We bravely undertook the longest train journey yet (over twenty hours) to Chennai where we planned to meet up with our friend, Mary Kay (John worked with her at CHOP).
Mary Kay worked in Chennai last summer (we can't imagine how hot that would have been since it's winter now and more than balmy)! She is here lecturing on cochlear implants at numerous conferences and clinics around India. Our timing was lucky and we were able to meet up with her and some of her Indian colleagues at a swish hotel for drinks and dinner. Great to catch up and so much fun to see a friend from home during our travels.
We were meant to catch a flight for Sri Lanka on November 18th at 1:00. However, inexplicably, we didn't realize it was military time so missed our flight by 12 hours! Quite embarrassing, really! Though, in our defense, what kind of outfit leaves in the middle of the night for a short 1.5 hour flight? I guess that's why the flight had been so much cheaper!
Anyway, a few "bonus" days in Chennai never hurt anyone. John used the time to take advantage of Chennai's medical tourism status and got his teeth cleaned. Apparently the going rate for heart surgery here is ~$1500 USD - no wonder this modern city of 6.4 million has become the center for foreigners seeking high-quality, affordable medical treatment (though John reports the dentist we saw in Thailand did a better cleaning for half the price!). We also hung out at the local air-conditioned mall and enjoyed some yummy ice cream. Although we tried to catch our first Bollywood movie at the theater, unfortunately it was sold out! We will have to try again later.