Chennai, India – Day 3 – Meeting our city project team

Today was our first morning with clear skies and moderate temperatures so we decided to make a run for it – not that kind of run.  This was our morning workout.  With Ravi in the lead, Mats and I followed him out to the Ghandi statue at the beach  and back through the city to our hotel to cover 10K.

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The streets were not particularly crowded at 6:30am local time, however, by the time we round the half way point and headed back to the hotel, we ran smack into a local traffic jam in front of the elementary school.  The parents had jammed motorcycles, autos and bicycles in the street which caused us some challenges in dodging parents eager to see their kids off.  Much to my surprise, Ravi had navigated us back down a street where I found a sign particularly interesting.  I had to stop and take a picture.  It threw our pace off but provided us with the opportunity to take a quick drinks as well.

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Once back at the hotel we prepared for a field trip day.  Today was our chance to join our city project team in visiting commercial establishments to discuss taxation policies and processes.  We visited one of the hotels who had sent representation to our meetings the day before, we visited a coffee shop which was part of a large chain of stores and a building which was not yet completed but had been registered for commercial purposes.  It was hard to focus on the details of the last building as we were in a cement building at noon when temperatures were near 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius.  Despite the temperatures and crowded meetings, Barbara continues to charm all those we visit with her infectious smile and charming manner.  If there’s a contest for who is asked to be in the most pictures during this project, it will definitely be Barbara.

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We finished our field trip with a late lunch at a local Biryani restaurant where we continued to explore the ‘heat’ of local cuisine.  For Ravi and Magesh this is just a matter of choosing their favorite establishments and dishes.  For Mats, Barbara and I it’s trial and error.  So far I am happy to report, there has only been one error so far – Barbara missed a chile in one dish and got a bit of a surprise when she bit down.  I am happy to report there was not severe damage and she quickly recovered.  Since then we have all been on the look out.  A nice surprise last night was when Magesh’s wife brought us fresh Jack fruit from their yard.  It was extremely sweet.  We were fortunate to see Jack fruit on the fruit bar for breakfast this morning. This is not a fruit Barbara, Mats or I can easily find in our home towns and we’ll miss it.

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