Monday, 23 February 2009

वापस चेन्नई में आपका स्वागत है

welcome back to chennai

arriving in chennai did NOT feel like going back to a place i had visited or lived. i felt like i was in a brand new city. i didn't recognize ANYTHING. the airport is an actual airport. it is a clean well organized affair. heading out of the airport, nothing was familiar. driving to the airport, nothing.

i shared some of what my first few days were like already. on friday, we were heading to a site visit and i asked our driver where thiruvanmiyur was (pathway, the orphanage i worked at when i was here in 1997 is in thiruvanmiyur). to my surprise, the driver said we were going thiruvanmiyur! he asked me how i knew about thiruvanmiyur and i told him. long story short, he contacted prasad and i stopped by. prasad had fallen down the stairs the day before and was headed to the doctor by the time i arrived. so i made arrangements to go by the next evening.

i hurriedly took this photo on the way out of the orphanage
if you can't see the sign says:
"given in love to the children of southern india
by members of the church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints"

as we shuttled off to another site visit we passed a building with this "scarecrow" on it
our driver explained that it keeps bad spirits away
some people might look at the large building and covet, but this "man" will help people not covet
what do you think?

then we went to the india social welfare organization
where we met with female sex workers, male sex workers, men who have sex with men,
lesbians and transgendered people

they greeted us with innocents, cool flower lai things
(i can't remember what they are called), and tilak

here we all are
and some people who are just experts on the topics

saturday we met with a group of HIV positive women, and then we visited a "rock temple" i can't remember what it is called

the temple is actually carved out of stone,
rather than just being built by it

this is graffiti from the inside of the temple
there is a weird level of respect for things here

here are some colleagues
fiddling around with a lingam (लिङ्गं, just in case you want to study hindi)

yogi teabelly

i kinda want this bike.
i don't think i would need a car, if i had this bike

anne, laura, karina, and kristen
with diana in the back


i had the crew drop me off at pathway
where i got to see prasad and chandra again!

me, chandra, and prasad
notice prasad's sling
he fractured the body of his scapula

chandra and i are dear friends. seeing her again felt like being reunited with my sister.
how funny that people with such different lives can still feel so connected.

it is crazy how little has changed at that main pathway building.
the transitory dwelling unit (my room)
is now called the sheffield room after bill sheffield,
but other than that, it looks very much the same.

and the guy who took me to the hotel is the same guy who drove me around 12 yrs ago.
he doesn't recognize me or speak english,
so the significance of this ride for us is kinda lost on him

we passed this bus on the way back to the hotel.
i couldn't help myself.


Keller Clan Mom said...

Hi most ethnic friend,
Looks like another super cool trip for you. Fun to catch up on your blog. Can't wait to catch up with you.

kimcolton said...

Hey, You're so close, any chance you can pop down to Male'?

All the best!

Annie said...

wow! I love the pict. of that old wrinkly woman. She is beautiful. Oh day will you be my tour guide to India!

JJ said...

What amazing photos! The one of the feet is just compelling in its own right. Thanks for sharing your adventure!