India Travel Diary
Thursday, Dec. 24, 1998.

Today we went back to the US consulate, and I discovered across the street is Chennai’s only drive-in restraunt, like the A&W restaurant of US. Pretty cool! Today we went to the Institute of Tamil Studies and the Theosophical Society. The Theosophical Society is a park known for the big banyan tree. It is a quiet, serene place to walk around, apart from the hustle and bustle (and pollution!) of the city outside.

The culture shock I ran into today was not being able to get a drink! I had not brought my water bottle out with me, and so the only way to find a drink is to find a ‘cool bar’. A cool bar is a place you go buy a drink and drink it there. You can get sodas, mango juice, water, etc. But we could not find one in the vicinity. I had to wait. It is not like in US where you have everything at your dispense, there are not even vending machines to get some cold drinks! And during this wait for cool drinks, I saw a strange sight in Chennai, girls wearing jeans! The whole time I was in Chennai, I counted only 3 young girls wearing jeans, otherwise the dress perferred is sari or chididar (dress with pants underneath and dupata, a long scarf worn over the top). Wearing those clothes may seem like it would be too hot, but actually I think jeans would be more stifling!
Author and Photographer: Jennifer Polan
Tirupati Temple December 25

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