I’ve just finished my first full weekend in Chennai. So far, I’ve not managed to do much sightseeing, apart from visiting the famous Pondy Bazaar on Sunday. That was quite an experience.
I set off early for the bazaar, accompanied by Sitara. We spent most of our time haggling with stall holders and managed to get some amazing bargains. Three salwars and two shirts for the – equivalent of 7GBP. I left most of the haggling to Sitara, as my one attempt to do it was absolutely disastrous!
The downside of the bazaar is the number of small children trying to sell things you don’t need to raise money for food. Most local people advise you against giving money to them. One clamped herself to my leg as I walked up the street. Another was particularly persistent with Sitara and followed her for the length of the market. I hope to donate some money to a local charity for less fortunate children when I leave.
On a more positive note, there were some guys making fantastic displays with flowers. I got my picture taken with one of them along with his wonderful creations.
On Saturday I had an work assignment at a centre for autistic children to the south of the city. I met some very inspiring people including the women who set up the centre and the mothers of two pupils. The centre seemed pretty advanced, even compared to what there is at home, and I hope to follow its progress whwn I get back.
The event was also good because I got to see unfamiliar areas of the city on the way there. Unfortunately, I had no time to see the beach, which was just a stone’s throw away.