Shrinking Comfort Zones

[Chennai, 12/25/22]

After a month in India, I’m back in Bangkok.

My last four days in Chennai were eventful in unpleasant ways. I finally ate or drank something that kept me bedridden for most of two days. Finally strong enough to seek much needed nutrition, I went to a nearby restaurant, Liza, for a proper meal. I had had reasonable luck there.

Noticing their noodles with shrimps could be prepared four different ways, “Schezwan,” “Manchurian,” “Singapore” and “Thai,” I opted for the Lion City, only to end up with a dish so greasy I woke up repeatedly that night with a sore throat.

Great, I thought, with a bad stomach and a tortured gullet I will fly to Bangkok with a marathon layover in Bengaluru! “When a man dies, he will pass through his own bowels,” Da Vinci wrote in a notebook. I’ve quoted that before, I know. So what? Few, if any, have.

My last full day in Chennai, I still had to eat, so I walked nearly a mile to a momo joint. Steamed dumplings seemed the safest option. Since it had rained, many streets were flooded. I waded ankle or shin deep through copper colored water. Waiting for my order, I was engulfed in by the smell of urine, which didn’t improve my constitution.

Carrying my momos back, I passed a dozen scrawny white horses in their sad stalls just off the sidewalk. A skinny man scrubbed one. Kept apart, a downcast pony had mange. In my $20.31 a night room, I ate then lay down. To keep Sheraton Grande smelling reasonable, incense sticks were constantly burnt in hallways, but this fragrance, too, became overwhelming.

In Bengaluru, there’s a cosmopolitan oasis around Church Street, with its sushi, tacos and excellent burgers at Seigneur. Its Paris Delice with beef patty, beef bacon, grilled mushroom and cheddar cheese “drizzled with Franco-Honey Sauce” tastes like a Philly cheesesteak combined with a first-rate cheeseburger. At Amintiri, you can get Lamb Bolognese, Cajun Prawn and Green Apple, Vegetarian Dagwood or Caramel Baked Cheesecake, etc.


Categories: Geopolitics

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