George Town – Parry’s Corner
I did find this one of the most interesting areas in Chennai. Many, many shops – I’m sure you will find almost anything here. It reminds a bit of a souk where areas have many shops of a kind side to side.
You will be able to buy anything from stationary, sarees and textiles, cooking utensils, rugs etc.
Low Key, Decent Food
Getting in is weird. First, the sign is hard to see – it and the restaurant are located on the second floor, and you enter from the side, a long narrow alley mostly filled with two-wheelers and, unbelievably, the occasional car. There’s no indication that you’re going into anything in particular until you climb the stairs, and even then the first impression is that it’s a hotel. Once through the main doors of the restaurant, the main room is dark, smoky, and usually crowded, with powerful fans (tie back long hair). There’s a back room though, lighter, quieter, non-smoking, and air conditioned (although you still need to tie back long hair). It’s an odd floorplan, but there’s an extensive selection of (mostly pretty spicy) Indian and Chinese dishes – decent food at reasonable prices.
We come here a lot after work for the good basic meals and cold beer. There’s a very strict cutoff time of 11pm if you’re drinking, and people waiting to chase you out as the clock strikes. They’re nice about it, though.
The Marina Beach of Chennai.
Marina Beach, one of the worlds longest beaches is 13 km long. The tsunami on December 26, 2004, caused massive death and destruction along the beach. It is said more than 1400 people died.It has been difficult to recover, but the community is working hard to make the area attractive to tourists and vacationers once again.
This beach is one of the land marks of the city, next to Madras Port , visited by thousands of people everyday. But the sea is very rough not really fit for swimming or sea bathing. Yet many people go for swimming every day and some people do not return alive. The people of Chennai just love to visit this place in the evening for stroling or evening dinner( picnic). Next to the beach there are several Udupi and Chettinadu restaurants where you can have your evening meal. Chettinadu Chicken is one of the best chicken preparation we ever had in our life in a hotel near Marina Beach. We went there almost on 5 nights.
3 weeks in Chennai...
"Chennai - A western point of view"
I arrived here in Chennai on the 4th July 2006 to work on a project for British Telecom. Arriving into the airport at 12:45am, I ran to the passport control to find a 2 hour wait for 'foreigners'. Eventually people started to queue in the Indian queue, and this was perfectly acceptable and would recommend it to anyone travelling here, you'll save a good hour and a half.
There were no people trying to grab my backpack, I had an easy walk to the taxi provided by my hotel 'The Park'.
The hotel was beautiful and the air conditioning was welcomed, trust me. Immediately met by friendly staff all smiling and speaking english. My room was the cheapest in their 'The Deluxe', but had a queen size bed, flat screen TV, mini bar, shower, bath, work desk, 3 phones, etc.
I'm working over here for 3 weeks so expect to see more of the local custom's, local people. But my shifts are 2pm - 10pm local time to match the UK's core hours which limited me to sightseeing. Infact I was told by the locals in work not to visit outside without any of them which I found a bit worrying. The taxi driver told me about the government bribery ruling the city like most of India. He even told me about a house he could take me to and pay people to kill someone in the city for money (don't ask me how we got onto that subject).
The roads are not as bad as I expected, yes everyone bips their hornes 30 times a minute but its not took in any offence. The drive to work is fine if you close your eyes as the near misses are unreal! You can see the UK stamp on the city has deteriated with walls falling apart and abandoned bulidings/shops on every street.
Focusing on the people, everyone is friendly and I didn't feel in any danger at all. The locals and staff were kind and smiling, treating you like royalty in the hotel and calling you sir outside the hotel.
We went to some nearby markets on the Sunday, but again there is nothing worth buying as a souvenier. Dried out fruit, local used clothes and an unbearable smell rules throughout. I know this may make me sound snobby but trust me I'm not, it's just my honest opinion.
I scoured the streets looking for something to catch my eye, something of interest but there was nothing....just endless buldings of American Corporations towering over poverty stricken streets.
The weather was great, the hotel was like being in an American Hotel, with American/English food as an easy option. I didn't feel like I was in India, but more of a Las Vegas India. The pool was amazing on the top floor though, with four poster beds (not sunbeds) around it with sheets over the top, looking brilliant, the pool water actually overflows and drips into a tunnel that pours the water back into the pool; excellent effect.
I everntually hit the beach with a friend called Abraham over there. It was a local hang out really where people chat and mingle every weekend. We went for some food and I eat with my hands with extreme difficulty, but worth it as the food was amazing.
We also went for some drinks at a tropical juice shop, as they dont really drink at bars.
"Chennai - My 2nd venture"
I was back over in Chennai in December for another BT Project. This time I stayed at the 'Le Royal Meridien' for 3 weeks and worked with a few Mancs so it wasn't so bad. We went to see some temples and things, but can I hell remember what they were. I love this place and can't wait to get back out there this summer.