Thursday, September 08, 2011

Chennai Revisited

Temple of Shiva in Chennai, India
It has been almost two(2) decades since I first set foot in Madras, India. During that time, we stayed for forty five (45) in port when hubby's vessel was discharging grains as aide from the USA that needed to be bagged before it can be discharged. It was at a time when hubby was still a young, newly promoted and  dashing Master. 
One of my treasured memories  of Madras, was when a movie was filmed in the ship, meeting face to face with their local actors and actresses. They shot the film under extreme heat because the vessel's air condition system was not functioning well that time, but they did it with-out any complaints at all.
During our recent trip, the place was  renamed  to Chennai. We were there,  for hubby to attend the Safety Ambassador Training at the Maersk Training Center. He may not be as dashing as before but he is a perfect epitome of an Officer and a Gentleman.
The place showed little signs of progress, but traffic was still monstrous because of the on-going MRT construction. Pollution and garbage remained a challenge in almost the same degree as it was before but this time, I only saw one cow walking in the streets. There  are still no air conditioned buses plying the city routes. The tourists  uses the "auto" , a three wheel vehicle powered by a motorbike. It is equivalent to the "tuktuk"  in Thailand, and to the tricycle in Manila. Thus far,  there are no taxis plying the city. The extreme heat, air pollution, beggars, and foul odors from rotting garbage  are major turn off for tourist in roaming around the city.
We were billeted at the Green Park Hotel. It's a four star hotel and quite good. The service staff were all polite and courteous. The facilities were good standing up to it's class. The contents in the mini fridge are compliments to the hotel guest. Everyday, there were two (2) free bottles of soft drinks, a pack of potato chips, candies. two bottles of mineral water plus the usual coffee, tea, sugar, creamer sachets. The soft drinks (Coca Cola) in Chennai taste similarly in Seoul, South Korea, sweet but not heavily  carbonated... so yummy !!! 
On the over all, the hotel accommodation was fine, except that our stay could have been more comfortable if service slippers were provided in the room, since tourist baggage allowance is only 20kgs. We have to walk barefoot on granite stone floors which was quite cold.
Progress is quite evident in the city as a nearby mall to the hotel is under construction.
The hotel that we stayed was not centrally located, so we need to pay 150 rupees for a ride to the Express Avenue Mall.

The newest mall in the city  which is home  to  local and International brands of clothes, shoes, bags, and food chains. 
Fine quality silk products used as sarees are displayed at the malls.
Exquisitely designed gold jewelery are  also sold there, the price of which had gone up five times than the last time I bought one. As always, they remained a delight to every woman's eyes....

One good  thing about traveling is that it  helps us develop a 

deeper sense of  values and makes us realize to appreciate 

and be grateful of what we have in our home  country.

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