First a trip to smelly and dirty Chennai, then a trip to equally smelly and extremely dirty pilgrim town called Velankanni (with the famous shrine of Mary) and finally to an extremely clean, cold and windy Hyderabad.
Chennai was sweltering hot, i sweated buckets. Coupled with that the scarcity of water and a city that is used by its citizens as a garbage dump. You wonder where the municipal workers of the city are? If at all they are doing the work. Whether you are the middle of the city or at the outskirts, one thing that defines Chennai is the consistent crappy smell in the air. The air stinks in Chennai and uniformly so. Dont know why and how. This is in addition to the dirt and filth all around. Wonder which moron decided to name it a metro.
Velankanni was equally dirty. For a piligrim town with such a potential for tourism, there are hardly any good lodge/hotels. The only good ones are the dorms run by the church, but they too offer you rooms for the next day only. And if you are the ones (like me) who just drop into the town with no reservations, hoping to stay at some hotel, be disappointed with the kinds of rooms you get there. As for the restaurants, stay away if you dont want to come down with some extreme case of food poisoning or diarrhea.
If you have any plans of going to Velankanni, stay at Nagapattinam, a town near Velankanni. Take a bus in the morning to Velankanni, see around and come back to Nagapattinam. This was advised by my friends after i did my trip much to my exasperation.
Took a train from Chennai to Hyderabad. Was travelling by the Indian Railways after more than 11 years and loved the experience. Reached Hyderabad early morning around 6am on the 14th (our 1st wedding anniversary). Was amazed at how clean the city of Hyderabad was at 6 in the morning. Either the roads were swept clean or at some places the cleaners were hard at work. Kudos to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and the people who work for them for keeping the city reasonably clean.
It was drizzling all through and there was a nice cool breeze. Loved it. Since we were tired, we preferred to rest. There was not much celebration for the anniversary as all plans were for wifey’s birthday which was 2 days later on the 16th. Had a get together at home for friends and family for wifey’s birthday.
Later on in the week, went to the new mall in town, GVK-1. Good place to hang out, but there was something lacking in the place. I prefer Hyderabad Central or City Center. Also the mall is pretty new and the shops are only coming up. Maybe it will be good once it fills up.
Saw the movie New York. Not bad i thought. Better than the crap that Yash Raj is famous for churning out. Saw the movie at the new INOX multiplex at GVK-1. The seating is good and so is the sound system.
Travelled back to Singapore via Chennai again. From the superb airport of Hyderabad to a garbage can called Chennai Airport is a perfect example of what the private sector can do to our economy while at the same time, the Chennai airport run by the inefficient babus of Airports Authority of India have really screwed it up.
There were no seats at the international departure. They simply disappeared. For someone who’se flight is yet to start check-in, they simply have to stand there waiting for the counters to open. Can you believe that? What about the elderly and the people who need to rest? Have the airport authorities ever thought about their comfort?
And the cafe’s selling stuff in Chennai airport are nothing but daylight robbery. Tea is sold for Rs 30. A samosa / aloo bonda costs Rs 60. Whereas you get a good Cafe Coffee Day coffee at the Hyderabad airport for just Rs 15.
I can go on and on about the pathetic situation at Chennai airport, but its a waste of time. Its a perfect example of why the airport needs to be handed over to a private player so that they can do a better job of the same. Anyone with doubts can look at Hyderabad, Bangalore, Delhi and Bombay airports and compare them to the ones run by AAI. There is simply no comparison.
Back at office and a mountain of work stares me in the face. Time to get going.