I’ve only been here a few hours and my senses are overloaded.
The first thing I noticed was the fragrance of exotic spices wafting through the airport, closely followed by a cacophony of car horns all blasting at the one time totally indiscriminately. The air was hazy and dusty and I could actually taste the grittiness of it on my tongue.
Then came the ride to our hostel. As far as I could tell, no one takes a blind bit of notice of any road signs or lane markings.
We were on a motorway with four marked lanes but obviously locals have discovered that if you fold in your wing mirrors you can fit 6 cars across the lanes. That doesn’t include the cyclists, the motorbikes or the families walking nonchalantly alongside the traffic. At one point we saw a car reversing speedily towards us to try and get off at the right exit. Our lovely driver did not seem at all perturbed by any of these goings on.
What surprised me the most was the amount of greenery, beautiful trees, pink, red and yellow blossoms and hundreds of plants in pots.
But we didn’t have to go far to see disturbing sights, beggars, street children, families living in makeshift camps.
I’m now sitting in Christian Aid’s office preparing for tomorrow’s trip to Chennai. We’ll see what that brings.