Thursday, February 09, 2006


today was a really nice day here in chennai. the weather has been gorgeous since i got here, and today was no exception. it's been a balmy 75-80 degrees or so, perfect deshigrrrl weather and a nice refuge from chicago's cold. though i have to admit, january in chicago was pretty warm, relatively speaking. i think most of the month saw temps in the forties which really ain't bad. but of course this is way better. anyday.

for my birthday i was greeted with really early morning phone calls from dad and a friend and then my sister made plans for us to have lunch at the park hotel. man, this hotel is the bomb. see for yourself. the restaurant we ate at overlooked the rooftop pool which boasts a great view of the city of chennai. after lunch, we lounged in one of the cabanas while the waiter brought over a lovely chocolate cake and my niece sang happy birthday to me. it was really sweet. the rooftop pool area is amazing and it was really unfortunate that i didn't get to swim in the pool, but oh well. we opted not to get massages simply because we all ate so much food and cake that i couldn't even fathom lying flat on my stomach...

but enough about my birthday... (thanks for all the wishes!)

you know what rocks about chennai? two main things, really:

a TON of women ride around on motorcycles. actually, there are usually more motorcycles on the street than there are cars and it's just great to see so many women rocking the bikes especially with saris on! they kick ass. i love seeing them... riding around the busy streets of chennai with their pony tails sticking out of their helmets.

the other thing i've noticed is that the men don't leer at me. total change from dhaka men. i can't walk down a street in dhaka without a dozen guys stopping to stare at me wondering if i'm a boy or a girl. here, they might just throw a glance in my direction but then they just carry on because i'm not so freakish to them as a lot of indian women dress in western clothing.

a very interesting aspect of indian culture which i don't think is specific to chennai, is the nodding of the head. most of us are used to interpreting a side to side nod of the head as a "no". but here, it usually means yes. or at the very least an acknowledgement, if not a straight up "yes". it's not quite a straight line nodding from side to side, but more like a downward curved nodding from side to side. at first i took it to mean no, and was often confused especially when asking questions that you expect to get a yes out of, but i think i'm getting used to it. :)

so yeah, chennai is a pretty cool city. i've done a hell of a lot of shopping here, from clothes to home decorating stuff and artwork. i don't even really want to know how much money i spent in the short 6 days that i've been here. things are relatively cheap compared to US prices, but still...

we're off to dhaka on saturday, and i'm looking forward to seeing dad after over a year.

the india job folks never called, so i'm taking that as a no. too bad though... it was a stellar opportunity for me but alas was not meant to be.