Chasing Chennai


After two glorious days in Mahabalipuram, we arrived in Chennai, the final leg of our trip, for the wedding reception. Our purpose in Chennai? Shopping. I’d done some shopping in Dehli, some in Bangalore, but Chennai was where we wanted to wrap things up with gifts for loved ones.

Shopping in India is a very different experiences than it was the last time I was here. 1.) Things are no longer cheap; 2.) You can get a lot of what you get there, here. So I had to remind myself a good bit when I’d be furiously trying on short kurta’s in a dressing room– that I could probably find something very similar at Kohl’s for roughly the same price. Still, I did get some wonderful things.

At book club last night, someone asked me whether I found two weeks enough time in India, considering the fact that it takes nearly 2 days to get there there, and 2 days to return.

By the end of the trip, I was ready to come home. Two weeks with five people in small hotel rooms, packing and repacking 6 suitcases every 1 to 2 days was challenging. But I left India with a heavy heart. Two weeks is not enough time to spend with loved ones I hadn’t seen in nearly two decades. It wasn’t enough time to really delve into the country. I would have loved more time– not to see more sites– but simply to roam around the markets, to listen to the rattling off of different languages, to sink my teeth into too-spicy dishes, to inhale the spices that clung to my clothing long after I’ve finished the meal.

Because the best part of visiting India, for me, is just being in India, the country that long ago stole my heart. And for that? Two weeks could never be enough.

Express Avenue mall in India. India never used to have indoor malls. Don't be fooled-- they may say it's air-conditioned, but it's only cooled down to about 92 degrees.

India does not brag much about its first World Cup cricket championship in nearly thirty years. We must have gone to about a dozen stores before we could find these t-shirts for the girls! And it was the only thing they wanted from India.

I almost never wear jewelry, but I went a little crazy for pendants. Some of these I purchased, a couple were gifts from family.

Our new bedspread.

The only other thing the girls wanted from India were championship cricket hats. And the only place that sold them? The Chennai airport. We found them just in the nick of time, 3 hours before our flight back home. (And they only had 3!)

I bought about a dozen kurtis (short kurtas) to wear with jeans or shorts. I tried to buy things I wouldn't be able to find at Kohl's or Target.

It used to be that you couldn't find short sleeve or sleeveless tops (they'd all be 3/4 length or longer). Now Indians like to show as much skin as we do.

This was after my only auto ride in India (we were in air-conditioned taxis). Next time, there will be more. There's nothing like an auto ride.

Leaving the hotel for our 1:45 AM flight back to Frankfurt. The girls got so much attention for wearing their cricket t-shirts. People LOVED them. Too bad we bought the only ones they make in the entire country.

I call this one "Self Portrait in a Moving Auto."

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