Friday, December 22, 2006

12.22.06, 11:00am – CTS Offices, Chennai, India.

It’s my last day here. I fly out tonight at 11:30pm.

I have now been here long enough that the servers in the hotel restaurant (who are always so very helpful and smiling) know that Mr. Eric (as they call me) likes black coffee and chilled bottled water with his breakfast.

A woman ironing clothes at a street cart.

Speaking of breakfast, I finally had my first cringe-worthy run in with an Ugly American. I haven’t seen as many westerners here as I had expected. Even in the hotel there aren’t very many. Those I’ve seen are typically Euros. I don’t think I’ve encountered a single American that I’m aware of. All of this made this guy this morning even more painful to watch. At breakfast this morning, a few tables over from me sat this fat dude wearing a burnt orange University of Texas T shirt. First off, way to blend in, dude. When I sat down he was talking loudly to the servers (because yelling helps people better understand English) and said something like, “Bombay! Bombay! You know it?” For the love of god, these people are Indians, of course they know one of the biggest cities in their country. That would be like an Indian coming up to him, in Austin, and saying, “Chicago! You know it?” Idiot. Oh, and they call it Mumbai now, and have for years, dumbass. Then he proceeded to yell something about being from Texas and national champions. Good lord, you’re talking to these people about college football? American college football? Let me ask you something, jackass, you ever heard of cricket? No? Well it’s bigger here than college football is in the US. Ok ok, I’ll stop. It just pained me how hideously he represented an “Amurkin”. Thank god that’s the only one I’ve seen.

This cracked me up for some reason.

My cab driver asked me this morning if tonight I am “going back to my native”. He chatted up a storm today. In his very broken English he asked if I liked India, when I am coming back, etc. He perked up when I mentioned I may bring my wife with me next time. He told me his name is Lenin, but “not the Russian Lenin”. He’s the Indian Lenin. Then he told me his brother is named Karl Marx. Funny guy, this cab driver. At least, I’m relatively certain it was a joke. Maybe his parents are die hard commies, I don’t know. Anyway, I’m going to be sure to ask for him next time I visit.

The Indian, not Russian, Lenin.

I’ll miss the nice weather here. Although I’ve been told this is the “cool” season and during the summer it gets to 40 or 42 C. That’s 104 to 107 F. I’ll stick to visiting during the cool season, thanks.

A dilapidated bus station.

My hours here are down into the single digits.


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