I had the great privilege of spending a 2 week business trip in Asia. I flew through Tokyo, Japan to Singapore, a small island country that is the financial center of Asia. It was quite cosmopolitan and high scale – very clean, yet almost antiseptic in personality. It is the 2nd most densely populated country in the world.
I had a wonderful week in Singapore. While there, I explored the China Town area and found Buddhist and Hindu temples, as well as a very cool fish market.
I then flew across the Indian Ocean to Chennai (formerly known as Madras), India.
Chennai is in Southern India and is the 4th largest city there with a population of over 8 million people. I had read to expect poverty and filth, but nothing could prepare me for what I saw. It was amazing, overwhelming, and sad.
Being there gave me an immense appreciation for what I’ve been blessed with. While shopping at the T. Nagar Market one day, we were surrounded by pressing beggars. It was so difficult to see. We gave them some small bills – enough to buy a meal.
The Indian people generally seemed quite content, though. They were very friendly, polite, and happy – even among the most insane traffic I’ve ever experienced.
It was quite common to see a family of four on a small moped in rush hour traffic.
In the Tamil Nadu state, it is quite acceptable for people to stare, especially if they are curious. As you can imagine, I kinda stuck out (outside the hotel I saw only 3 or 4 white people all week) and attracted a lot of stares. I loved staring back for a few moments and then smiling, to which the people would immediately grin and bob their head.
This girl, about the age of my daughter, was begging on the street. Her smile was infectious.
I put together this video of just a few of my experiences and a handful of the more than 500 photos I took while there.
While on lunch break at the place I was working, a big cricket match concluded with a win for India. I happened to capture the moment on video. I have no idea how cricket is played and am generally confused by the entire game, but I learned that they take cricket quite seriously in India.
It was quite an adventure filled with memories I will never forget.
View from my hotel room