India was never on my radar for this whole RTW trip up until very recently, but this land of spirituality (?) was always somewhere on my mind, mostly because all the people who had been there before told me some of the funniest and most fascinating stories. It simply made me feel that I had to go there sooner than later not in search of enlightenment but purely out of curiosity.

My travel-diary of India begins now;


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I flew to Chennai, the capital of Tamilnadu in southern India, by Sri Lankan Airlines today.
The ticket was LKR11,000 one way (about USD85.00): it was cheaper than all other airlines in this region, plus they didn't charge me for my surfboard.


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I took a local train from a station called Tirusulam located just outside of Chennai's international airport, and I wanted to go to a station called Chepauk in town. The fare was only INR8.00 (about USD0.15) then.
The train that I caught was so rusty and old and full of passengers; mostly men. I just hopped on it with my bulky luggage regardless. Many people in the train stared at me as I was carrying a bulky coffin-like surfboard bag which many of them had probably never seen before.
The train had no doors and I stood by the entry part of a carriage. I was looking outside and could not believe my eyes how messy and dirty it was out there as shown in the photo below.

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When I got off the train at Chepauk, a tuk-tuk driver outside the station approached me: "Where you go...? Where you go...?". I told him the name of the hotel that I wanted to go to - Broadlands Hotel. Then a negotiation with yes-no-yes-no began between him and me. Seemingly forever....
We eventually agreed on INR50.00 (about USD0.95) with my surfboard loaded on the roof of his tuk-tuk and headed to Broadlands Hotel. Huh....

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Broadlands Hotel was run-down and it even looked slightly haunted to me. It was "only INR300" (about USD5.80) for a prison-like single room with a dirty shared bathroom. I would definitely not stay here if I were travelling with my girlfriend. I chose it only because receptionists were nice enough to me and I didn't wanna drag my luggage around on those rugged streets of Chennai.

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As soon as I checked in at Broadlands Hotel, I dropped my luggage in my prison-cell and went out for lunch at a nearby restaurant.
I walked into a decent-looking one where I ordered "chicken fried rice". Then I became quite worried that they might make my fried rice very spicy. So I asked my waiter not to put any chilli in it by repeatedly saying to him: "No Chilli. No Chilli. Okay?". And what I got in the end was fried rice without chicken....

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Later in the day I strolled around the city. It was so exhausting with tons of rubbish, cars, motorbikes, cows, dogs and millions of people. Even after travelling through Latin America and a few countries of Africa, Chennai has already overwhelmed me in many ways, though this city is only India's sixth largest city and it's only my first day here.

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Hot, sticky, dusty, smelly and chaotic. That's my first impression on Chennai.
So far India appears to be very alienating to me. I actually wanna get the hell out of Chennai as soon as possible!

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