Ah, Chennai - you are as nasty, polluted, and crowded as I remember. Except, maybe more so. I will say that it was kind of a trip to be in "the city of my birth" a week before my bday.
This was supposed to be the trip where I stopped hating visiting India. Chennai didn't do very much to move me in that direction. All of my old complaints have been reawakened (and more.) I have no idea why things take so long here (example - checking out of a hotel - over 1/2 hour.) Things are so randomly officious - all kinds of stampings, and copying over, and filling out in triplicate with carbon paper (CARBON PAPER), accounts kept in ledgers, etc.
I got to speak French (a day early)! And translate! I was at the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corp.'s office and translated for a French tourist. I'm surprised at how words came back to me - it was definitely not thinking in French, it was sort of like a video game: conceptualizing an idea or a sentence, and having a bubble percolate up fromt eh depts, popping open to reveal the French phrase.
At the Fort St. George museum, where I paid the Indian rate (ha ha, suckers!), I was surprised by how much the portraiture of the Indian rulers from back in the day look like my friends. But, dressed up and without a Sierra Nevada in their hands.
The Government Museum had all kinds of interesting statues, etc. And no bloody explanations. I shouldn't be so sore about it, but I know that people have come and studied these sculptures and that there is a LOT to say about them. So far, besides natural beauty, nothing in any Indian tourist spot takes more than 20 minutes to see, largely because there is so little explanation. At times, I have turned to my guidebook(s) because they tell you more about the things on display than the display itself. Don't mind me - this is what happens when you grow up in the DC-area and are absolutely spoiled by the Smithsonian.
Tomorrow: Pondicherry - on y va!!