29th February 2016

Woke up at 3am as I am used to in Sri Lanka. Didn't want to wake up my host - Sve. But I couldn't go back to sleep either. Just laid in bed till about 5.30am-ish killing time. Then as quietly as I could I washed myself and got dressed. Last night Sve said that she usually wake up around 6am and leave home to work at about 7.30am. Since there was only one key left, she couldn't give it to me. So we both decided it would be better to leave home together. Once she got up and was ready her usual taxi came by and we both came to Chennai city.

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Definitely now in chennai. Tuktuk ride

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Sve is amused how I was taking pictures of the tuktuk driver and the meter on the tuktuk as if I had never seen it before. Yes, Sri Lanka do have the Indian threewheelers, but this is different. The meter is like so ancient, it is worth taking a picture of! Sve just couldn't help laughing at my strange behaviour.

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Sve & Me in the Auto rickshaw [as they would call it in India] on our way to the Chennai City.

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the auto rickshaw we came in

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Chennai City and in front is the Express Avenue shopping mall. Inside the mall building are shopping as well as various offices. Sve works in one of those offices in the building. Its a big building, but the shopping mall part is not as big as the building.

Sve got off at this junction by the Express Avenue shopping mall to go to work and I too decided to get down there. I am familiar with this mall as I have been here in my previous trips to Chennai. But now it was like 8.30am and nothing opens up until 10am! So what should I do now? Since it was my first day in Chennai why not take a walk and see the place? I asked directions to various places from Sve before she left. The first thing I had to do today was to get a train ticket. My next destination on the plan is Goa. I don't have a mode of travel to there. So I want to go to the rail station and get a ticket as soon as possible. Last night we checked train schedules and seat availability online. But according to those, there were nothing available. And they have to fit according to my bus schedule from Tirupati too.

Besides, at this time of the day, cafes and shops are closed. Going to a good place to eat or do shopping is out of the question. There were a few street food stalls open, but, I didn't want to try that out on my very first day. I wasn't that daring. Besides, I had a Tirupati bus to catch in the evening and getting sick is not a good choice.

I didn't know how far the train station was from here. And had no idea of the traffic flow direction. I just observed the way vehicles were going but just couldn't figure it out. Maybe take a bus to the station? Where can I take those buses? What is the route number? Instead of standing there just lost, I decided to just walk towards the direction of the station. Maybe I might find something interesting on the way. This was the very first time I can remember, that, I could actually have a good walk in Chennai city without rain or muddy streets. So, this too is a good experience. But warning, the streets don't have much of a pavement to walk on in some areas. So, you would be travelling with the vehicles on their driving lanes. Also, the Chennai subway constructions are going on, so, that too was a bit of a problem to walk.

Anyhow, I managed to enjoy this walk. Stumbles upon a budget type of a hotel, IL woods restaurant is open 24 hours! Wow! Ok, this is good as I was looking for a place to eat too. I went in and it was nice. Clean place with a continental and Indian breakfast buffet lined up. It was 250INR per person. At the time I didn't think it was too much because, as my very first meal in India, I wanted it to be like this - Continental and clean. Trying out too many Indian spices was not good, so having something closer to home was my plan. That was exactly what they had here. Also, its buffet. Therefore I could eat enough without worrying too much about the cost. It's my first meal for the day and I wasn't sure when I was going to get my next meal. I have a long journey in the night. So taking all that into consideration, this is not a bad deal. When I converted into Sri Lankan Rupees [LKR] it was just LKR500/=. There is absolutely no place in Sri Lanka that offers a continental plus Indian buffet breakfast for 500 bucks! So this indeed was a good deal.

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breakfast buffet

I had steamed rice, Rice pulau which was very less spiced, vada and a keshew curry. It was delicious. There were many foreigners there. So I could depend on the standard of the food. The place was quite packed up. There was one spot and I asked the lady seated next if the seat was taken, she said no and so I sat there and started having my breakfast. We started talking. She turned out to be a psychologist from Germany. She and a group of travellers have stayed at this hotel the night before. They are on a 10 day tour in India. Just like me, they were to go to Tirumala [in Tirupati but I didn't know it then], but not to see the kovil, on hiking in the beautiful hills. By this time I didn't know that Tirumala was in the same place as I was going to, in Tirupati. We both didn't know actually. I told them I was going to Tirupati kovil that night. She didn't know about that. Her name was Andrea. We had a very nice chat. She was so interested to hear my Ayurveda practice and we were talking so much about Ayurveda, Psychology and life in general. She too was not married and we had so many similar ideas about things. Then her friends joined and we had a nice breakfast.

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Bertha and Andrea 2 German travellers in Chennai. Met them at breakfast at IL woods restaurant which is open 24 hours. They even have rooms where these girls stayed in. The breakfast buffet was INR250. Although a little too expensive was worth it. Included continental and Indian cuisine, fruits, juices a variety.

A lady seated in the other table came upto us, and introduced herself and said "I couldn't help over hear that you are an Ayurveda Practitioner from Sri Lanka. I too want to come to Sri Lanka. Can you give me your card?" She also joined in the conversation for a little bit. It was nice. They took my contact numbers to check out my blog and contact me whenever they decide to come to Sri Lanka. Ofcourse I was promoting what a great country it is. It was my first day out, so I was missing it.

For some odd reason, the staff at the restaurant weren't as nice to me after I spoke with these people, as they were before. They were a little rude when I asked for some tea with my breakfast. And also when I asked for their wifi password, they said it was only for those who stayed. hmmm...

After breakfast, I got directions from the staff at the hotel to get to Chennai Central train station. They said it would be just 50INR on auto rickshaw, that is about 1.5-2Km. Ok, that is not bad. Again, I started walking towards that direction. Now my belly fully stuffed with food and me full of energy.

 

Original Post on www.thesathiworld.wordpress.com

Published by SaThi