Deborah and I departed Portland at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. We flew 10.5 hours to Frankfurt. We met our connection immediately boarded our connecting flight and flew another 9 hours to Chennai. I actually slept a good portion of both flights. The movies from Frankfurt to Chennai were Bollywood C types with subtitles. We arrived Chennai at midnight on Sunday. By the time we went through customs, changed some money and found our taxi it was 1:00 a.m. The drive from the airport to the hotel was a bit surreal. It was dark so we could not see much. We drove by cows on the side of the road and blocks of what looked like tent city. The smells are so pungent. I asked Deborah what a particular smell was, it was overpowering, she said it was the smell of burning garbage and open sewer. For those of you that know me, you have to know that this is going to be hard for me. I have a keen sense of smell and when it is not pleasant I have a very weak stomach.
We drove through a section of the city that by night it seemed like the City of Joy. There were mass people sleeping on the side of the street. Entire families asleep in bed rolls right in the street. There were so many people, it was almost 2:00 a.m. when we passed them. Blocks and blocks of people, dogs, goats, right in the streets with small shanties behind them. Our hotel was about 2 blocks off this road. Deborah thought it was just like Ray to have us staying within blocks of the slum areas. When we arrived at the hotel there were several Indian men in the lobby. Just kind of hanging out. They didn’t have a room key for us, apparently the guests prior to us took the key with them when they checked out. Our room is simple, semi clean with twin beds. We took the top covers off the beds and remade our beds with our heads at the opposite end. Deborah saw little clusters of some kind of larvae on the walls above where our heads would have been had we left them. We were so exhausted we fell into bed and slept pretty good.