Saturday, November 15, 2008
This week took me traveling south again to the cities of Chennai and Cochin....... My day started early.....4:30am for my flight to Chennai. This was my third trip to this city as we have two different clients there. This trip was to visit the actual site of the Hiranandani site with the representative from Wyndham Hotels, Sunil Mathur. By the time we landed at 9:30am.....it tool us almost 1.5 hours to reach the project site..that we spent just about an hour at......I was back in the air at 1:55 after a very, very, very speedy trip to the airport to catch my flight to Cochin.....which was late anyway! While Chennai sits on the southern East Coast of India, Cochin or Kotchi, as it is also known, sits even further south on the west coast. I arrived at 4:00pm and dropped my luggage off at the Le Meridian hotel.....and was whisked to the site of a 25+ story tall hotel project.....it can be as many as 319 rooms, but we will more than likely cut that number in half, and the rest would become residential. Chennai reminds me of Florida or South Carolina....the weather is very warm and humid....just like home minus the palm trees. I didn't get a chance to see much, as it begins to get dark here early now. However, I had a window seat on the plane and I was sharing with Linda that Cochin seemed to have a very high concentration of Christians, as I could church's nestled between palm trees while I was flying in......so, every few miles as we were coming in for a landing, I could spot a church. Saturday morning my phone, which doubles as my alarm, seemed to go off rather early....and it was Parker calling me. He and I had a nice chat while I was waking up....then I called Maw-Maw to see how she was doing......the my lovely wife. I was just waking up and it was 7:15pm in Houston...... While on the phone with Linda, I could hear this rooster outside my window....so I wanted Linda to hear how loud this rooster was, and I opened my curtains to a truly beautiful resort that I had no idea was back there. It was a nice surprise. After a breakfast meeting with the Architect who fed us the lead for the hotel, we again met with the owner...and then a tour of a new Ramada Resort and then to town. Cochin is a very interesting city, and has a huge amount of activities to experience as a tourist....there was a huge tour group from the US staying at the hotel and seeing the sites of Kerala, the State in which Cochin is a city. The Seafood Restaurant at the hotel was very good, I had a "spicy prawn dish"....I didn't write the name down,it started with a "T" and had about thirteen letters most of which were consonants! Like it's name.....the dish was a local specialty. South Indian food is much more spicy than North Indian food......and the word for spice in India is MASALA.....most of the spices used throughout the world are grown here in India....remember the "spice route" and the East India Company owned by the British, that was part of the colonizing of the New World! Well, here I was standing in the land where it all began.... it is difficult to describe how a trip to the spice shop was....no little bottles or tins with the name McCormick on them......jars and sacks and boxes with fresh cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and other things I have never heard of much less seen in their raw form....no bottles, no shaker tops.....the spice aisle at the store is boring compared to this. It is a very interesting city with a great deal to see and experience...men who wear very strange clothing....the Chinese Fishing Nets, the backwater boats tours.......and the vendors that dot the side of the road....selling fresh coconut water....they have a sharp machete like knife and cut off the husk then with precision and not spilling a drop, they cut off a small portion of the top and you drink the fresh water. They grow very small banana's here that are supposed to be wonderful. It is definitely a nice place on on the list of places to visit when the family gets here.....enjoy the pictures......and the video of my "snooze alarm"!