Considering expat period Chennai

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#16 Feb 7th, 2017, 18:28
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#16
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Originally Posted by dillichaat View Post If you want to volunteer, take your time to study the organisation and the way they do things. Make sure you agree with what they say they do, that their words correspond with their acts and take care that they don't simply use you and your expat connections as a conduit to generate income for them (nothing wrong with that, provided they're on the level and legitimate, else it's your reputation that will suffer).
There are also strict laws about foreign funding of NGOs, so beware of becoming involved in funding.

Quote:
If you get bored, do what the wife of a colleague did: fly to Singapore every month to go shopping and have your hair done
My Rs100 haircut is fine, but shopping in Singapore once a month would suit me very well!

4.5 hour flight. Just like catching a bus! And economy fares are.... well, a bit more than a bus ride. Wish I still had family living there.

(I am a shopoholic, and I love Singapore. Whilst I love the traditional local shops here for silks, kitchenware, etc, I have little time for the local malls, as Chennai, in my experience, compared to London and especially Singapore, only does imitation western shopping malls)
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#17 Feb 7th, 2017, 18:57
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#17
Yes, visit first, but if a 5 star hotel, stay at Park Sheraton on Chamiers Road because it is close to Mylapore. Also walking distance from the Boat Club Area where many expats live and you should look at, getting an idea of what life will be at different times of the day. . I used to live in the hotel or neighbourhood many years ago for about half of every month, and, although it has become much more crowded and dirty (visited for a day a few months ago) and traffic has increased considerably, it still has advantages of a central location close to work and everything else.

I hope you can take high humidity combined with high heat- Chennai is terrible. Even though an expat package will allow 25 hour airconditioning, you have to be outdoor sometimes.
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#18 Feb 7th, 2017, 19:15
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#18
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Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post There are also strict laws about foreign funding of NGOs, so beware of becoming involved in funding.



My Rs100 haircut is fine, but shopping in Singapore once a month would suit me very well!

4.5 hour flight. Just like catching a bus! And economy fares are.... well, a bit more than a bus ride. Wish I still had family living there.

(I am a shopoholic, and I love Singapore. Whilst I love the traditional local shops here for silks, kitchenware, etc, I have little time for the local malls, as Chennai, in my experience, compared to London and especially Singapore, only does imitation western shopping malls)
Well, if first class was not available, the lady flew business Don't think she ever saw an economy class cabin since getting married. She got along great with my wife but luckily none of those expensive habits rubbed off. (I'm not a pauper but her husband earns an order of magnitude more).

For the NGO funding, what my wife did was pay for and host functions, using my and some colleagues' address books for the invitations. The NGO presented their activity and -through an independent accountant- the money donated went directly to them, we simply picked up the tab for the function.

Not certain if it was all legally correct so indeed, be careful and check if doing such a thing. What I do know is that I had Indian industrialists and ranking officials there on several occasions and never heard so much as a whisper of doubt regarding the legality but obviously that doesn't mean much.
"It is preferable to have a criminal for a servant rather than a fool because a criminal's actions are predictable and you can protect yourself against them, whereas there is no telling what a fool's next move will be.
#19 Feb 7th, 2017, 19:25
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#19
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stay at Park Sheraton on Chamiers Road because it is close to Mylapore
without actually doing the chartwork... Both on almost the same outskirts and quit close to each other. If we mentally centre "Myalopore" on Kapaleeswara Temple, my bet is that Raintree is closer. It would not have been there when you were here.

Decision between the two? Park is more deep-pile five star, Raintree is more polished wood. Raintree's location is slightly quieter: Park is on a very busy junction.

I'd settle for a week in each

stop press: It seems to be Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park now
#20 Feb 7th, 2017, 19:38
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#20
My Park (edit, oops, now Crowne whatever) recommendation is for the OP to look at closeby residential areas/Boat Club road at different times of the day (TTK Road, Alwarpet and Chamiers Road change character many times a day, as does the Boat CLub area, which I like because it is still a kind of quiet enclave in the madness)
#21 Feb 7th, 2017, 19:47
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#21
My Raintree is a couple of hundred metres away. And in what was an almost completely residential area until they built it.

I'll see your park and raise you a raintree!

But, yes, slightly closer to Boat Club, which is just across the road. But if this lady is in Boatclub league, she would probably have had a private-helicopter overview of the city by now!

(Are you thinking of the newer Raintree which is on Anna Salai? Mine is on St Mary Road.)

I was just google-mapping, and there is really a lack of posh hotels in the immediate Mylapore area. Plenty of 3-4 star: Savera, Woodlands, Maris (all close together near Music Academy)

Ilo, can you tell us which part of Mylapore Mr Ilo's office is in. It is actually quite a large place, and, formally or informally, includes many of those places to the South.
#22 Feb 8th, 2017, 00:57
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#22
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Originally Posted by dillichaat View Post My wife (based in Delhi as I said) couldn't work either due to insurmountable visa issues (special situation, by comparison your visa-issue might prove easier to sort out).

She busied herself by (unpaid) volunteer work for an NGO, later by giving classes to expat children and being involved in the running and attracting financing of a -legit- orphanage. However, all of this was informal. She wasn't paid nor officially engaged in these activities and strictly speaking I guess it was a grey area, keeping in mind her visa status. Doing everything officially 100% correct might not prove possible in practice, given the visa situation. Usually nobody will mind, provided that a) you're not deriving any income from what you do and b) that you stay away from politics.
That sounds quite okay. Still unsure, but it's something. We are now looking into the visa issues/possibilities.

Wouldn't mind a trip to Singapore once in a while either

Nick, thanks so far for the suggestions! I have to figure out exactly where the office is located. I agree that visiting Chennai first is important. We will try to do so. Whenever we will go, of course meeting other people would be great!

Let's see if the humidity and temperatures will work for us! Definitely something we need to adjust to.

What about going out in weekends? Are there nice bars/restaurants. Would guess so
#23 Feb 8th, 2017, 02:03
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#23
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Are there nice bars/restaurants. Would guess so
I would guess so too... but my idea of a good night out is a carnatic (South-India classical) music concert!
#24 Feb 15th, 2017, 16:03
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#24
Hey guys,

Here is an update.. We are going to visit Chennai! Will only be a few days for me, since I have to get back for work unfortunately. But it's better than not going at all.
It is probably written here somewhere, but I will just ask. Do you guys have any tips on eating without getting sick? Are regular restaurants okay? I heard that it's better to not eat fruit and salads.

Thanks!
#25 Feb 15th, 2017, 16:18
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#25
Getting sick or not depends (imo) to a large extent on your personal constitution and on luck. (I was ill exactly once in 6 years, eating out multiple times a week, including at roadside stalls. My wife fell ill on average once every 3-4 months).

Generally, higher priced establishments are supposed to be safer, as is veg food. Beware hotel buffets that sometimes stay out for hours at unsafe temperatures. The more people there are in a place and the quicker the food moves, the better your chances. For fruits etc, don't purchase anything pre-cut at a vendor. Normally, salads sold in hotels will have been soaked in dilute bleach, then rinsed in purified water. Everything depends on those wh prepare them. Stay away from small stalls selling fish or seafood, that's asking for trouble if you're not familiar with the area and the reputation of the vendor.

Don't do anything obviously risky is the bottom line. Beyond that imo the main factor is simply luck of the draw regarding your immune system. Don't be paranoid either, enjoy your stay.
#26 Feb 15th, 2017, 17:34
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#26
Thanks dillichaat! I think I will indeed just follow these guidelines
Also I cannot really figure out what is appropriate to wear for women in Chennai? I read that it's best to cover your shoulders and legs, and to not wear anything too tight.
Since we will meet people of the company, I don't want to do dress wrong or offend anyone. Hope to hear some tips/experiences.
#27 Feb 15th, 2017, 17:57
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#27
There is a whole thread(s) on what women should or should not wear. Some of that stuff dates back ten years, and things have changed a lot, so please look at recent pages.

Don't worry about offending anyone! Unless you are going, eg to a temple. Just be a little bit concerned about attracting the wrong attention.

I'd sum the whole thing up as: it is actually ok to show you shape, but not too much flesh. keep your legs covered. Yep: I'm male, you might want to get answers from the ladies!

Formal office dress... oh hey, I'm not female and I don't work either! But I'd say that, be covered, but dress for a summer day at work back home.

Wearing a sari takes some practice, salwar kameez, most ladies find comfortable and easy.
#28 Feb 15th, 2017, 17:58
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#28
For the meeting: international business attire always works. I'd suggest a conservatively cut dress in a light organic material. Or some variation (skirt + blouse/light blazer, whatever tickles your fancy). Something that covers your shoulders, is not cut too deep and drops to at least the knee. Wear what you'd wear for such meeting in Europe, basically. it's easier for your husband and he might be lucky as in the south, even during business meetings there's no rule imposing a tie.

For the rest: dress a bit on the conservative side, don't wear anything too form fitting, it'll cut on the ogling + is a lot more comfy in the heat. No LBD, alas.
#29 Feb 15th, 2017, 18:01
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#29
There is a whole thread(s) on what women should or should not wear. Some of that stuff dates back ten years, and things have changed a lot, so please look at recent pages.

Don't worry about offending anyone! Unless you are going, eg to a temple. Just be a little bit concerned about attracting the wrong attention.

I'd sum the whole thing up as: it is actually ok to show you shape, but not too much flesh. keep your legs covered. Yep: I'm male, you might want to get answers from the ladies!

Formal office dress... oh hey, I'm not female and I don't work either! But I'd say that, be covered, but dress for a summer day at work back home.

Wearing a sari takes some practice, salwar kameez, most ladies find comfortable and easy.
#30 Feb 15th, 2017, 22:03
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#30
Thanks both! Doesn't sound too hard!

I was also wondering whether it's easy to find an atm for maestro cards? I know creditcards like visa are more accepted, but what do you think? Probably some at the airport right?
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