Sunday, 26 June 2011

Last Stop, Chennai

HTemp: 38c
Rain:  0.0"
`-$:  44.99

Our final stop and residence for the next two years, Chennai.  As usual, we arrive around midnight and the trip from the airport is a blur of dimly-lit buildings and fast moving traffic.  No highways, no grid, no skyline, just block after block of mysterious structures.  It looks a little desolate, but you can tell from the haphazardly-parked vehicles and the streets crammed with carts and piles of trash, that things come alive with the sun.

Looking East toward the Bay of Bengal.  The tall buildings are on the beach

Chennai does not have a skyline.
Buildings top out around 20 stories and there's no central concentration of them.  Due to random urban renewal, a 20-story office or apartment building can stand next to a one-story concrete bunker of a store built in the 30's.  While there's zoning for commercial versus residential, taste and building size don't seem to be regulated.

What passes for a street or neighborhood sign.  A bit random.

We live in a neighborhood in South Chennai called Bishop Garden.  To make things a little more confusing, the street we're on is also called Bishop Garden.  It's tree-lined, not noisy, and features old semi-deco style houses mixed among more modern apartment buildings like ours.

A bit deceptive- the area is more urban.  And smells it.

There are trees to offer a little shade when walking to commercial streets but only random sidewalk  expanses, both in appearance and width.  Stroll at one's peril would be a good slogan to heed.

Our apt. is the second floor and part of the third

The apartment building is a rock fortress, concrete bones covered in stucco and plaster and then tiled in marble.  Wood is reserved for occasional trim and doors.  In such a hot, humid town, the developer knew what materials work best to stay cool.  More on the inside of our apartment coming up.

Being from Miami helps serve as a good reference for Chennai: traffic, weather, beach, flora.  Chennai's architecture is similar to Little Havana and the surrounding western neighborhoods.  Sprinkle it with more dirt and trash, some overall traffic/people mayhem and a random layout, and you'll have a good idea of our new home.

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