After breakfast, I slowly made my way out to explore the neighbourhood. I did have a
few things to do – like get a cell phone number, and figure out where my training was going to be.
It was surprisingly cool outside. Usually Chennai is heavy with humidity. I didn’t feel it today, even though my phone (which knows everything) said it was 29 degrees, 38 with the humidex.
The cellphone took priority. I felt it would be prudent to get a SIM card – for those times when I am not in Wi-Fi and need google maps, which seems to be is always given the winding roads, the speed with which India is developing, and my declining state of cognition.
I got all the info ready, figured out where to get passport pictures taken and then grabbed a tuk-tuk to the cell phone store. I bought a pre-paid SIM for 30 days, including 1 Gb data per day, 100 txts per day, and free long distance, for a total of Rs 289. That is the equivalent of $5.00 CDN! That same plan in the wireless oligopoly of Canada would be $80, for maybe 5 GB for the entire month! Supply and Demand? Perhaps…
The traffic wasn’t too bad. I was surprised. Maybe it was a better time of day. Maybe I am used to it. I certainly wasn’t calling out to God like I was last time! (Juno I miss you! Wish you were here!).
Then it was off to find the training center with a few classmates. We probably looked like idiots as we stared at our phones and kept pointing to different corners, following the blue dot – going forward and back tracking– yelling at each other - “No – I think it is over here!” I felt for those Amazing Racers. We had no time pressure and the location was found. Let’s hope it has air-conditioning!
By mid afternoon, My classmates and I recognized that we would need some caffeine to keep us awake and to help with switching night for day. There was a coffee shop I had frequented on my last visit that was right across from a beach. I seemed to remember it had a great view all while being air-conditioned so we decided to head there. The beach was not at all like the haven I remembered. This time, it was was covered with market stalls. But they were all shut down and quiet, appearing as if we missed the party.
Even though the beach is about 20 min walk from our hostel, we decided it would be
prudent to grab a tuk-tuk back, given our lack of alertness and impaired reaction to dodge trucks, cars, and motorbikes along the route. Even in the tuk-tuk we got lost. We went left where we should have gone right and where did we end up?
Tara books!!! The handmade paper bookstore I was told about at breakfast! Destiny!
Then it was a short walk back through the ‘hood, past the street market, past the coconut seller,
Under the garland awning, and back to our home.