Saturday, December 16, 2006

Chennai Friday Five

I'm in Chennai, India monitoring our engineering office. Since I have committed from the very beginning not to talk too much about work, I'll keep the details to other gems of my stay here in India.

One is tempted to make the most exaggerated claims about travel horror stories, and with Chennai it is no different. This is India's fourth-largest metropolitan area and the airport is a mess. Almost as bad in Manila in some ways and even worse in others. The State Government is upgrading the airport and the building is ongoing.

Chennai is a favorite destination for overseas companies to build representative offices --- it has a well-educated workforce, is cheaper than Mumbai, and still retains a lot of its colonial and pre-British charm. Our representative office here is managed by a very affable man, and since I can't name him or describe him otherwise, you have to take my word for it.

The streets of downtown Chennai, like in some places in Manila and the old towns, have been built with horses in mind. As such, the traffic can be pretty horrible in places. The traffic is pretty much like Manila and Indian drivers are more maniacal, if there could be such a degree, than Arab drivers. Now I understand why most Indians in the Middle East except the bigshots who thrive on image instead of substance, can live with almost any make of car because the cars here perforce must be small to deal with the traffic, crazy motorcyclists, bikers, and the "auto-taxis" (which incidentally are tricycles, similar to the tuctucs of Bangkok). One remarkable car is the Hindustan Ambassador (, which is also my service to and fro the hotel. It reminds me of a high-end jeepney.

The food is tolerable but I now know one reason why Indian food tastes so differently is the oil that they use. I ordered a club sandwich from room service the other night and the fries were greasy and different-tasting. Ugh! But at least room service is cheap compared to Philippine or Arab hotels.

I'll have a part two on this when I get back to Dammam since I have to finish up my Friday five and then leave the office.

1) Who was your first crush? (Celebrity or average) - My first crush, I think, was with a Dolphy girl. The ordinary one, I think, was with one of our friends from Pangasinan. She came over to live with us to look for work. I was about eight or nine when she came over. In high school, the first girl I liked was this girl named Ena from St. Paul in Pasig. If she ever reads this, I hope it tickles her pink.

2) Who do you currently have a crush on now? Keeley Hazell! But there's always been somebody...

3) Have you ever become so obsessed with a crush, you went to extreme measures to find out everything about him/her? Yes, and I need not tell what I did.

4) Has your crush ever turned out to be your future girlfriend/boyfriend? Yes, once. That was a long time ago.

5) Did a best friend ever turn into more than just a friend? Nope. Just like Ross in "Friends" I get to become friends with girls and then I can't get out of the "Friend Zone." If he's the mayor of the Zone, then I'm its president.

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