11 October, 2005

Well, here we are

Finally had some sleep, which makes all the difference. Currently about noon US Central, 10:30 PM Chennai. I think I will be firmly on India time by tomorrow. Looks like we'll also have to wait for tomorrow for photos - I'll have time to size them and (hopefully) have a better connection in the office.

Chaos is the only word I can use to describe India so far. The hotel is very European, on par with my standards, yet comparably inexpensive. It is probably nicer than the room at the Hilton Shipole, but 25% the price. A nice dinner of pasta with wine was about 500 Rs, or less than $12 US. My guess is that this is one of the more expensive places to eat too. I'm certainly impressed with the service, yet just outside is total chaos.

The ride from the Chennai airport to the hotel was exciting to say the least. At 6:00 AM the streets were full of people, walking around seemingly oblivious to the rain. for once, I was glad I was not driving. There hardly seem to be traffic laws at all - other than go as fast as possible. Apparently, one honks rather than signaling turns and changes, and lanes seems to be only guidelines.

Overall, the trip was rather uneventful. The Air India flight from Mumbai (Bombay) to Chennai (Madras) was about 45 minutes late, with no explaination or reason. But, it was nearly empty, so a nice quiet row to myself. There is a bit of challenge getting in as my bags could not be checked the whole way (customs) and the terminals in Mumbai were rather far apart. I had about half dozen "airport employees" following me, trying to guide me, carry my bags, and demand $20 US for their "services." I ended up giving them 5 Euro just to leave me alone, which may not be the best choice, but it got me where I needed to get with the least hassle.

Time for bed, talk to you all tomorrow.

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