From Dubai to Chennai
Trip Start Jul 11, 2010
2Trip End Jul 16, 2010
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Where I stayed
What I did
The Chennai airport is pretty much the polar opposite of Dubai – it looks like it’s half finished in places, and in most places looks like it had seen better days. Out the window whilst queuing through customs I saw something scurry along the wooden scaffolding; however I’m not 100% certain whether it was a lizard or a rat. The queue to get through customs was so slow it would do England proud. Maybe long, slow queues is something we exported to them when they forcibly joined the then British Empire.
When we stepped outside the airport it was instantly obvious that the city had a high level of humidity, probably something to do with it being monsoon season
The hotel, Quality Inn Sabari Classic, isn’t a bad looking place and all vehicles that go up onto their secure drive are checked for bombs with no exceptions
It turned out our taxi driver was booked for a day so we all went back outside after having changed so we could be driven around Chennai to take in some of the sights that the city has to offer. The first stop was about 30km outside of the built-up area and was a place called “The Bank” where they breed crocodiles for export to the rest of the world. Unfortunately the one day that place is closed is Monday, which also happened to be the day we were there. Unfortunate, but there were still over sights we could go and see. Instead we continued on into a slightly more “touristy” type area where there were the local-made goods you’d expect to see in a tourist area.
The entire focus of Mahabalipuram was around a series of temples carved into the stone and an impressive relief. We were of course hassled by many people wanting to sell their wares or their services as a guide. One person we said “no” to decided they wanted to follow us anyway which I knew would get awkward once we’d finished
Back down in the reception of the hotel we each ordered a cake and a cup of tea, but the tea was the foulest tasting tea I had ever tasted. I thought at the time that the cheesy taste it had meant it was probably goat’s milk, but apparently it is cows milk just not processed in the way we’re used to. Apparently what they do is boil it instead of pasteurise it.
A short sleep later we were picked up by the company we'd travelled there to meet and taken to the MGM Beach Resort where we sampled various Indian dishes on a buffet whilst watching a heavy lightning storm light up the night sky. This beach resort backed onto the Indian Ocean at a place called Bay of Bengal, but the water is so strong there it is not safe to swim. A few years previous this whole area had been devastated by a tsunami but they’ve done an amazing job renovating the place
The food there was amazing, and even the locals found the foot so hot (as in spicy) that it was causing them to sweat. But we all dug in and enjoyed trying authentic Indian food, there were particular dishes that tasted absolutely amazing.
On the way back to the hotel we got to experience monsoon season a little closer as the rain pelted down so hard it was bouncing back up from the road surface by almost half a metre. After five minutes of heavy rain it disappeared as quickly as it had come, but a few minutes later it started again and continued at least until we reached Siruseri (one of the suburbs in Chennai).
Back at the hotel it was finally time to rest before the we started working for the remaining days.