Monday, December 10, 2007

Quick Trip to Chennai

Last Friday, I drove out at 4:30AM to catch a morning flight from Mumbai to Chennai. It was a cold, wintery morning and there was an accident on the expressway. Two trucks had collided in the opposite lanes, and all incoming traffic from Mumbai was backed up for miles.

I reached Mumbai airport in two hours and thirty mintues without the driver over-speeding; see how much time you can save if the Mumbai traffic is absent from the streets?

Mumbai is one airport where almost every newspaper is available for free for passengers! I don't remember which one of them began this trend, but now every one of the national and business dailes are there for your reading pleasure!

Jet Airways IndiaThe Jet Airways flight that took me to Chennai was the first one I have ever boarded that did not have a Premiere section. All seats were done up in brown leather (different from their older blue colored interiors). Seems like this is the new color scheme we will see in their newer aircraft. Matches well with their new canary yellow uniforms.

As we landed, I could see that it had rained during the night. It was cool and dry now - by Chennai standards; Pune people would probably still call it warm and humid. :-)

I was back at the Le Meridien (I had blogged about this hotel and one of their restaurants earlier this year). I had to quickly change into work clothes since I had a meeting coming up. That is when I realized the hotel room didn't have an iron and board. How annoying! But hey, wait. Thy press your clothes for free. I called housekeeping and my shirt was ready in 10 mins!

A quick lunch at the Cilantro and we were off for a long day of meetings. I did try hard to keep the lunch light! I had the Saag Gosht, fish Amritsari, crab masala, a fiery eggplant dish, some rasam, and steamed pulao. I had to taste two desserts, the Malai Madhuri and the upside-down peach pudding. Like I said, a light lunch. :-)

During the evening, it was decision-making time again! Dinner at The Taj's Fisherman’s Cove or The Great Kabab Factory at the Radisson? Great sea-food at a sea-side resort or great kababs just 15 minutes from our hotel? But the dinner deserves it's own post!

En route, I picked up some more interesting tid-bits from the in-flight magazines:

Oberoi Udaivilas HotelConde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards 2007 are now out. In the Hotels and Resorts category, La Scalinatella on the Isle of Capri in Italy topped the list with a perfect 100. Only the second time this has happened in the 20 year history of these awards.

At #2 was Oberoi’s Udaivilas in Rajasthan which came in at 99.6 (very close indeed!). Oberoi also had the #3 and #6 positions with the Vanyavilas at Ranthambore (97.7) and the Amarvilas (97.3) at Agra respectively. Three Indian hotels in the Top 10 and all of them Oberoi properties!

On a different note, JetBlue this month began offering free email and instant messaging on its flights. Virgin America and other airlines are expected to follow with more online access during flights within the USA.

10 comments:

Jennifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer said...

Amazing post. Thanks for sharing. I am curious, since I am new to your blog, have you blogged on airline food? India has some of the best airline foods. Even on short flights you can get full course meal, as for instance we did between Mumbai and Trivandrum last year! And, have to say a bit longing for Chennai again. Can't wait to hear more of your Chennai tales.

Shantanu said...

@jennifer: Welcome to my blog! Airline food in India...hmmm. That sounds like an idea for a blog post in the future :-)

Sandeepa said...

Wish i could have a lunch that light everyday :)

Shantanu said...

@sandeepa: Ha ha, :-) I have to now make up for all that indulgence.

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backpakker said...

I was in Madras last week too and I thought the weather was just awesome ..warm and cool..

Shantanu said...

@backpakkar: Yes, that's the best Chennai ever gets. We were lucky to visit during that period. :-)

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