I was very fortunate to call Chennai home for two weeks. We stayed with S’s family and I’m so grateful that put up with all our antics and disrupting their daily routine. I found the best thing about Chennai were the people. Everywhere we went and everyone we met was very polite and helpful. To me, I could see a fundamental change in S’s personality and attitudes – she truly felt at home. I was very lucky to meet a lot of her family members – many took me in as an extension of her.
The city itself is big yet super walkable. Shops usually surround neighborhoods so you can walk out and grab groceries or take a short auto ride to where your destination. Street shopping in Chennai is best found in Pondy Bazaar and T. Nagar. There are a lot of stalls and a lot of people so you need to keep on moving and looking at the same time. The pricing is a little higher than Bombay and Delhi because they don’t have as much competition. Also, the variety is not as good as the other two cities but you’ll be able to find most of what you’re looking for. Spencers plaza is a mall that was built in three phases and has a combination of retail shops and offices. We managed to find some north Indian souvenirs there.
Do not eat street food there because there isn’t much, but what is there is not that great. You’re better off going to a nearby restaurant.
I really felt like I was living in India rather than just visiting because we fell into a daily routine of getting up, bathing, eating breakfast and moving on with the day’s activities and then coming home for dinner. It felt nice to live with a routine for a bit compared to the constant on the go schedule.
We’re currently on our way back home, so I’ll post more when I’m settled in.