(The way to start the day – Chennai style – light filter coffee with thick cow milk in a small tumbler. The small plate at the bottom is known as ‘dabarah’ which is supposed to be used to cool down the hot coffee but Malaysians like us, we just blow on the top of the cup and drank the milk rich coffee)
The clock on the wall was showing 1 in the morning when we managed to clear away our luggage and sat down for a late dinner (our relations have prepared delicious idlis, anticipating us arriving hungry – it was a wise call)
Our relations are staying in a 3 storey house in Mylapore, about 30 minutes drive from the airport – it was a peaceful neighbourhood and within the vicinity of a 2,000 years old temple. We suppose to “take over” the unused 3rd floor. We stored our luggage and started to unpack the gifts & clothes from Malaysia. We were unpacking when we were informed that our sleeping quarters have been prepared on the 2nd floor where our relations were staying.
Given the summer season, it was very warm during the nights but the 3rd floor had ceiling fans (we were prepared for it) but instead we were asked to sleep in air-conditioned rooms in the 2nd floor. Our host were certainly very generous and had taken great measures to ensure that we were very comfortable (We promised our ourselves to return the favour as soon as possible).
The night passed without any problems – thanks to our very generous hosts. The next day – we woke up early. No sign of jet lags or tiredness. The big boss, as usual, woke up on his own sweet time. Breakfast was ready – thosai with chicken curry and a hot cup of strong coffee – served Chennai style. To tell you the truth, the coffee was a bit too rich for me. I always had teh-O in the mornings. As the rest of us was planning the activities for the day which is nothing but shopping, I got busied myself with the local cable channels. Thankfully there was HBO and Discovery channel for me. There was about 30 or so channels in Tamil for the rest of us.
Tamil serial is also a problem in the house with the elderly going crazy with it and the young ones oppose watching it.
(The ‘big boss’ at the centre of the roller coaster – snap taken before we started the journey. No seatbelts, no insurance coverage, driver wants to compete with larger vehicle makes the auto ride a definite roller coaster on the road )
We had to change money – ringgit to local currency, rupee and my brother in law wanted to visit the local telco customer service (he had a problem with the local sim card), so we arrange for an auto to pick us up from the house – first stop was to the telco company. My son joined us (me and my brother in law) and the ride was a roller coaster to him. The interior of the auto was clean and the driver was downright polite (but not to other road users). I got my son to sit in the middle although he wanted to sit nearer to the side.
I was more worried about the auto driver taking the various short cuts and riding against the traffic at certain part of the town but he managed to get us to the telco building in one piece. We asked him to wait whilst we had to walk towards the customer service counters. Too bad for us, there was a blackout and the guy behind the counter could not help us. It was getting too warm for us to stay for the electricity to be back so we decided to get a new sim card nearer to the house. The auto driver was waiting for us when we walked back and in a short moment, we were taken to a small sundry shop.
(As I mentioned – in the city, it is not easy to see the Indian made Ambassador but rather the latest Honda Civic is easy to see. Perhaps the next trip, need to try to drive around in an Ambassador – I heard it is built like a tank)
We walked inside and informed that we wanted to change to the local currency. The friendly man behind the counter opened the bag, checked our notes and gave handful of cash to us (no dirty notes found). We got a good rate (compared to the lousy rate at the airport).
We returned in-time for lunch (we had to wait for a little while longer as our wives decided to get busy in the kitchen, helping the aunty to cook lunch). Another delicious meal before we started with our shopping activities. But before that, I had to take shower again – I was sweating the whole lot.
To be continued in Part 3…