At one time, in both North America and Asia, the same person would have performed both these services. However, the professionals we visited last week were definitely specialists well trained in their respective fields.
Brianna had been suffering from a worsening earache for several days, probably induced by the combination of a cold and seven hours (yes, seven) in the pool on Tuesday. (There was a good reason for that, but I won’t go into it here). Not to mention a couple of hours swimming nearly every day previous to that.
A friend from church had recommended Dr. Benny Benjamin. Everything is potentially far away in a city this size, but it only took us about twenty minutes to get to his office. Make that thirty, including the time the taxi spent circling the neighborhood; it makes me feel better to know that I’m not the only one who has trouble finding things in Chennai. The receptionist was courteous and helpful, the waiting area cheery and clean. Dr. Benjamin doesn’t take appointments, but we had to wait less than half an hour for our turn.
Dr. Benjamin won my loyalty from the start by commenting on how pleased he was to see us reading together (Flora and Ulysses, by Kate DiCamillo, in case you’re wondering). Brianna’s reviews of the good doctor were less glowing, solely because he had to poke and prod quite a bit to see her eardrum. In an uncharacteristic show of restraint, she didn’t let on that he was hurting her until she started to cry. Later I asked the doctor to take a look at my ear, which seemed to be in sympathy with Brianna’s. He commented, “I hope I don’t make you cry too.”
We went away with anesthetic ear drops, a prescription for a week’s worth of oral antibiotics, and a wallet lighter by only 350 rupees (about $5).
The next day we set out for the Phoenix Mall in pursuit of some shirts and a haircut for Brian. He didn’t have much luck with the shirts. It seems Indian men–even XXL ones–aren’t as “brawny” (as the son of one of our Tajik friends used to render Brian’s name) as the man in our family.
However, he did get a very good haircut, with all the trimmings (so to speak) at a snazzy salon, for just $10. Tony & Guy is a chain that started in London, according to their Web site.
Back at the hotel, Brianna and I wound up the afternoon with a complimentary 15-minute foot massage at the spa in our hotel. Very refreshing.
That was a girls-only outing, but Brianna made up for it later.
The day ended with a family movie–“Wall-E.” While watching it I had a disturbing vision of myself as one of those chair-bound, incapacitated humans, as a result of all this hotel pampering. (If you haven’t seen the movie, we recommend it.) But we’re about to head off that danger … more on that later.