Our church in Chennai--this is the upper level sanctuary of the SDA church, which is where the English services were held. You can see the seats are not full. I believe that we arrived in Chennai the first week of summer vacation, and that the deacons were trying to tell us that the English services are usually much better-attended when school is in session. The congregation was mostly made up of high school and college students, a handful of adults, a young lady from northern India who spoke more English than she did Tamil, and any westerner that happened to come through Chennai on a Sabbath. If the people in this photo look hot, it's because they are. It was so, so hot in this sanctuary, I start to sweat just looking at the photo!
A photo of the same English sanctuary from the back. A young twenty-something man named Raj sat up front and ran the computer--putting up words on the screen to songs and hymns, putting up scripture verses, quiz questions during Sabbath School, and any visuals the speaker wished to show. The students sat near the front, while the adults and families sat nearer the back. You can see Heidi standing up facing the back (with jasmine in her hair) if you look carefully on the left.
The doleful, sorrowful looks of children staring longingly at the forbidden waters of Marina Beach. We thought Dad needed to go at least once to this famous and very long beach, and the girls felt it was such an injustice to let them be so close to the ocean, but not allowed to swim in it. (I know, we let them wade last time we were here, but the wading turned into practically swimming, and we just wanted to avoid that this time.)
On the other hand, plenty of natives were enjoying the cool, refreshing waters of Marina Beach. We went to Marina Beach on Saturday this time, rather than Sunday, and found the beach to be MUCH more enjoyable. Almost no vendors were there, and those who were took "no" for an answer and basically left us alone. No beggars followed us around, either. The beach was much less crowded, also. For future reference--if you must visit Marina Beach on a weekend, go on a Saturday.