Chennai Journal
Monday, August 01, 2005
A Water Filled Week
Sorry I'm a bit late with the posting this week. Probably most of you have read or heard about the deluge in Mumbai. On the night Sara was due to arrive there, Mumbai had the worst rain ever recorded in India, almost 100 cm (about 3 feet). Sara's plane was diverted to Dubai, where she spent three nights. British Airways agreed to transfer her ticket to the next flight out to Chennai, on Thai Airways, which she took on Friday. She arrived safely late Friday night. Kudos to British Airways, who despite the chaos was remarkably customer friendly----even calling us in Chennai to keep us posted on Sara's whereabouts.

The Mumbai situation affected us in more ways than one. We had three members of our operating committee, and two other employees, traveling in Mumbai in addition to our local sales staff there. Two of the operating committee members and a local employee were all caught in the storm--the others got to their hotel before the situation became unmanageable. The three who were travelling together were stranded on a bridge on Tuesday night, enroute to the hotel. No traffic was moving and the water was pouring down. Finally, they all got out of the car and started walking to the hotel---11 kilometers away. It took them 3 1/2 hours through water that was sometimes chest high. The danger, in addition to the contaminated water, was open drains and manholes that could have easily sucked them away. Upon arrival we had them seen by a doctor and all are on antibiotics. However, not everyone was so lucky---many people perished under similar circumstances. Our local office staff is also all safe. Meanwhile, in Mumbai, the rains and misery continue.

After Sara arrived we spent the night here and then on Saturday went to Fisherman's Cove, a resort south of Chennai, for an overnight stay. On Sunday we travelled a bit further south to Mamallapuram, a famous seaside temple. There we met an ubiquitous site---the parrot fortuneteller. The parrot comes out of the cage, ruffles through a deck of cards, and picks one for the fortuneteller. It will not surprise you to know that I'm going to be rich (sorry you can't see the camera around my neck or my nice watch) and live until 90.

On the way back we stopped for lunch at Temple Bay, another local resort. We went to their outdoor restaurant, The Wharf--which scored high on food quality, service quality, and ambience and is the best place we've been here. In addition to excellent food, they actually timed all the meals to arrive together---a little known skill here. And the view of the sea was magnificent. We will go back.

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