Room service is on its way so I better make this quick.
Yesterday I arrived in Chennai and first impressions are not great- the city seems very congested and polluted; there are fly-overs and traffic jams everywhere and in general people seem a lot less happy than they did in Kerala. I miss the smiling Keralans faces already.
The frantic Taxi ride was not much fun either; the driver spoke no English so gone was the chance for my default 'sense of the city' conversation with the one guy who knows the city best.
In the evening however, Chennai redeemed itself a bit, as I ventured out to Besant Beach and people watched while I ate my dinner at Tasty Jones Cafe.
Later on I met up with my friend Sooraj who lives here. It was great to see a familiar face and we caught up while he enjoyed a late snack and I had dessert.
The hotel is worth a mention- The Lemon Tree Hotel. After 3 weeks of very Indian accomodation, this place is an oasis of non-Indian ness. I'm calling it the "Ikean Embassy". Also it smells of lemons.
The Euro furnishings and cozy duvet, the English speaking TV, the climate control; the lack of mosquitos and the warm lighting- it's all playing with my mind. I slept in until 11am, cossetted only by the slightest breeze from the ceiling fan.
I awoke to realize just how much for granted we take all these luxuries.
My cousin Avi called me from Toronto using his Vonage line and now I really felt disconnected from the India outside my double glazed window. I chatted with him for over an hour and he recounted a hilarious tale from his recent cruise to the Caribbean that must be retold:
He had been chatting to a fellow cruiser, a Texan man, who was sharing his experiences aboard the boat. Everything was fantastic they agreed, but the Texan mentioned how unhappy he was with the microwave in their room- it just didn't work very well.
Avi started quizzing the man, as he had no microwave in his cabin
and would not have said no to such a wonderful convenience to their stay on the ship.
"Where exactly IS the microwave?" Avi asked..... "Well, you know, it's riiight thaayar, insiide the clooset?" (think: Texan accent).
Inside the closet?! Avi went back to his room and sure enough his suspicions were confirmed. His Texan friend had been placing meals inside the room safe to warm them up.
The best line though I save for last: "The microwave does work," he said, "it's just really slow- we put in some food one night and by the morning, it had cooked just a bit"...
Well cooked or not, his food had been safe as other guests' diamond jewellery.
Well India continues to amaze and impress me- but for most of today I'm going to be a recluse in the Ikean Embassy until the sun abates. Perhaps I'll venture out after my late lunch. Talking of which, Room service has arrived- it's time for my mushroom soup, club sandwich, and melon juice (for 9pounds!). Cheap good food rocks!