Dry, dry Chennai

Alcohol is exorbitantly expensive in Tamil Nadu due to local regulations, basically heavy government taxes and strict licensing. This is good for the people of Tamil Nadu, as it does bring down the alcoholism. On the other hand, how bad was it if the government has had to intervene? The rules keep changing, but right now most places that say they used to sell don't. It's not a big deal, as we've been off the sauce basically since we arrived in India.

In any case, we've given ourselves the liberty of ordering one shot of whiskey on two different occasions since our classes ended. Whiskey, go figure, is cheaper than beer around here. It's more of a gesture, really, and at the local upscale hotel right near our house it comes with a little bowl of potato chips. At a local grocery store a good bag of chips would set us back a pretty penny. So we round out our vices in one go.

The wait staff have been getting rather chummy with us over the last week, seeing as we've been in twice and we're not staying there. Also, with our bike helmets and single shot only policy, we don't exactly fit the hotel bar crowd. This evening the guy at the table next to us was an upper crust Indian who developed a serious case of the hiccups while he was paying his tab.

We struck up a conversation with one of the waiters who wanted to know all the regulars - anything and everything to do with money. He was being generally curious, like many Indians, and for our part we were giving away little. The conversation turned to diets, and we told him we have been having a big lunch and no dinner. To which he replied, "Aha! You were looking more fresh faced the first time you came in. Now you are not eating enough." To which we responded, somewhat defensively, "It's from all the Chennai city driving!" But Indians do generally have a way of speaking honestly without making you feel entirely insulted.

So there you have it, folks. Apparently, only a week out, we have lost the luster of an intensive yoga course. And, as always, we do not eat enough food to satisfy any Indians, anywhere, at any time.

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