We had an early flight this morning from
Hyderabad airport, to Chennai, formerly named Madras. This was
our first flight on a domestic Indian air carrier so we weren't quite
sure what to expect.
As usual, there were a few surprises. First, we were dropped off
at the airport and had to show our ticket to get inside the
airport. So far, security looks promising. Next we went to
the check-in counter to get our ticket, and were told we had to run our
checked baggage through the scanner first. OK, so we were
wondering what those unattended scanning machines on the side of the
concourse labeled "Jet Airways Baggage Screening" were for. So we
went over there and found an attendant, who ran our checked bags
through, sealed the locks with yellow plastic zip ties and wrapped the
whole bag up in a security sealing tape, not unlike those used to wrap
bundles of newspapers together. Then we took our bags back to the
counter, where we were issued our first class tickets, and given a pass
to the club lounge. We had a nice little breakfast, which was
prepared by the ITC Sheraton we had stayed at (and catered to the
airporrt) and given a call when it was time to go through
security. Separate lines for "Ladies" and "Gents" took us through
metal detectors which were essentially not used, because they did the
wand scanner on everyone anyway. Had to empty my pockets and show
what was in all of them. Our hand baggage went through an xray
system as well. So far, security looked pretty decent.
We went to the boarding area, sat down and 30 seconds later our flight
was called. We stood in the mad rush of people to get on the
flight, and as we got to the gate, the security guard checking boarding
passes checked my bag for my bag's security tag, which I didn't have
because I didn't know I needed it. He denied me boarding and
pointed away from the gate. Everyone else had a security tag with
a stamp on it, so we ran down the stairs back to security and asked the
guard for such a tag, which he gave me. Another rush back to the
gate, and we were on to the Boeing 737-800.
Now we know - get your tag stamped, and make sure EVERY piece of
carry-on has a tag.
The flight was only an hour, and they served us hot breakfast during
that time. Nice. Here's a few final shots of Hyderabad from
the air and en-route to Chennai. Since we arrived in the early
morning I had no previous shots of the city from the air.
One final shot of the lake with the Buddha statue, which it turns out
was made in 1986, fell off its barge during placement and only
recovered 5 years ago and placed in position.
More Hyderabad and some of the new IT centers being built on the
This is on approach to Chennai, including the first shot of the Bay of
Bengal and the 2nd longest beach in the world:
Some burned out apartment buildings:
And a new golf course under construction:
I liked that they call their airport Ground Control "Apron Control"
On arrival, the first class passengers got off first and had our own
bus to take us to the terminal:
The drive to the "Fisherman's Cove" hotel/resort
took more than an hour, because it's kind of off the beaten path.
It's about 25 miles outside of downtown and since it was morning rush
hour and nobody goes more than 60kph because of the volume of traffic
we just had to wait. Along the way we saw many sights:
In the busiest intersection in Chennai, it took us more than 25 minutes
to get through it. An ox didn't help things but frankly didn't
really hurt it either:
Some of the signs on the street are pretty funny, or at least memorable:
And the city buses sure pack 'em in:
You can probably see in this picture the advertisements for J2EE, .Net
and Oracle 9i training. A year's worth of training is about
Rs10,000, or about $232. Similar signs for Cisco and Microsoft
Certifications also were prevalent along this road.
Cows were everywhere, hanging out on the side of the road, lying on the
median, or just taking up space on the sidewalk. Also, saw trucks
carrying many live chickens which were for sale on the roadside:
Finally we arrived at Fisherman's cove, a tropical beach resort with
not much internet access but excellent restaurants and a great
view. Each of us had our own beachfront cottage for the
night. Rachel had a full-body massage and I hung around reading
files and compiling notes and reading. We're going to be busy for
the next 3 days including Saturday so this was one of our few days
off. Here's life from the Fisherman's Cove, on the shore of the
Bay of Bengal:
Later in the day, the Monsoon finally came, and the seas picked up and
a rainbow shone. From the cottage you could hear the waves pretty
strongly all night long - nice and peaceful.
We had lunch and dinner at the pub/restaurant, had such delicacies as
cream of wild mushroom soup, chicken biryani, Kingfisher ale, and lots
and lots of naan. Tomorrow it's back to work for another company