Saturday, January 16, 2010
Chennai India 16-1-10
It's hot to be a woman here in Chennai, India, literally, as I peruse the rather dodgy looking cafes wrapped in all my layers and scarves. Unlike most countries I've visited where the warning signs in Lonely Planet read "dress modestly" but aren't adhered to by the international tourist - here in India they are. I have yet to see the bare shoulders or legs of a woman anywhere, meanwhile it's humid and 80+ degrees.
The cafes though dirty, strangely lit, and often lacking the "Western fork", have by far the best Indian food I've ever eaten. The spices are decadent and every meal is an Indian meal made of spice, rice, and naan.
Chennai doesn't seem the place to go shopping, nightlife is scarce, the buildings aren't charming, and many of the shops have been closed our entire 3 days here, due to a festival happening in Southern Tamil Nadu. However, the streets are full of people, both wonderfully friendly and harassing, both well-to-do and extremely poor - for example this beautiful little girl we found with her family on the side of the street. She is adorable, yes? Behind her is a family and two stray dogs sleeping amongst the screaming horns, midday, with their faces flat down on pavement that even the barefoot warriors wouldn't lay a naked foot upon. In the photo below is her mother we assume, and her pet monkey.