A painting of me

Chennai — January 18th - 20th

   22 February 2010, early morning

I took short little notes on my iPhone while traveling around in India. Here are the first set of notes from my first three days in Chennai, and our flight to get there. My pictures of Chennai on Flickr. (Or on IMG VQVZ)

January 16th

The plane was packed. There were babies crying like mad. Once we took off they seemed to settle down.

GI JOE! The Baroness is smoking hot. Damn. Ditto Scarlet. Is that Keanu?! … Holy shit, there are a fuck loud of cameos in GI JOE. … Oh wait, it’s what’s his dude. Twist! … GI Joe wasn’t as totally crap as I thought It would be. Also, Scarlet is hawt. Sleep?

Slept for two hours. Maybe.

Round two: Slept a ton. Awesome.

Surrogates was also not as bad as I thought it would be. Robots!


Free WiFi at Abu Dhabi airport was nice. Made the layover less boring. Though it was still pretty boring. Drank an expensive coffee.

The security at the gate is a bit zoo-like. Kind of cluttered and slow. I almost lost my hat inside the xray machine.


Shuttle busses to the plane on the tarmac. Long and slow ass line to get on one. The bus ride was short at least.

Finally reunited with Shima and her dad on the plane. She was in a bad mood because of the chaos and waiting. We haven’t even got to India yet!

500 days of Summer is off to a good start. … So she likes the Smiths, Salinger, and she’s hot. Who isn’t going to fall in love with her? … This ending is kind of rough, damn. Oh wait, maybe not.

Poor seat choices on our part. Stewardess would run out of food by the time they got to us.

January 18th

Flying over India. The cities are giant islands of light in the dark.

The men on the ground at Chennai’s airport just have khaki outfits out. They look pitch black in the dark. At Pearson they’d probably be decked in reflective gear. Crazy Indians.

Shima totally had/has a crush on the Tamil dude who was wheeling her dad around in the airport.

The air is warm.


Chennai’s airport looks a bit like a shack. People are sleeping along the hallway that is the arrivals section of the airport. We met our driver in Madras, Iyappan, and along with another fellow we left for the city proper.

The Hindustan Ambassador

Driving down a dark almost dirt road away from the airport. It’s awesome. The driver hacks away every so often. People don’t seen to know about the elbow sneeze/cough here. There are cars everywhere and no lanes. It’s only 5. It must be nuts during the day.

And now it smells like shit.


We are staying in a 2 bedroom flat. 2500 Rupees, which is something like 60 bucks, gets you pretty nice digs in Madras. It’s 6 in the morning. We have what might be a long day ahead of us. My moms sister happens to be in the city. We will see her shortly.

Breakfast at Saravana Bhavan. Appam! Place is busy at 8:00. We have to split into a table of 3 and a table of 2. It’s nice and cool in the place, which is sort of outdoors. The Appam was some strange Tamil Nadu variation where they serve the coconut milk on the side. It was kind of so-so. Coffee was super sweet, served in a metal tumbler and matching saucer. My mom and I walked there and back. Shima her dad and my dad too a rickshaw.

Rest back at the apartment. Shima’s dad has passed out. We are trying to rest without actually sleeping.

Took a quick walk around our neighbourhood. Shima is probably going to cause a traffic accident. Dudes here are staring at her like it’s going out of fashion. And she was thinking of wearing tank tops! Fucking repressed Tamils. It’s not all bad attention. A young lady working at a supermarket was all, “excuse me miss, you are so beautiful, etc.”

The streets are busy: people, cars and bikes everywhere. You are always on the verge of being hit by a car or bike, due to the lack of sidewalks. There are horns honking all the time. Literally.

We have a driver while in Chennai; he is the same one my parents used last time they were here. We squeeze four people in the back of his car. Lucky we are all small.

We see Giri Mama in the evening. He lives with Babu Patti. Baba Periamma comes over later still with her friend Latha. My parents went for dinner with them while we slept.

January 19th

I shower using a bucket. I feel like a brown man. Today I used hot water though.

Breakfast at Royal Cuisine. Poori and a curry. Seems a bit too hot and oily for the morning. No wonder South Asians’ hearts explode by the time they are 40.

Sari shopping with my mom. I guess that was the real point of the trip. 3 floors of women’s clothing (2 for men and kids). They have a metal detector at the door which they ignore. Two fellows were doing some sort of road work in front of the shop. They were dressed in cotton pants and short sleeve dress shirts. They peeled the asphalt with their bare hands after cracking it off the ground. The whole enterprise was strange. A women and a baby asked me for money. I ignored them. Damn.

Lunch by the ocean. Maybe sea. Will need to look at a map at some point and figure which. My great-uncle has retired to a pretty nice apartment by the beach. His maid cooked everything.

An aunt from England was visiting.

We came home and napped before heading to a Hindu temple. Apparently since the last time my parents were here they have become more militant in Chennai about who should be allowed in. The driver suggested Shima and her dad fake being Hindus if asked. A priest actually did. My mom wasn’t impressed.

Coffee at another Saravana Bhavan.


Went to the smallest shittiest Internet Cafe I have ever seen. 3 seriously derelict computers. The door to get in didn’t open more than 30 degrees. It was about as big as my bathroom in Canada — small. One guy was checking out Orkut. Bizarre.

Dinner at yet another Saravana Bhavan. Each has been totally different than the others.

January 20th

It’s five in the morning. God damn jet lag. Shima is up as well. (✿ Only because Ramanan woke me up. Not impressed.)

Breakfast and lunch at Raj palace. We are regulars.

Ended up at a zoo of a sari shop. Attempted to walk to RMKV near by, but couldn’t get there: we feared we would die trying to cross the road. [ed. At the end of our trip Shima and my mom would cross this road.]

Visited a palatial house for some tea and coffee.

Two fellows on a motorbike drove by; the fellow in the back was holding his helmet on his lap.

Went to a country club to see Tintu and his family.

Passed out at home. Developed some sort of fever. It ended up passing early in the morning. I am exhausted.



  1. This is great. Can’t wait to read/see bits from the rest of the trip.

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