Sunday, 31 May 2015
I really like watching the Amazing Race when it is on (teams race around the world having to do various activities and challenges on the way). Almost without fail, the most challenging sectors for the American competitors (particularly the female ones) seems to be the ones in India. So, being a reality show connoisseur like me, I have had a pretty good idea of what to expect in a big Indian city - and Chennai delivered like the opening montage of a movie - there's no Ganges here of course, so none of that washing clothes and funeral pyre images, but in terms of the beeping traffic and people everywhere and heat and colour, and rubbish and contrasts it was exactly what I expected. I wish I could have taken more photos during the 1/2 an hour trip from the airport to the hotel. Hopefully I'll get more later.
One of those was our taxi, no seatbelts of course, and certainly no airconditioning and it's 38 degrees. It was a hot trip!
The one thing I wasn't expecting was the very western shopping centre right across the road which is handy - it could have been a Westfield in Sydney except for the fact that 1/2 the KFC menu is vegetarian. It's got heaps of big brands and bewilderingly even a mountain bike shop - I can not see how anyone would have need for a mountain bike in Chennai, aside from the fact it is flat, there are no parks, and you'd have to be pretty lucky to survive a day out on a bike.
The hotel we are staying at is very serene and cool and quite the opposite of the world buzzing down below my 4th floor room. There's lots of security getting in and out of it, and in fact we even had to be scanned going into the shopping centre. Although like a lot of procedures I've witness so far with immigration and stuff, it seems to be rather half -arsed. For example the taxi arriving at the hotel had a very cursory scan with a mirror underneath it to ensure we weren't coming in with a bomb. But no-one was concerned about what might have been in the boot of the car. Also the hotel security screen beeps everytime you walk though it - but nobody seems to care. It's all for show as far as I can see.