Surviving Travelers Fly to Chennai (Madras)

Trip Start Feb 23, 2009
Trip End Mar 18, 2009

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Flag of India  , Tamil Nadu,
Monday, March 9, 2009

    We flew back to India on this day, and we wished we'd been able to spend more time in Sri Lanka. The beach at Unawatuna was the most relaxing place we went, and we loved seeing the more tropical inland parts of the island, including rubber plantations and tea plantations, and buying amazing fruits and nuts from the side of the road. We had great food everywhere we went, and really liked the Sri Lankan people we met. Unfortunately, even on the day we left there was a suicide bomber at a mosque about half an hour from Unawatuna, who killed 16 people at a religious celebration.

    Our flight from Colombo to Chennai was different than any other flight we took. It was filled with a rowdy male crowd who steadfastly ignored requests from the flight crew to sit in their assigned seats, or not walk around during takeoff, etc. They all had duty-free bags stuffed in the overhead lockers, and as soon as the bump of the landing, they all jumped out of their seats and started rustling around in the bing. In the Chennai airport, I saw that most of them had 12-packs of beer in those bags. We thought we saw some of them stealing from others, so we kept a close eye on our belongings. Jae said, "This is the first time on the trip that I've been uncomfortable." None of the group had any luggage, so it seemed to be a group of workers who flew back and forth all the time.

    Chennai was another big, chaotic hot city. We checked into the rather nice Eco-hotel called The Rain Tree, which had been recommended by a friend who's living in Chennai, and he met us for drinks at the rooftop restaurant that night. Our friend, an American who moved there to live for about a year with his wife and kids as he supervised a film special-effects house, described his experiences being the only American in his office where he supervised hundreds of Indian artists and technicians.

    I asked Jae, "What makes something an Eco-hotel?" She said it was because they used bamboo in making the flooring, used flourescent lights, managed power useage, and other things. What they didn't manage to control was the lousy music in all the public areas; light jazz, usually played by Kenny G, that was audible in every lobby and restaurant. Almost every hotel we went to on this trip thought they were doing us a favor by programming "pleasant" American light jazz, and I hated it, particularly because I wanted to hear local music.

    End of tirade. For now.
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