Breeanne and I are now in Chennai, India. We have met such wonderful people. They are warm and caring. While we have met with many women for our research and gotten to know their professional habits and aspirations well, we have also seen many people on the streets who are curious and helpful.
The traffic here is chaotic, and it is hard to cross the major streets. At one point, Breeanne crossed but I got stuck on the other side. I waited for a man to start walking through the traffic, and I followed him. He noticed and gestured to me to follow and keep up. He smiled. It was kind. At another point, we were both having trouble finding an opening to cross the street, so an older man walked out into traffic and stopped cars, auto rickshaws, and motorcycles for us.
There have also been many friendly people. Chennai is not a tourist town, so they are not used to seeing many Westerners. We have been stared at, waved at, and called to. It seems that most of them want to practice their English, so they call out, “Hello! How are you?” We smile and wave and return the greeting. One tiny older woman, dressed in a beautiful emerald green sari, stopped when she saw us. She stared as Breeanne walked past her. She stared as I walked past her. I smiled and waved. She smiled and continued staring long after we had passed. I wonder if we were the first Westerners she had ever seen.
We also visited Marina Beach on the Bay of Bengal, which is close to our hotel. We took an auto rickshaw there and walked back. Honestly, the city is dirty and smelly, as the sanitation is not very organized. However, it is also vibrant and colorful. The beach was full of litter, but we also saw hermit crabs, fishermen and their colorful boats, and even a man masturbating at us as we walked by! We are trying to forget that encounter. Most of our encounters have been friendly.
On our walk back to the hotel, we saw this river. We couldn’t believe how polluted it was and how there were people living in such conditions.
We are enjoying ourselves. We are hot and tired. We are moved by the pitiful and redeeming aspects of humanity. We are invigorated by the experiences.
It sounds like you’re having an amazing experience! I think I’d be worried about the traffic — crossing the street sounds nerve-racking!
It has been an adventure for sure!
As an Indian( born in India) my sincere apology for the disgusting behavior from my countrymen. I am sad really to see what happened culture of Lord Rama , King Shivaji.
Well, bad things happen in every culture and every country. It doesn’t represent everybody. We are having a good time overall.
Welcome to my country! 🙂
Thank you! It is an amazing place.
HI Emily. It really is an amazing experience! Did you use the rickshaw to go to that beach?
Yes, we did use an auto rickshaw. Very cool!
I like those little yellow cars with the three wheels. And, the picture of you on the beach is gorgeous, with no pollution visible!
Yes… the masturbating man on the beach. I had the same experience once many years ago when my friends and I were driving to Florida on spring break. A man driving in the lane next to us was masturbating while he drove. I think we were near Boston at the time. (At the time we were young and very shocked.) And, it happened to my sister-in-law a few years ago while hiking the Camino Trail. There’s no escape!
Wow. What crazy experiences. I wish we could all be a little more respectful of others (and ourselves), but it is something that happens everywhere and Breeanne and I just kept walking and ignored him.
I lived in Chennai for a year and loved it! Especially when compared to north India, I felt the people were extremely friendly in the south. Hope you enjoyed the food there!!
That must have been such an awesome year! We loved the people there, and yes, good food!
I wonder how you missed to make a visit to some good places like Bessant nagar beach, thiruvanmayur beach, mahabalipuram etc .. hope you make a look at these places too.. 🙂
We only had 3 days in Chennai, and most of our time was spent interviewing people. Maybe next time!
Loved this post! I just wrote about one of my trips to India as well, feel free to check it out 🙂 https://youthsgonewonky.com/2016/09/01/could-i-borrow-your-personal-space-thanks/
Very cool! I’ll check it out.
Lovely post. I appreciate you being able to see beyond the too obvious. Do try to visit Bangalore too. It is again a lovely place.
Thank you. I will try to get to Bangalore in the future!
Thank you Emily, for covering positive aspects of the City too.
Of course! And you know what, the last time I was in Austin, Texas, we saw a man doing the unmentionable as well, so it happens everywhere!
Great post! Love the pics! Greetings from Chennai. Ali”Fox” from Blog – The Fox with a Bob