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they were’nt aussies


but a cruise load of whiny, north americans living their end years blowing away all their leftover stash of green, a dollar at a time. To document the events of the day  might just require a new blog, so i shall just have to leave you with some interesting visuals, mostly from the rain drenched harbour.

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The inadvertent tourist guide

There are a bunch of aussie blokes in town (three truck bus loads to be precise), and by a clever twist of fate, the person in charge of showing them around, knows someone, who knows someone, who knows my friend’s friend. They need ten local chaps to accompany the horde and fascinate them with cock and bull stories to distract them from the growing blotch of sweat around their underarms, and it just so happens that they were one short of ten (9). This is where i become a part of the story.

Details are sketchy, but apparently the itinerary involves  a trip to the harbour, 5star cuisine and AC bus rides. I’m supposed to show up at Xxxxxxx Bus stand at XX:30 in the morning in a black pant, shoes, and a shirt. This would normally invoke strong protests from me, but then a certain sum has been promised, and thats enough for me to even walk their kangaroos and milk them twice if they so wished.

Mapping the city collaboratively


Thanks to an email from ravages and sagaro, i find myself sitting in IIM B attending the FreeMap India workshop over the weekend. The focus is on the OpenStreetMap project and its related tools. OpenStreetMap is a mapping service like Google maps, with a twist, its a map that anyone can edit, just like wikipedia. Although i was already familiar with OSM, having dabbled with it very early on about two years back, what drew me to the event was the possibility of meeting people in the mapping domain and a reason to bunk my college cat which the fools have scheduled on a saturday.

Anyway, a 6 hour chilly train ride later im greeted by the bangalore dawn, inhaling the smoky smell of the city mixed with depressing weather and a runny nose. With a touch of good fortune i get a lift to the IIMB campus on a bike. The workshop had attracted a respectable crowd, mostly guys related to the mapping/gis industry in one way or the other. And funnily enough i wasnt the only nut to come from Chennai for this, i bumped into a 2nd year IITM guy and a final year bloke from coimbatore who was doing a project related to location based services.
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Chennai volvo routes and timings

Had the opportunity to meet with a senior MTC official recently and was able to extract some more details about the newly introduced ac volvo buses.

So far the MTC has acquired 10 buses deployed on 6 routes:
A1 (1) Central – Thiruvanmiyur (via Mylapore)
E18 (2) High Court – Guduvanchery (GST Road)
19G (1) Broadway – Kovalam (ECR)
21G (2) Broadway – Tambaram (GST Road)
A51 (2) Broadway – Tambaram (via Velachery)
D70 (2) Ambattur – Velachery (IRR)
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Chennai’s share autos

After a marathon movie watching session at my friends place yesterday night, i was worried about getting back home today. I had asked a bus conductor and he had told me that there would’nt be any bus services due to the bandh.

picture of a share autorickshaw in chennai

So while i am waiting for an auto at thirumangalam, checking my wallet if i have 300 bucks that the bloodsucker is sure to demand, i notice a regular movement share autos, the mutated cousins of the regular auto, but just a bit bigger and capable of seating thrice its own capacity. On closer inspection, the board at the windshield said dms or t nagar.

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Riding the Chennai Volvo

 the first volvo to arrive, pic credits:unknown

After an episode of having some deadly beach sundal at the marina beach followed by a session of pav bhaji, onion rava and some filter coffee at hot chips in broadway, i felt like treating myself to a little luxury on the way back home. The new air-conditioned volvo buses launched by the mtc in chennai was attracting a lot of public interest within 2 days of their inception and as a die hard public transport traveller, was keen to try it out.

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