Thursday, August 16, 2012
OPERATION NAVIGATION.....My day in the city!!! (with out the help of my host family)
Wow today was such an adventure! Today was the first day I actually felt that I could learn to master this crazy city of Chennai. My day began when my host dad called me an auto to pick me up in order to head to community service. Yes, on the outside this auto looked just fine but I guess that just goes to show you that you cant judge a book buy its cover. With in five minutes of driving I could tell something was wrong…..probably due to the fact that the auto had just started rolling down the road, not driving. We pulled over for gas and I could tell the auto driver wanted me to pay for it , thinking that I am nothing but a dumb tourist, but I would not fall for it. Then we continued our long drive to the malar hospital where I was to be met by AFS staff. But my auto had different plans. First time the auto broke down I was kind of frightened and yeah the second time I was a bit scared to. Finally by the fifth break down on the side of the road I could not help but laugh. My auto driver stopped at a quick auto repair shop but the auto well….it didn’t exactly stop it kind of just slowly rolled into a line of motor bikes to the side of the path. With in ten minutes we were on the road again and I was beginning to think this journey would never end. Next we came to a long road with many MANY speed bumps.
Speed bumps in India Are not like speed bumps in America. In America a speed bump is like a “hey wake up and be careful”, here speed bumps are like “if you don’t stop and just barely roll your over me I will send you shooting through the air break your back and destroy your car -_-“ So each speed bump the driver went over was like a moment of truth to whether I would make it to my destination or would yet another, possibly more damaging, break down occur. After two more suspenseful breakdowns where we had to pray that the auto would turn back on, I finally saw another AFS student walking with his host father on the side of the road. I immediately stopped the driver and ran screaming to Dario like I just had a life or death experience. Thankfully Darios host father offered to walk me the rest of the way to the service project to help people with disabilities make cups !
After volunteer work we got a ride to T-Nagar and all of us AFS students (besides for cameele) walked around the shopping area bargaining with the shopkeepers and having a great time. We stopped for some amazing ice cream as a treat and it was so good that I literally cried of happiness! After that I bought some Curtis (Indian dress) and a skirt for half the price they originally asked for! When it started to get late people began to hitch a ride home in autos. Rowan and I, unwilling to give up on our great day, hitched an auto to the Pondy Bazar. There it is much more exciting crowded and overwhelming…..just as we like it! We walked all around and eventually go caught in the perfect tourist trap (it was heaven) . The people working their saw our excitement with there bags and clothes and immediately began to pull things out from the racks and boxes and anything they could find for us and waded on hand and foot for us. We got ripped off pretty bag because they told us we could not bargain but, I was still really happy with my purchase!
Than there was a man selling drums! I love Indian drums and have been dyeing to get a Tabla! The man saw my excitement and could see that I was an easy target! He pulled the whole “ Madam, they are hand crafted with customizable sound” act on me and I was hesitant. My friend Rowan though was just as excited as me and pushed me to fall into his trap. He asked for 1,500 rupees and I got him down to 500. I thought it was a great deal until I got home and my host family told me 1) its not a tabla 2) yeah it’s a drum but a pretty broken one and 3) it should not have been more than 150 rupees! THUMBS DOWN FOR CON ARTIST!!!!
To finish up the day a transgender women grabbed my bag and tried to rob me! I grabbed my bag back and looked at her with anger. She winked at me, pet my shoulder, did a little hip shake and than tapped on my drums. I than walked away…..quickly! So I guess that Sums my day! I hitched one last ride from an auto for a good bargained deal and headed home. Even with a crazy Indian traffic jam I managed to make it home before dark safely and happy!! OPERATION NAVIGATE CHENNAI COMPLETE J
This is the bazar i was in!
This is the main part of T-Nagar where we were shopping. Yes, there is no difference between the side walk and the road
The Amazing T-Nagar again!
Posted by Ryley Conway at 10:33 AM