Haven

Chennai is a busy sprawling metropolis, which can at first sight appear to be rather chaotic and sprawling. It is true that the roads are full of cars motorbikes, motorised rickshaws and people –  all intent upon arriving at their chosen destination as quickly as possible and with scant regard to whatever road rules might apply. mmmhhh…are there any road rules? Maybe the loudest horns win the day.

In the shopping plaza, the most difficult thing (apart from finding one’s way around) is to persuade the touts (shop word for louts?) to leave you alone. I find that listening to my MP3 with noise cancelling earphones is pretty effective. When I do not have them it seems that every person think that I have a responsibility to look in THEIR shop! I make it a point not to enter any shop where I am accosted too aggressively and told one exactly where to go…yes you can imagine!

So the hotel becomes a haven of sorts. At least by now they are beginning to learn to leave me in relative peace. Waiters tend to know what I want and of course it is air-conditioned, so that can be a relief after 35 – 37 degrees elsewhere. There are four restaurants in the hotel. Mostly reasonably priced. I have still to try one of them. I shan’t go to the “Hip Asia” again as the service was decrepit (probably because there were no young females in our group of  three examiners!) and the price was significantly too high for so-called Japanese food. Sushi was VERY highly priced – about $40 for 6 piece pack – as usual I can’t see how they justify the price of Japanese food. The ingredients are not that expensive…So I ate Thai – not nearly as good as the Benjarong in Howick, and certainly not cheap.

Last night I did escape the hotel to eat in the hustle and bustle of the food court at Spencers Plaza again. This time I had a delightful Paneer, (rice with mixed vegetables and fairly mild curry). At a cost of about $4 including Pomegranate Juice, this was a very nice meal – allowing for the fact that you do not escape the noise of course.

P1030309      P1030314  

P1030313So to the examination centre. It is about ten minutes walk along the road. They all smile when I say I am going going to walk rather than take the car…mad dogs and “Englishmen”

Built above a Music Store, there are about four studios, that look rather like a padded cell (How appropriate!), each fitted with air-conditioning. The soundproofing is not great – but better than in many places (Rosehill College take note!) – and we have a room where the examiners can meet and greet among cups of tea, chocolate and Pistachio Nuts! Very nice! – and even nicer…up another set of stairs and we step out on to a deck that is suspended among the branches of a large tree. This is a lovely haven – nested in among the leaves of a Sleeping Tree (apparently the leaves fold up at night) and looking over at some very beautiful plants – including some Frangipani trees – and yes Mum they are larger than either yours or mine!! They have a pink one. Not fair! We only have white and yellow….

P1030315Here is a photo of the other two examiners here presently, sitting on the deck. They are about 15 metres up above the ground, and the design does make it feel as if you are really in a tree house or even nestling on the branches themselves – almost elvish in fact!

So, only 50 metres off the bustling main street of Anna Salai, this does create a restful haven

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About David Adlam

I am a conductor, composer, clarinettist and examiner for Trinity Guildhall working in Auckland, New Zealand and overseas
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1 Response to Haven

  1. Tony says:

    Hi David..Wow! I know what you mean by the Indian shopkeepers and their roadside touts! In Fiji where I visit frequently..the Indians are the most aggressive that I have ever encountered anywhere…and if you are white..the mental cash register starts ringing and…they all want to shake your hand and escort you through their pride and joy

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