Trip Start Apr 07, 2007
Trip End Sep 20, 2007

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Flag of India  , Tamil Nadu,
Monday, May 7, 2007

- CHENNAI 7th - 9th May 2007

Staying Hotel Ambassdor Pallava - what a great name - on Montieth Rd., (Egmore region) one of the dearer places we have been but sadly lacking some soul but it has American guests and piped C&W music from satelite radio with an announcer that for all the world sounds like Larry Gogan.

So Chennai or Madras is a low rise kind of disjointed city with no one centre (bit like Bangalore) but it's easy nuf to get between places by auto rickshaw, also too hot to walk so at least there's a breeze in the auto rickshaw. Tamil Nadu is the state and it has great coffee (saw our first eunuch in a coffee shop dressed in a pink sari), also south Indian food is different to the Indian food we get in europe which must be mainly northern Indian (or Pakistani as my Bombay friend in Dublin once told me), it is lovely with things called idly and dosa and sambar

They were hit by the tsunami in 2004 but Marina beach and Elliott beach are back to normal (well I'd say less some buildings but the beachs look grand now) with I notice some EU funding. The people are so nice, no beggars, everyone on the two beachs just wanted to shake our hands and say hi and get their photos taken or introduce their kids to westeners. We were the only whites so a real novelty, in fact C. thought we probably had the same effect (fully dressed I might add) as the topless girl on Salthill beach had on the local 14 year olds in 1982.

We visited the Vivekanada Museum housed in the ex-icehouse, Vivekanada was a travelling swami (monk) preaching love and tolerance all over the world - adopted by Theosophical society and roots of new age. Very interesting life. We did try and go to the Theosophical society but they seemed to think 8th of May was a public holiday when no one else did (except for lthe marriage registration office in St Thomas's cathedral) and then the next day they were only open 8.30am-10am (LP said Midday) sure it was hardly worth their while getting up for 8.30 opening so! So we had to settle for the bookshop the Adyar library instead. But St Thomas's (the doubting apostle) tomb and basicila was open, did you know only 3 apostles have churches built on their tombs, St. Thomas here in Chennai, St Peter in Rome and St. James in Spain, no? well you do now. Just keep our religions balanced we also went to the hindu temple Kapalaeeshwarar and managed not get fleeced this time.

Also we had a great post office experience, C. wanted to post a present to his God daughter for her birthday and so we went to the post office, the 1st one did not do parcels! So we went to the main one where not only did they do parcels, they wrapped it for you in rough linen and sewed the wrapping on and gave you coffee while you waited and had chats with you - in a very industrial looking post office I might add.

So liking Chennai and keeping south even though it's 37 degrees and off 2 hours down the road to Mamallapuram next.....
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