13 December 2006
My flight from KLIA to Chennai was at 7.45 p.m. and touched down at Madras Airport at about 9.00 p.m. after a flight time of about 3 hours. On the arrival hall I was greeted by the hotel staff who escorted me to the hotel limousine which was waiting are the car park. Just like in China, there were so many people waiting at the airport welcoming back their relatives and friends from the flights that arrived the same time as mine.
The ride from the airport to the hotel was another great experience. The Indian drivers are great drivers, they were able to maneuver themselves within the traffic by sounding their horns and flashing their headlights. The traffic consists of lorries, cars, scooters and the local three wheeled “mini taxis”. I had a hell of fright going from the airport to the hotel.
The hotel I was staying was the Taj Coramandel which is a 5-star hotel in Chennai and I would not like to reveal the cost of the room. Upon arrival at the hotel, I was lead straight to my room where the room registration was done. This is the first that I have ever experienced having to register at my hotel stay in my room. The registration process was done by the executive butler.. talking about service man!!
14 December 2006
The next morning I had my breakfast the same floor of my hotel room. Took my sweet time for the breakfast, put on my office wear and ordered my transportation from my hotel to my company’s office in Chennai.
When I arrived, I heard someone called me. I was surprise that there are people in Chennai who know me. Well actually, I had earlier on sent my photograph of myself to all recipients of the e-mail that my boss had used to introduce me to the Chennai team. They can easily recognize this “Chinese Man” from the photo that I have sent. It feels great that the team knew me but it took me some time to remember who is who since the Indian names are rather long.
In the evening, I and the others from the Malaysian and Singapore teams were required to get ready to go on a train ride to participate in our Team Building Workshop. I did not know where the place is except that I come to know that the place is called Mist’ea Valley located in a place called The Nilgiris.
We were packed into a van which transported us to the Chennai Central Railway Station. Wow, it has been a long time since I have taken a train ride not to mention that I need to spend the night in the train itself. The train ride was a 10 hours train ride from Chennai to Coimbatore which is a 492 KM journey.
15 December 2006
The train started its journey at about 10.00 p.m. and we reached Coimbatore at 6.00 a.m.
Coimbatore railway station at 6.00 a.m.
We were then loaded up into 2 vans and a four wheel drive for a 2 ½ journey up the hills to the Nilgiris where are camp site is located at tea plantation. The view of the tea plantation was lovely. The weather was sunny with cool breeze blowing. Feels just like Cameron Highlands. I do not want to elaborate much on the workshop activities as it’s the normal routine sort to activities.
When the night arrives, the weather turned from cooling to really cold. At one stage I was shivering even though I sat next to the bonfire. I have to climb into the tent and into the sleeping bag. The sleeping bag was able to keep me warm through the night until the next morning.
Spectacular sunset view of the hills
16 December 2006
The next day we prepared ourselves to a journey out of the camp site to the Kodanadu View Point where we were able to view the valleys and plains of three Indian states bordered Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. The view was breath taking.
Ridges, plains and hills from the view point overlooking the three borders of Tamil Naidu, Kerala and Karnataka
After the visit to the view point, we were off to a jungle trekking to see some “local tribe” who was staying in the area. Nothing much there to see because the “local tribe” has move with the modern era and has embraced the “modern” was of live.
Coming back from the jungle trekking expedition, we were welcome to a lovely picnic lunch in an open area. The cool breeze was blowing and it was a great outing having lunch with the natural surrounding.
It was another long train ride back to Chennai on the train and we managed to safely arrive back at about 6.00 a.m.
I checked back to my hotel room and the first thing I did was to fill up the bath tub and soaked myself in the warm water.. I did not mention.. the weather was so cold in Nilgiris that I have not had a bath for the pass two days.
To be continued.....