Chennai Journal
Saturday, January 22, 2005
Several of you have written to say that you like the blog and to ask further questions about our trip. As we are in the boring stage of the move--deciding what to put in a 20' sea container, what to take in our air shipment, and what to leave in storage (e.g. we are not taking Marty's mother's mahogany dresser with the mother-of-pearl inlaid top but we are taking the "wheel of dharma" painting from Japan etc. etc. )-- I'll spare you those details.

One thing we did discover is that grocery stores and "pet" stores do not sell cat food, cat litter, cat toys, or any other cat paraphenalia. While we encountered a number of Indians who do have cats as pets (one had 4!), "pet" stores sell puppies and dogs only. Dogs are the preferred national pet, with cats and parakeets a distant second and third. India's cats seem to eat what people eat and to do their business outdoors. We met one vet while there who showed us a pathetic little package of kitty kibble that one of our cats would have consumed in a single meal---price 40 rupees (about 90 cents). So we'll stock up on cat food, litter pans, and other stuff. As for litter, the kitty version of culture shock is going to be sand. (Fortunately there's a construction site next door to us so we'll have a ready supply for at least a while.)

Another little tidbit, and that is time. India is the only country in the world on a half hour time difference from other time zones (presently 10 1/2 hours difference from Detroit, which will be 9 1/2 when Detroit goes to Daylight Savings Time.). Hmm. There must be a logical reason for this, right?
Although several explanations were given to us there is one more likely than the others (or perhaps my years of studying diplomatic history have just biased me to believe it). To see it you need a watch. Pretend the time you are looking at is India time. Now turn the watch upside down. Take a wild guess as to what country's time is now displayed.....someday just for kicks I'd like to find the correspondence about this in the UK National Archives....

I sent all the documentation off this week for the working visa, but have no idea how long that will take to turn around (have heard anywhere from 3 to 7 weeks). Stay tuned......

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