Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Playing Frogger in T-Nagar

Hello!  I am going to attempt my first blog post on this SUPER slow connection, so we'll see how it goes.
(Wow...the power went out twice on me...including once when the three photos were ALMOST all loaded and I had to start all over hours later when the power came back on.)

We are still without high-speed internet and Wifi and sadly, it may be weeks until the cell tower is rebuilt for us. There is one computer in a public space that has an excruciatingly slow connection for us to use.

So here is a quick update and hopefully, I can get a couple photos to load before the power cuts out again. :)

We went into Chennai on Saturday for our first excursion. Lon, unfortunately, had to stay back to give a VIP Visitor a tour of campus...so off we went with Brooklyn and our other long-term volunteers. First, we went to a nice mall...it was very posh and very upscale. We got Pizza Hut pizza (pepperoni!) which was the highlight of the kids' day...well, actually, month.

There was a beautiful sari shop that was just eye candy....

Then we left the mall and headed to a shopping district called T-Nagar. It was supposed to have better prices on Saris and Tunics and was a place where you can barter with the street vendors.

We were waved into a parking lot that was PACKED with cars....and when I say packed, I mean PACKED.  As in double parked all over the place.  The parking attendant motioned for our driver to bring the van around a bend that looked impossible for us to fit through,but somehow our driver, Rojendren, was able to get the van to fit...we all applauded him.  We piled out of the van and followed the one volunteer who had actually been there. As we walked out of the parking lot and along the crowded street, my heart nearly stopped. The sidewalk on our right was packed with henna artists and there was merely a small curb for us to walk on between them and the surging traffic to our left. Motorcycles came within inches of our elbows.  I clung to Cohen's hand and made sure that Brooklyn had Avery on her right side. Then I think my heart actually did stop when I realized we would have to CROSS THE STREET to get to the shops.  Total REAL LIFE FROGGER...and the cars and motorcycles do not stop or slow for you!

We decided to move as a whole group and follow the lead of two indian women ahead of us.  We leapt half-way across and took shelter near a support column for the overpass above before leaping one last time to the storefronts.  I took a deep breath and tried to forget that we would have to go through that again to get back to the van.

The sight was like nothing I had ever seen. The crowds of people shopping, the street vendors nearly assaulting you as you walk by.

In the picture above, you can see the street vendors facing the street, the people walking right in front of their booths, and the yellow "auto-rickshaws" driving right by them.  That is how close the traffic is at all times.

 The shops were full of endless stacks of the most amazing variety of fabrics I have ever seen! It was amazing.

We shopped, bought Avery her first sari, and pretty much totally wore Cohen out.  Our trip back across the street was even more exciting, as I had to put my hand out and actually get a car to slow down so Cohen and I would not be hit.  : )  Yeah...super fun!

The highlight of the day was at a sari shop where we all tried on saris.  But that story will have to be told next time, because Liberty captured the most hilarious pictures on her iPod, and I can't upload them without the internet...so check back for some hilarious photos!

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you guys are definitely having a cultural experience. I like the sari on the very left. It would be weird to have your midriff showing though, but the colors and sparkles are awesome. I can't wait to see you guys all dressed up when you get back.