Jesse’s Blog

Monday, June 26, 2006

Bad news…

I think I may have gotten sick from the salad after all. It started bothering me after dinner on Saturday night and by Sunday my stomach was turning over itself all day long. I won’t go into details.

Still, it wasn’t bad enough that I couldn’t go out and about. After I met Raj for lunch to discuss some business, Garland and Esther joined us and we all went out to go shopping at Spencer Plaza (a really *big* mall in Chennai). It’s full of little stores and big stores, food vendors, service providers (like dry cleaning)… pretty much everything you’d need! Garland and Esther got some lunch at Mary Brown while I grabbed a smoothie at a juice store (they only use mineral water and “safe” ice as it says on their menu – they better not be lying!). After buying a present for Rachel (hmmm… wonder what it could be, honey??) everyone bought some cookies at Cookie Man. Except me… my stomach was getting worse.

Spencer Plaza, Chennai.
Picking out some cookies at Cookie Man in Spencer Plaza.After Spencer’s Plaza we hit up a street market where Esther wanted to buy some bracelets like the ones she bought on her last trip to Chennai. Garland and I wandered up and down the block looking at the various goods people were selling. Everyone was begging us to come and look at their stuff.

Raj helping Esther negotiate some bracelet prices at the market.Garland wandering around the streets of a Chennai market.I was pretty eager to get back to the hotel and take a nap. Esther was tired, too (since she just arrived late the previous night) so her and I conked out while Garland did some work. I slept restlessly until I had to leave for my flight.

I waited at the airport for about an hour and a half for Albert and Lara to deplane and get through customs. They had flown Lufthansa from Frankfurt, but one of their bags got damaged. After figuring out how to report it to the New Delhi Lufthansa office, we made our way to the domestic terminal to take our SpiceJet flight back to New Delhi through Hyderabad. I barely noticed the flight – thankfully I was sleeping the whole time. Mahindra picked us up from the airport and we went straight home and passed out after talking to Rachel for a bit on our new wireless connection with my PDA. It’s great to be connected at home. :)

Albert and Lara on the SpiceJet plane from Chennai to Delhi at 2:30am.
See all my Chennai pics.
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posted by Jesse at 2:58 am  

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Chennai

Today I headed down to Chennai with Garland. I’m picking up Albert and Lara tomorrow and meeting with Raj about our backend infrastructure for Exigent.

We got to the airport about 2 hours early, which was good, because I forgot that I had the office keys in my pocket and had to call Mahindra (our driver) to turn back around and come get them from me. For some reason he had only been gone 10 minutes but it took an hour to come back! I feel bad for him.

The domestic terminal was dirty but I’m getting used to that here in India. Even so, the chairs were nice (though we didn’t sit) and there was a nice plasma screen showing a Hindi network. As we stood in line for the plane we met a guy named Peter from New York. He looked a little strewn out and I found out that, after 20 days in India, he was feeling very disenchanted and ready to go home. He had been to the major cities: Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi. Like many Americans I imagine he wasn’t quite ready for the amount of poverty and need that is everywhere here.

We walked out on to the tarmac and got sardined into a bus that took us out to the plane. I was surprised to see that the plane was actually virtually brand-new. Garland said that these budget domestic Indian airlines are sometimes less than a year old. Despite the fact that we had to pay for everything on the flight (including water), and the fact that we were delayed almost 2 hours due to air-traffic backup, our flight on Air Deccan was nice and we arrived in high spirits.
We met a nice Vietnamese girl named Chau (pronounced “choh”) as we deplaned. She taught us some Hindi she had learned, which I now forget, and Garland impressed her with his ability to count to 10 in Vietnamese. She told me she is studying Electronic Communication in Chennai… It seems like an interesting place to come to study if you’re from Vietnam, but what do I know? I’m just a gringo. She liked the pictures I was taking out the window (and I did get some nice ones), so I got her e-mail address so I could send them to her.

Garland and I made our way to the prepaid taxi booth that would take us to our hotel. The ride through Chennai brought back some memories of last March when I was here. The feel is a lot different down here, and if it weren’t for the pollution that is practically hanging in the air I might even prefer it over Noida. It is definitely a lot dirtier here, though, and I don’t know if I’d really want to stay here for a year.

We headed to Hotel Green Park which is where I’m sitting now writing this. I also wrote the last entry right before I wrote this one – but you might never know that unless I fessed up since I sneakily put yesterday’s date and time on it! And the good news is I’m not sick. Yes, folks – I can eat salad at Papa John’s. I’m stoked!

I think I’m going to get a massage at the salon here and go hang out by the pool. Tomorrow I have a busy day. Apart from everything else Selva says he is going to teach me to ride his motorcycle. On Monday, Red Avenger cometh.

I’ll post some pictures for these last two entries when I get back to the office.

posted by Jesse at 5:44 am  

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