Aaah India! It conjures up all kinds of memories. It’s been 7 months since my last visit and it doesn’t feel soon enough to be back. My friend, Mike, who is participating in the 2010 South Indian Odyssey, and I are heading to India a few days early. It was a long flight from New York to Chennai (via Brussels), made even longer by the onboard Indian Olympic synchronize crying baby team.
The Chennai airport was swarming with people as if a celebrity was arriving. But this is everyday at Chennai International even at 1:15am. Clearing customs we stopped at the pre-paid taxi stand to book us a cab to our hotel in the city. This beats haggling with the numerous taxi drivers waiting outside especially after having travelled for almost a day. The ride to our hotel was easy enough and Chennai was fast asleep at 2am. Its the quietest I have ever seen the streets. The madness on the streets during the day will certainly test your patience.
Mike spent some his time in Chennai at an ashram studying and me, I caught up with some old friends who I had not seen in a long time plus made sure all was in place for our upcoming spiritual adventure. India lives in the eternity of the moment and planning months ahead is not often part of the lifestyle. Things get done when they get done and quite often it happens when you are standing in front of the person who is supposed to get the things done.
On Thursday we made our way to Mamallapuram, the quaint little seaside fishing village an hour or so south of Chennai where our Odyssey will begin on Sunday. This town is famous for its stone carvers and ancient rock carvings which we will share more with you in the coming days. It’s nice to be away from the hustle and bustle of Chennai. Here, the “no hurry” rule is in effect. I spent most of yesterday afternoon strolling around town putting my new video camera to work and capturing tidbits of life here. A friend also took me on his motorbike and gave me the locals, off-the-beaten path tour of the town and its neighboring villages. That was a lot of fun.
Click here to watch a video of our arrival in Chennai plus of Dandapani exploring Mamallapuram on foot and on a motorbike.