Southern India

Trip Start Nov 12, 2007
Trip End Mar 26, 2008

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Flag of India  ,
Friday, November 30, 2007

1500 km to the south, we land in Chennai (formerly Madras).  The largest city (6.4 million) in the province of Tamil Nadu, the fourth in the country. Very refreshing to see Muriel standing and waving our arrival. A pre-pay taxi, plus tip of course, whisk us off to the bach.  A large, main floor dwelling, rented by a police commissioner who lives upstairs. Murtle, Purash and Julianna DeCosta. Helen from Mombay  is here until Bangalore convention. A typical hand-bucket shower and a noon day feed prepare us for the afternoon of shopping, sight-seeing and visiting. We quickly learn that getting around is a big problem in Chennai. Autorickshaw drivers are tough to bargain with (meters aren't) used and even dispute our agreed upon fare on arrival (go figure). So we decide to also get around via local bus. We visit Raji and her 96-year old mother. A widow since her husband passed away when she was 26! Although quite witty, her memory is gone making for a very humorous visit.  Ebanezer and Ruth Suder along with their youngest daughter Grace, eagerly await us for supper. In 2001, they moved to a larger home in the same employee compound. He is 53 and has worked 28 years in the train building factory. We eat alone as they look on. A normal occurrence here in India. A first taste of dolce.. Can't wait for more.
9:30 fast approaches.  We stuff our packs into two auto-rickshaws and dart into traffic on our way to the train station. Security is VERY tight here. We are forced to walk through a metal detector. It goes off constantly, yet security officials look on as if it is too much bother to get up and check.  3AC is the class of our coach. 6 people per open compartment. A quick visit with our new sleeping companions, before setting up the beds for our 8 hour trip. The conductors helper brings us a well-received handout of two sheets, a pillow, and a felt blanket. The rocking and clickity-clack of the train lulls us to sleep. We will awake in Modurai.
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