"Chennai Revisited" Top 5 Page for this destination Chennai (Madras) by tayloretc
Chennai (Madras) Travel Guide: 461 reviews and 937 photos
I have a strange relationship with Chennai. I’ve lived here longer than I’ve lived anywhere except Boston, and it’s the only place besides Boston I’ve ever moved back to.
I left Chennai in May, not thinking I’d be back so soon, so it’s with disoriented pleasure that I moved back in November, for another year. This time, I’m living in a swank residential area a few minutes walk from the beach in Thiruvanmiyur (southern end of the city), and working in one of the nearby Tech Parks, so if my comments were skewed before they’re bound to be much more so now. Between the flat and the office, if I wanted to I could forget the hassles and unpleasantness of daily life altogether.
The photo above is from the rooftop of my apartment building looking south (north looks the same, but with big water towers blocking the view). Like many other parts of the city, Thiruvanmiyur used to be a town in its own right before it was swallowed whole – there’s a large, old temple, and the streets in what used to be the center are narrow and lined with narrow houses painted bright colors and stoops worn from generations of visitors stopping in.
What I wrote in the now-travelog of my former stay is still mostly true, and I think describes my initial experience of the city pretty well. Then, I went through the expat cycle of fascination, confusion, hate, and acceptance (much stronger in India, where nothing is halfway); this time I’m simply back in a familiar place. A place with still shifting and often baffling ground rules, but familiar. It’s still changing fast, and not always for the better (the traffic is even worse than before), but it’s still as delightfully/frustratingly different from anywhere else as it ever was.
I’ve left a collection of photos taken on random auto rides posted on another site, and will add to it as I go around. Since the plans this time include buying a moped, this collection could grow quickly, as new things are noticed, or it could not grow at all, as I focus on trying to not die while driving.
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