each side has the shops, and in front, the stalls, with wires running everywhere, also theres lots of cooking going on in the street, huge woks of boiling oil are frying all manner of things, just inches from passing traffic, very dangerous job!


India-Chennai-T Nagar - Another street in T.Nagar, this one I suspect has traffic only when pedestrians allow, I am being followed by people trying to sell me childrens toys,

Another street in T.Nagar, this one I suspect has traffic only when pedestrians allow, I am being followed by people trying to sell me childrens toys, they are very annoying, my usual defences dont work 'I have no children', 'I do not like children', 'I have no money', 'no english por favor'.


India-Chennai-T Nagar - Just another photo...

Just another photo...


India-Chennai-T Nagar - Pot World! Pots as far as the eye can see, this picture is taken at night, and the flash didnt even go off, its blinding!

Pot World! Pots as far as the eye can see, this picture is taken at night, and the flash didnt even go off, its blinding!


I go into a department store, the bottom 3 floors are sarees (not sure if I am spelling that right), but I really do have no clue on what to buy, everything is orange, lime green, pink, or combinations of the three, and all wrapped in plastic like a mans shirt. I am followed by 5 girls, immaculately dressed and with lots of jewellery, they speak english, soon a man comes in a very nice suit, and tells me how grateful he is that I have chosen his store.
This is surely a sales tactic, there MUST be tourists in this part of town all the time (although I am yet to see a single one), but the fuss that is being made seems ridiculous, I am being offered a drink, a seat, a private room to view purchases, custom fitting, free shipping to england (I dont think I sound english) etc.
Now bear in mind, I am wearing jeans, a t-shirt and carrying a backpack, no jewellery of any kind, and by myself - I surely looked like a scruffy lost backpacker, so I am baffled by this behaviour.
But the tactics have worked, I suggest perhaps I can buy mens shirts, for business, I am ushered upstairs, they have a large range, all are 100% cotton shirts...supposedly, I buy two shirts, for the grand total price, of 320 rupees, just under $10, and these were from the expensive 'brand name western shirts' section of the store.

India-Chennai-T Nagar - My two brand name shirts, Smarty brand, and Napier brand - I have no idea if they are half way decent, but for $10 I can use them to wash the car.

My two brand name shirts, Smarty brand, and Napier brand - I have no idea if they are half way decent, but for $10 I can use them to wash the car.


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