in Chennai, India on my birthday...
This is an excerpt from
At Sea diary when I circumnavigated the globe in 108 days.
Our ship was docked in Chennai, India for 5 days...
Waiting at the dock...
was boiling hot in Chennai today; I left the ship early
to meet the two local women (I had met through HERmail.net)
who were coming to pick me up with a car and driver. I
walked to the main gate with some of the students. As
usual we were inundated with rickshaw drivers who wanted
to take us into town. The other students left and I stood
close to the harbour police waiting for my lift to show
up. The police probably thought I was a bit strange but
there was a method to my madness. Firstly, the police
had a tiny tin roof to protect them from the blazing sun
and I needed that protection. Also, if I stood beside
a policeman the rickshaw drivers couldn't harass me which
was a great relief.
I met my HERmail
my car came and I met Winnie and Shanti -- two lovely
women of a certain age. Winnie spent a lot of time on
her cell phone. She also spent a lot of time berating
her driver who, she said, was very lazy. It was very amusing
to me. Though their skin was darker than mine and one
wore a sari, these two Indian women could have been middle
aged women anywhere in the world. We worried about the
same things, had the same problems with our cell phones
and noted the same ongoing aging processes in our bodies.
I was instantly comfortable in their company.
New girlfriends go
talked non-stop, they took me shopping for clothes, showed
me the correct ways to wear Indian clothing and bargained
on my behalf. We met a lot of other Semester At Sea students
and staff in the Spenser Plaza. Winnie and Shanti helped
them as well. These two new 'girlfriends' sat outside
the department store dressing room and commented on outfits.
'OK'ing some purchases and discouraging others. They were
so generous with their time and energy as I dragged them
from shop to shop to find exactly what I needed.
be eternally grateful for the way they dealt with the
shopkeeper who was selling me a hand-embroidered pashmina
from Kashmir. They went over that shawl with a fine-tooth
comb. And when they were sure I was getting the 'real
thing' they worked as a tag team to bargain the poor man
down, down, down! I love my shawl. It is my birthday present
to myself and the pashmina of my dreams.
Check out Spenser
shop I bought my shawl from in the Spenser Plaza (769,
Mount Road, Chennai) was called Crafts Bazaar. Their address
is G 109 A-2, Ground Floor, 2nd Phase. I recommend them
highly. I've had my shawl for two years and it still looks
as good as new. Please remember that you won't get a durable
scarf for $10. I paid somewhere in the vicinity of $50
after some pretty hard bargaining. Use that as your shopping
and spending guide. P.S.
This shop also sold handicrafts, jewelry and hand knotted
got all my shopping done I took Winnie and Shanti for
brunch at the Taj Connemarra, next door to Spenser Plaza.
It's one of the nicest hotels in town and since it was
my birthday it was the perfect place to celebrate in style.
That March 15th in Chennai was a memorable day that I
won't soon forget.
from India that night; I left with loads of wonderful
memories of people and places I won't soon forget.
A photo album of our
shopping day together