Pitstop in Chennai

Chennai Travel Blog

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Busy road at dusk near Egmore

I left the hotel in Mount Lavinia with what i thought would be loads of time to get to the airport.  The airport is 30km north of Colombo, up near Negombo and I knew the speed of the buses meant  that it'd take a while.  So I left Mount Lavinia at 10.30am to get my 2.45pm flight....ages, eh?!  Well, after the half hour ride into Colombo city we sprung upon possibly the most chaotic traffic scene.  There didn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it!  Just buses and tuk-tuks everywhere, getting nowhere!  I jumped off one bus and found the 187 bus to the airport.  It took us another half hour to get out of the city centre and as we trundled along the A3 towards Negombo I started to get a little worried.  By 12.50pm we only made it to Ja-Ela, which is about half way!  Not wanting to miss the closing of check-in, I jumped off and into a tuk-tuk for the final 15km.

Mmm, a building in the fort complex....great.
  It cost me LKR500, but we made it with  enough time for me to get through the riculously bureaucratic security checks and to the check-in desks....phew!  My flight from Colombo was decent (even the airplane curry wasn't too bad!) and I landed in Chennai at 3.40pm.  Sticking to public, I had my first experience of Indian trains after somehow negotiating the gauntlet of taxi and tuk-tuk drivers waiting outside the airport.  The train into the city centre was close by (about 500m) and only cost INR6 (10p/15c), although it was proper cattle class and I had lots of people staring at me wondering what a tourist was doing on their train!!

The way my flights worked out with Jet Airways meant that I had to fly to Chennai before going up to Delhi.  I thought I'd have an afternoon to look round, but in the end it didn't really work out!  I got off at Chennai Egmore and found a room at Hotel Regent (INR265/£4/$6), which was basic to say the least.  But I thought it'd be ok for a night and I couldn't really be bothered to walk around any further.  I noticed that although I'd flown directly north from Colombo, the heat was just as oppresive.  I was pretty tired, so I shelved any ideas of sightseeing as it was also getting towards dusk and just had a vege meal and rested at the hotel.  I did make an attempt in the morning to go and see Chennai Fort, but it was totally underwhelming, so I wished I hadn't bothered. I hope there's better to come!

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Busy road at dusk near Egmore
Busy road at dusk near Egmore
Mmm, a building in the fort comple…
Mmm, a building in the fort compl…
photo by: Marusya