Thurs. Jan 11 - Chennai

Because of jetlag, they were all up pretty early. Technically, we had reserved the morning to unpack their bags and repack them seriously. As could be expected, despite their efforts to travel light, they still came with much much more than they should have. Axle at least had an excuse for her extra bag—it was entirely full of candy, chocolate, and Christmas cookies for Amy and I—so that was totally acceptable.

Of course, Henny, in true Henny fashion, didn’t want to deal with having to unpack and repack already. She kept complaining that all the old ladies here seemed to be perfectly acceptable walking around showing their back-fat-rolls, and why couldn’t she just wear her sleeveless tops? So, instead of thinning out her luggage contents, she decided to prune our wilting, dying plants and clean one of our porches.

Wed. Jan 10 - Chennai

Amy and I decided that the first part of the business plan was to get the foreigners some decent clothes. I mean, we knew that there was no way to prevent us from sticking out like sore thumbs, but at least wearing kurtis and Indian-looking clothes would reduce the number of full-on stares that we would be getting. We also figured we could take them walking a little, to help get them accustomed to the chaotic process of crossing streets and so on.

The disappointing autorickshaw cartels...

…and my decision to hold my own auto strike….

Chennai is somewhat famous for their autorickshaws, but not necessarily in a good way. The drivers here are notorious for overcharging for the shortest of rides, so, Amy and I have been doing some research into the situation. It has been a process that has been going on the entire time that we have been in Chennai and one that has been recently affected by a change in the price of petrol.

When Amy first moved into our apartment, she was paying the men at the auto stand near our house Rs. 20 for a ride to work. After doing this for a little while, she tried getting a ride from the street and found that Rs. 15 was the “normal price” and that it was usually quite easy to get an auto to take her at that rate. Still, the men at the auto stand, perhaps accustomed to the Rs. 20 that he had been paying all along, refused to budge on their price.

Quiet times on Chennai's roads

My friend, Martin, really wants me to get a motorcycle while I am living in Chennai, India….

Attack of the white ants

Part 1: “Aieee! Get the camera! Ewww…. What are they?!?”

When I first walked into my new home in Chennai, I was happy to find myself walking into a nice spacious two-bedroom apartment. Amy hadn’t really told me too much about the place before I came—just that it was big and that it was across the street from one of the most famous sweets-shop (Shree Mithai) in Chennai.

The P James Magic Show

From the first day I arrived in Chennai, there were a few things which stood out to me. I’ve already mentioned several of them—like the traffic and smells and pollution and so on—but I haven’t mentioned the P. James Magic Show.

Crammed like the Chennai traffic

So, week one is over, and I haven’t really had too much of a chance to reflect on what has happened so far. So, I’ll do my best to recall them now….

I’m really enjoying Chennai. In a way, it reminds me a lot of my time in Jinan, China. The main advantage here is that language is not an issue at all here. Although the English skills of many of the locals I encounter every day (auto-drivers, shopkeepers and so on) is very choppy, I haven’t had a situation where I was unable to express myself adequately. That certainly makes things easier for me.