This is not a blog about Cricket, but it might turn into a recurring theme as I go along.
On this side of the coconut, my diamond shaped temple with four stations perfectly spaced at 90 feet apart, has no devotees. In case that was too cryptic, no one knows a baseball from a mango here in India.
However, here in India, that game with wickets is the national sport. This year they are hosting the ICC Cricket World Cup. You wouldn’t know it unless you looked closely.
This being Super Bowl Sunday back in the USSA, I need only to reach into the decaying memory banks I call a mind to remember that the words Super Bowl appear in front of your temporal lobes at least once every waking minute for the week before the game. I am sure that you could not breathe in South Africa without spitting out a soccer ball for at least a year before their version of a world up.
But here in this country with one sixth of the world’s population, I cannot find a ball cap with a cricket logo on it to save my dharma.
We are in Chennai, prepping ourselves for the excursion down the coast and into the interior to attend the wedding we came here to see. We have a driver and an itinerary of sorts. This is not a tourist destination. Our driver is not a guide. What we know about this town is from Lonely Planet, Trip advisor and my new source of travel information, Matadortravel.com. I did the outreach to hotels and such for this trip. Usually Mary Ann marshals that and I am happily along for the ride. Because the flight took us to Chennai, I wrote about a dozen hotels to ask if they could help us with a driver. Only one wrote back. The manager’s husband runs a tour agency. After a couple of emails, I hired him to set us up with tours in Chennai, a driver to and from the wedding, the flight to Delhi and the train to Agra to see the Taj.
Like I said we have a driver, not a guide. We have been on our own for information about the sights. That is OK by me. After the trip to Nepal where our guides relentlessly told us fables from Buddhist and Hindu lore as if they were talking about history, it is nice to just look and see.
We basically told him what we wanted to see and he drove us there. However, I stumped him when I told him to take me to buy a cricket cap. He really tried. The look on his face when I came out of sports shops empty handed was both disappointing, and to me humorous. I would not give up. Every trip to a museum, fort or cathedral was sidetracked by a trip to another sporting goods store. This is a city of 6.6 million people and 12.6 million busses, cars and tuk tuks. So navigating the streets was something was happy I did not have to do.
My last attempt was the largest sporting goods store in town. The name of the local Cricket team, who by the way happen to be the national champions, are the Super Kings. I went into the store, pointed at the ball cap I had on and said “I want a Super Kings cap.”
They responded positively and I thought my search was over. They took me over to a rack of caps and pulled out a Super MAN cap. I officially gave up my search.
We saw a few interesting things in Chennai, but by far was St Thomas Church. This is where St. Thomas, Doubting Thomas, one of the 12 disciples is buried. It is one of only three cathedrals built over the grave of one of the 12. One in Spain, and of course the third is St. Peters in the Vatican. Pretty cool. Here are a couple of shots.
INSERT ST THOMAS
In my last post I told you my friend summed up a trip to India in 3 words, “you’re in India.” I can beat that, I can do it in one word. THRONGS. Every place you go it is like standing outside of a stadium when the game is over. Thousands of people everywhere, you cannot get away from people. For my friends in Bocas, Imagine Isla Bocas having two hundred thousand people on it, and everyone over 12 has a motorcycle. I am enjoying the experience, but after I see the Taj, I do not know what would make me come bac
The next post will be the wedding. Promise. It takes me hours to make posts, sorting photos, writing, re-writing and editing the prose. And that does not count the time living the experiences and taking the photos. AND, doing it on the road often means having to use slowwww, internet connections in hotels, which takes all that more time. So I will probably wait until I am back in Sharjah to post.
I hope you enjoyed it. Please comment.