¡Estamos de obras! Pronto tendremos un nuevo diseño.... We're under construction! We'll have a new layout soon...

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Going home

The boarding just started.15 hours ahead

Friday, 6 May 2011

'Ta Ta India!'

I just checked out and as soon as the taxi is here, I'll leave for the airport. Long journey ahead and already tired :(

Why did I have to leave Ooty?

I had an amazing long weekend in Hampi and I thought nothing will be more relaxing, but Ooty was. I spent there my last two days a.d it was fantastic!
Well it started and ended not that good: in Metupalayam there was not much accommodation available and after waking up at 5:45, the toy train was not working. On the other hand the journey from there to Bangalore was stressful.
But the two days there really worth it. Wednesday I took the train to Coonoor: 1 hour for 16 km. It's a scenic journey and i took around 120 pictures. In the evening I joined two Danish guys for dinner at the savor hotel (taj) and met there a Australian girl. For once I was enjoying the colonial life ;) Thursday I joined them again for a hiking tour through tea plantations, amazing landscapes and views!

To Ooty

Today I'm trying to get to Coimbatore by train, from there to Metupalayam by bus and tomorrow the toy train to Ooty. I'll have to "be nice" to the station master in order to get a ticket (and wake up very early). I hope It's worth it.
But first I'm going for sightseeing here.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Train II

Complaining about peak time?

"Platform number 3, hurry up!"

That was the answer this morning to "ernakulam?". I got earlier to the train station and a passenger train was already there. As everyone else, I crossed from 1 to 3 through the rails instead of the bridge, otherwise I wouldn't have made it ;) I got the perfect seat: emergency window, sitting alone. In each stop the.train was getting crowded and crowded until people was hanging in the door. Maybe because of the heat rather than the space. I could feel the heat from all the people, when the train wasn't moving it was not nice. I can't imagine being in the middle of that crowd!
It took almost two hours to get to ernakulam, but the journey was interesting as well as the landscape.

Once in fort cochin i looked for a place to stay and afterwards I decided to reward my feet for the much work they have done: pedicure and massage. To close the day, dance show :)
After a couple of power cuts, It's time to sleep


Saturday, 30 April 2011

Arrived in Alleppey

I arrived this morning and so far it' not that spectacular here :( guesthouse are really basic (maybe I'm spoiled from the hotel in Bangalore) and some of them really stinky (humidity is huge here and you can smell it in the rooms). I'm going for breakfast now and I'll have a shower, maybe afterwards I see things different :) 

Thursday, 28 April 2011

"Going Indian" ;)

I think "going Indian"doesn't exists yet, so I'm going to create it :) Going Indian means take a train and bring with you food for two days packaged in Tupperware. Once in the train, make yourself comfortable and put the Tupperware everywhere, so the rest of the people cannot move J
Well tomorrow I’m leaving for Alleppey, Kerala. It’s a 12 hour train journey, from 17 until 05:30, and therefore I’ll need to take my dinner with me. The food in the train is not good, I’ve already tasted it. I’ve spent a couple of hours cooking my tortilla. Indeed I have cooked two big ones, I’ll take few pieces in the train and the rest is for our colleagues in the office.

With this mad traffic it had to happen:

my cab had a small collision with a truck. It wasn't that bad because we're driving very slowly (you're not able to drive fast with the non-end traffic jump). It happened while turning to the right, a truck hit my cab in the back side.
I also took a video of the men arguing with each other, I'll load it as soon as I have time.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

I got a tatkal ticket to Alleppey

Friday I'm leaving for a week of holidays in India. I wanted to see the backwaters, but the trains were already fully booked and the idea of spending 12-15 hours in a bus wasn't good either. I asked my Indian colleagues and they told me there will be extra tickets on sale two days before departure. These are the ones from the "tatkal quota". In India all trains have different quotas: general, ladies, foreign tourist, defense, ... and tatkal.

Tatkal is meant for a emergency and therefore is sold two days before departure only and it has an additional fee. Even with additional fee, all tickets are sold out within an hour!! The sale starts at 8:00 am and the system is so slow (because of the people booking) that it's difficult to get through. Indeed I wasn't able to book the ticket myself, I had to ask Suresh to do it for me and he spent around 30min.Well, this time I got the "right" class 3rd AC. for other trains I don't mind the sleeper class, but this time will be a journey of 12hours from 17:00 to 5:00, so AC is better :)    

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Hampi: temple marathon

Hampi is a Unesco worl heritage site on the south bank of the Tungabhadra river, Hampi boasts the evocative ruins of Vijayanagar or the "City of Victory". The capital of three generations of Hindu rulers for more than 200 years, Hampi reached its zenith under Krishnadeva Raya (r.1510-29) and Achyuta Raya (r.1529 - 42). The site comprises the Sacred and Royal center and hosts 83 temples/sights!!

Although Hampi is quite small, it takes at least three days to see everything. I thought three days would be more than enough, but I couldn't be more wrong. I covered the mayor temples and left many things behind. I mean it's possible to see everything in three days, but it's just not enjoyable. The other atraction of Hampi is the tranquility. Unlike in other Indian places, there's no rush here, no trafic, the times goes slow and there're many places to chilled-out. 

I'll continue tomorrow, but here are some pictures: Hampi. Enjoy!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Back in Bangalore

I just arrived in the hotel and after a shower and breakfast, I'll go to the office. The weekend was awesome and I have a lot of pictures. But they will have to wait until tonight (my laptop is in the office)

Friday, 22 April 2011

Happy birthday, Anka!!

Thursday our Indian colleagues had a surprise for Anka: a birthday cake and a kurti.

In Hampi

After a long day of visiting temples, I'm just chilling out with a kingfisher. Here is hot, very hot and none of the guesthouses have AC, I'll have to sleep with just a fan. Hopefully there're no many power cuts tonight. What a difference between bangalore and here.

But first about the experience in a sleeper class. It wasn't that bad and the seat I thought it the worse, it turned to be the best (at least for me). The lower berth has teh window, so I let teh window open for the whole trip. At the beginning I had to close the second window because it was raining and water was coming inside, once it stopped, both windows were open. Likely I could sleep almost the whole night.

The adventure of yesterday was to get to the train station, just 10min before I left it started raining and all rickshaws were either with a client or not willing to go to the station (too much traffic jumps). Also the busses were crowded and the ones to teh station didn't stop. I was starting to get nervous, so I had to beg a bus driver to open the door (putting my hands like for "namaste") and it did worked. He opened the door for me and I got in time in the station :)

I don't know yet what i'll do tomorrow, but for sure I'll visit more temples. I was thinking about renting a bike. Depends on how hot is tomorrow.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

7 in a swift

Today Janardhan and Mahesh have invited the whole team for lunch. Jana for his farewell and Mahesh for his wedding. As most of the team members have a cab driver, we had to fit seven of us in a swift. You might compare this with the “six in a swift” from Mikonos, well we put the tallest one on the steer and the four little Indian women with me in the back. We would have been able to take one more ;)

The food was again a buffet, and again I ate too much. So much that I just had some pineapple as dinner, as I don’t want to spend half day in the toilet. Well my “record” so far is 7 times in a day, well it was after the huge dinner of Friday. I should remember this: “you shit, what you eat” ;)

SL means SLeeper class!!!

I was really happy to had tickets for Hampi, even more because I thought I had 3rd AC class. But my tickets are for the sleeper class!!! I was wondering why the tickets were so cheap and yesterday I checked the tickets with Swati and realized that I got the wrong class. During lunch time she and Yogesh were thinking what to do in order to get other tickets, like buy a tatkal ticket. If you have an "emergency", you can buy this ticket 1 or 2 days before departure (you have to pay 200 rupees extra).

At the end, I just said I'm going to give it a try. As the train is during night, no more people than those who booked a berth are allowed (I hope) :)

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

?ME..What else?

I haven’t written for a while, mainly because I had no time and I was (still am) very tired, but also because I wanted to give my impressions the chance to settle and become a bit more consistent.

A far cry from when I wrote I love it I love it…it is very interesting to see Sere’s enthusiasm so different from what I feel – of course not the same things make different people tick – so nothing unusual about this. If you have the patience to read this rant (it will be a rant) don’t brush this off on account of our age difference (20 years)…

So, in short, after a few days here, I totally lost interest in almost anything else bar having to go to work do the KT and come back and I’m rapidly losing interest in that one too. Spending time with Sere and listening to her experiences, hear about her battling with the crowds, busses, temple queues, playing Russian roulette crossing the street and, looking at her photos provide a wonderful and very enjoyable escape from it all and this is a thing I haven’t lost interest in. The food I had was quite good but for the last three days I only enjoyed toast with marmite, laughing cow cheese, tomatoes and fruit. Incredibly mouth watering fruit.

As I don’t know who will read this I’ll keep it clean and not mention more than once the ring sting after Indian food or the fact that it would be a sound business idea to collect the gasses we produce (not in public I might add – after all we are ladies of a certain standard) and sell them to GASUNIE for a profit

So, on Saturday when Sere went to Mysore, not going to comment on the name, I attempted to visit a mall (in line with what a shopaholic should do when visiting a new city) and go to chill and find peace, or maybe myself (about time) to Isckon Temple. Taxi picked me up and literally elbowed it’s wings through the streets for one hour before reaching the gigantic eye sore (my sore really) mall. I spotted on the ground floor Spar (a huge one) and full of expectation went in. The crowds unimaginable…took 45 mins to buy tomatoes, gouda (expected to find Cheddar as after all India was part of the British Empire, but none was to be found) and guess what….to my complete surprise a chilled cabinet full of Lindt chocolate. And what an array of Lindt varieties…can’t even find some of them in Holland. Switzerland eat your heart out!

After that I needed a pee, immense queue at the toilets, so had to abandon choosing to risk an embarrassing event..Soooo soooo many people pushing around you that I lost all interest in shopping or even looking. The mall has 4 floors, fairly clean and modern, but the noise was maddening. I had to ask the taxi guy to come to my rescue and thought I’ll go back to the hotel to my lovely bathroom and then, after freshening up get ready for my trip to the temple. After another 1/2h of my taxi weaving through traffic, trying to avoid knocking off motor bikes holding 2 adults and many kids, exhausted and totally disappointed in the shopping experience and the fact that I still had rupees in my purse, I found out that the queues at the temple are min 1.5h long. I had no choice but to seek spiritual enlightenment in my bed with an episode of Frasier. Eureka didn’t happen but a headache did and that killed my entire weekend.

Monday at work – it smelled and some smelled. The sweet smell of whatever they spray to take away the smells (not dissimilar to Las Ramblas in Barcelona or Venice only with the minor difference that there you could hide in a wonderful café and smell coffee or hot chocolate instead) only made it worse.

This is a city where you have to look up, not to look at architecture or stretch your head to admire sky scrapers, but merely to avoid looking at human misery. Little dirty huts from where people try to make a living, out of anything like ripped old tires or knocked about helmets (I did consider to buy one for Jelmer to go with his Czech byke) are strewn amongst rubble and fairly nice houses and rubbish. I feel most sorry for the stray dogs roaming through the streets. This is not a city where people can’t find jobs though, if they wanted to, plenty construction work or cleaning to do, and yet, you see people laying on the pavement in a booze or drug fuelled daze. They have no pride in this place. The billboards advertising posh Indian wedding attire or gold laced with diamonds and precious stones or shops ladden with goods for wealthy foreigners does not much to inspire them. It has a lot of potential and Indians if they are to be judged by the ones I know, are hard workers and renowned for their entrepreneurial skills so how can this place be such a mess. I know though that extreme poverty makes people concentrate on very basic survival needs

Not inviting, in spite of cutesy little temples kitschly decorated but nonetheless charming, in spite of it’s vitality...in spite of some very lovely people. I know next to nothing about their culture so I'm not judging, it's what I feel

Returned to the room ready for my toast milk and coke (the drink) which I ordered from room service only to find out when it got delivered by a new waiter, not used to my generosity, that he can’t add it to the bill as it’s not billable and needs to be paid for in cash and no receipt can be given. So I paid him the huge sum of 170 rupees (other waiters are used to my giving them on occasions not much less than that - time to clarify it doesn’t come out of the CG budget for KT this year) and, with great satisfaction complained about him to his boss. In general people are nice but I think most are out to get you.

And now sitting on the balcony, with a cig burning on the ashtray and a cup of Horlicks, under the beautiful coconut tree with it’s leaves rustling in the gently breeze, sounding like rain, soothing, I feel drawn to this place and it's people. I'd like to understand IT and why I feel the way I do about it. Will I miss it? Will I want to come back?

Monday, 18 April 2011

Bindi, kurti and buses

Bindi, kurti and buses are probably the three things a turist will experience in India after some time. The bindi is the "dot" between the eyebronws. This area is said to be the sixth chakra, the seat of "concealed wisdom". According to followers of Hinduism, this chakra is the exit point for kundali energy. The bindi is said to retain energy and strengthen concentration. It is also said to protect against demons or bad luck.

A common misconception about the bindi in the western world is that only married Hindu women wear red bindis as a symbol of wedlock. Nowadays bindis are worn by women of many religious. The colour red represents honor, love and prosperity, but many other colours are used as well. If you go to the market, you will see the pyramids with the powders in any color you could imagine.

In this trip, I got my first bindi in the chamundi temple, on the top of the hill of the same name in Mysore. And I got the second one in the Bangalore city market. I consider this one special, as I was taking pictures of the powders in one of the many stands in the market and the seller asked me where I was coming from and if I liked India. After a small chat, he asked me to come closer and he put me the bindi. I was surprised and I thought he probably wanted to sell me something. I couldn't be more wrong. He packed some powder in a paper and gave it to me as a present. I even tried to pay, but he insists on giving it to me as a present :)

Some people would think it’s just a casualty, but the powder he gave me was the same colour as the kurti I had bought just a couple of hours before. Amazing!!

What’s a kurti? It’s the short version of a kurta and one of the traditional cloths in India. It is a loose shirt falling either just above or somewhere below the knees of the wearer, and is worn by both men and women. They were traditionally worn with loose-fitting paijama (kurta-paijama), loose-fitting salwars, tight-fitting churidars, or wrapped-around dhotis, but are now also worn with jeans. Kurtas are worn both as casual everyday wear and as formal dress.

Today both of us went to the office wearing a kurti. At the beginning we hadn’t big reactions, as they see it as normal. Afterwards everyone commented how nice we look in the kurti. I have to admit, it’s not only looking good, but also very comfortable. I think we’re going to buy some more for sure :) 

Last experience of the weekend was taking the regular bus rather than a rickshaw. In my first try I wanted to get to the city market from the botanical gardens. I first asked and someone told me that any bus would go there. I just took the first bus without asking further. When the “ticket boy” reached me (it was quite crowded), I said I want to go to the market, he looked strange and another passenger told me that I had to change. A second passenger told me to follow him because he was going to the market. The second bus was quite on a hurry and it didn’t properly stop. So I had to step in on the way. For going back, I asked the ticket boy before stepping in. In the market it’s easier, as it’s the first stop and buses wait for a while. I asked for “residency road” as my street is one way. Well there’re many one way roads in Bangalore, depending if I’m coming from the north of from the south, I asked to go either to residency road or Richmond road (our apartments are almost at the end of Richmond road). The bus had a strange route, but it did stop in residency road. I was very proud of myself ;)

So many impressions and not enough time to write - so that it is all fresh in my mind I'll try do it tonight. Thinking of and missing all our followers, particularly Bruce Willis

Made in India

A picture says more than 1000 words :)

"These were just the starters!!"

Last Friday we went for dinner with our Indian colleagues and their wifes and daughters (Sujatha is married as well but her husband and son couldn't join us). We went to a place called "Barbeque Nation". There is a grill in the table in which you make your own food. There were many things: sweet corn, champignons, chicken, prawns, potatoes, and everything was DELICIOUS!!! Beside the grill, the waiters came every minute with a lot of different things. After two full plates (I was ready for the dessert by then), Sudipto told me "these were just the starters, the mains are over there!". Furthermore there were also a lot of desserts I had to try ;) but not only the food was good, also the company was lovely.


Thursday, 14 April 2011

food and photography

Here I am, preparing my food for a picture. This has became a daily routine :)
I wake up around 6:30-7:00 and go to the gym for at least 30min, afterwards I meet Anka at the terrace to have breakfast together. Every day I take sweet lassi and lots of fresh fruits (like pineapple, papaya, melon, water melon, uhmmm....), and as a regard for the gym one or two pieces of Indian snacks.

Breakfast is the time of the day we enjoyed most. It's difficult to get used to the working hours here. Our driver, Anbu, picks up us around 11am. It takes almost 40min to get to the office, even we are not in the peak hour!! After something more than one hour, it's lunch time!! Around 14, we start with the KT sessions, which keep us busy the whole evening. We leave the office around 20 and by the time we get to the hotel, we have to eat quickly in order to go to bed at a "decent" time.

Be prepared, more posts about food are on the way :)

Anka's first rickshaw

Last Saturday I took Anka for a walk, from our hotel to MG Road. Before coming she said she wouldn't take a rickshaw, but after an exhausting walk and a lot of bags to carry, she was to happy to take one ;) Indeed she enjoyed it a lot.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

to be read when stressed met bakie (sorry for spelling)

I love it, I don’t love it, I love it…the ones who will read this know I’m fickle..yesterday I hated it today I love it, gosh so many mixed feelings, let me regroup and think again…I love it (now at least – it’s all about the moment and maybe a bit about the ½ glass of wine that Sere just poured (I’m not a drinker so it’s working fast) We are both on the bed in my room typing furiously for you to share with us or rather for us to share with you. Last night Bloody awful night, air con on my back, upset by little g formerly known as big g, never to be known as big g again, shut eye for 3h thanks to a valium..admittedly though, a bit of Dutch brown specialty would have sorted me out better in such an emergency but, of course, no chance of that – yes Mario, didn’t bring any of course, I took your advice like any mother should do. Morning Whilst Sere did the healthy stuff – gym, I had a fag or two or more as I can’t really smoke during the day as the smoking area is miles away out the campus and I needed to make sure I’ve plenty nicotine in my body to last for a few hours. Ahh, my Indian fav waiter, Venu, on duty in the morn prepared me fresh coffee (not the one from the can available to the less generous guests) and waited for Sere basking in the sun at the table by the pool – cold in Holland? Jealous yet? Breakfast awesome – melon, papaya, cereal and lassi. Sere energized by the workout in the gym and fueled by a similar breakfast plus some Indian goodies took us on a trek to the supermarket – battling through fumes and dust and passing by sad dogs (which break my heart) trying with each step to avoid Mark having to collect the money from my life insurance. Did not return to the room in a good mood but with plenty fruit and water. Getting ready to go to work This was a hard one today. Working hours here are weird – we start at 12 and finish after 20:00, not ideal for a morning person who functions best at 6AM but I was looking forward to get to the office as everyone there is sooo nice. I’m very impressed with the quality of the team and not biased even though I have every reason to be as they treat me like their mother which in any other circumstances would have upset me, but on this occasion it’s good as they always offer to carry my bags and I’m not ashamed to let them like I am when Mark carries them into the office and I have to quickly get the out of his hands when I spot someone walking up the stairs with us…. In the office. First meet – Sudipto, lovely guy, very clever and spiritual, guy on my wave length, I wish I was as good a person as he is – set the agenda for the day. Next Suvendu also very nice, talking documentation, after Remy also documentation – no comment here as I want to keep this note nice, next, training sess with the whole team – history of xDAP and xCE, CL, what is our business and what is the selling process, COMBIs BOMs and sales with a couple of pineapple slices in between (beautifully cut by Sere this morn) as skipped lunch and through all that, taking great pleasure in seeing the guys not only understanding everything but also enjoying the sweets I brought from Holland and UK. I’m impressed – they know their way not only through BW but also R3. Session very intense but got a lot of satisfaction out of it as, they didn’t seem to be bored and asked the right questions – in short the lights were on and they were there. I was a bit surprised when they told me that they have recorded what I was saying. Luckily I kept it all clean +/- the occasional muffled bugger which I stopped before it got to ger. So no Fs so far. Jana has become a man – quite nice to see how this guy has grown and matured over the past years – a far cry from when Paula used to get so mad at him for not being able to take things in. I’m sure he will have a great future – shame he is leaving After work Stopped and bought more amazing fruits. Home after 45 mins, cig on the balcony then eating with Sere. She had salad and toast and some Indian sweet and I managed to convince her to try baked beans and peeled (of course) tomato on toast which is what I had. Don’t think it was for her Spanish evolved palate so I stopped pushing her to eat more. I enjoyed it. Then we both sat on the bed and started writing about our daily experiences with a glass of wine. I’m now ready to sleep. If you read up to here I wish you sweet dreams of chilled places. Missing you. Arjen, thanks for your lovely sametime today. I want to stay here and I want to be home. Mark Jan, you should have been with us! I so hate you’re leaving

Food: Indian breakfast (I)

We've been just three days in India, but we've tried already a lot of different food. I'll start with breakfast, as I might not have Indian breakfast frequently. It's too spicy and fatty ;) I had it when we arrived as I was really hungry and felling like having dinner rather than breakfast. Every day I take one piece of some of the Indian stuff. Here are some items:

medu vada - also known as wada or vade or vadai, made of from dal, flour of potato. This one had black peppers inside, not really my taste for breakfast.

Aloo paratha - this one is so far my favourite, it's whole wheat bread, stuffed with mashed potatoes and peas, cooked on a grill with butter. Besides that it contains cumin seeds and coriander. I eat it with chutney, very tasty!!!


Tomato & coconut chutney, both are spicy but if you eat them normally with bread. If I have breakfast early, I cannot it them.

Chikoo - or something similar: we asked the hotel employees about its name but they didn't know how to spell it. This morning I saw it in the supermarket but I have forgotten the name, I think it was something like "potato apple". It has a very intense taste: sweet and hot at the same time, with some cinnamon touch in the middle, very unique!!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

First day Bangalore

I love it! I love it! I'm a snob (not embarrassed about it at all) used to the best and not used to roughing it...like clean cities with beautiful architecture, shops that have my name above the door and throw beautiful things at me, and comfortable hotels ahhh and I like to be driven everywhere unless I'm walking through a beautiful city or chilled country side or seaside. I like to be pampered and people to cater to my whims...not to mention good restaurants - never thought Bangalore will meet any of the above but....IT DOES, strip it of the dust and shacks, make the roads easier to cross, put a couple of bins around and of course have Sherezade guide you and it's nothing but incredible. So, hotel is amazing, cool and trendy, European boutique hotels where I usually stay you are put to shame for charging $$$$$$ people working here are most accommodating and friendly well, give a rupee or two. Food is out of this world and plenty of it. Heat is enveloping one in a comforting soft silky wrap. Architecture, whenever there is a building deserving to be deamed as architecture, is nice, interesting, eclectic not much sign of the British other than Marks and Spencer offering cheap and good quality knickers. I was dreaming of having one of their most delicious lusting after cheese cakes but sadly no food hall. So we ate no cakes but, we made up for it with savouries again, lots and lots of. My biggest achievement of the day was keeping (or trying to keep) up with Sere which is a bit like a Lada keeping up with a Zonza R - not that I look like a Lada but make up your own mind when you look at the pics.

Forgot to say, yesterday we had a surprise visitor - very lovely Tenzin came to see us and take us out. Didn't know that chicken chow main ?! was anything else other than chinese for the English delicate unadventurous palate - I was wrong, it is a traditional Tibetan dish, tasty with a dash of chilly - this is what we had for dinner with Tenzin.

Thinking of food, brings me to the shitting forecast- after carrying a suitcase full of diahorea tabs the food is so good and clean the visits to the toilet are most uneventful.

On another note, who needs a Merc as a taxi when they can have a rickshaw. Sere expert haggler made sure we move around town in no time and at virtually no cost (other than a few blisters from walking and bum pain from the rickshaw treating the speed bumps like a smooth baby bottom. All great great fun

Work tomorrow but I'm sure the day will be fun as lots of nice people to meet. Missing my boys and girls both humans and pets. Mario, your whimpy mother is doing great and is having the time of her life. I love you guys and miss you heaps and had you all had been here it would have been perfect. Sharing things with you guys is what I miss most. Now sleep

How to make us happy :)

We have spent the day out, walking and shopping around.

Anka has found her place here. Not only shopping around, but also in the hotel. While sitting in her terrace (I don't have one), the housekeeping personal come to bring/take things like coffee or her laundry, repair the internet, ... Today after we came back she asked to have someone to get us some groceries (it's really hard to find a supermarket around here). Two minutes later she had someone listening carefully to her wishes while she was writing the list. Well we'll see how carefully he listened when he is back with our dinner. At least he was asking about details like "which kind of ...? How much..?" I have to say that all the personal is at your service here and they take care you don't miss anything. During breakfast before you turn to ask for coffee, they're already half way to you with it. At the entrance, the security man opens and closes the door for you. Once he didn't see me coming and when he realized, he even run to open it :)
I'm also happy. I got my train tickets to Hampi for the weekend of eastern. I had to go to the train station and make use of the "foreign quota" though. I tried to buy them in internet, but the web wasn't working and the train is already fully booked. In India there's a lot of discrimination, and even sometimes positive: in the train station there're a lot of normal counters for everyone, and also two or three special counters, one for ladies, one for old people and one for disable and tourists or foreigns. The normal counters are always crowded, while counter for disable and tourist is empty, they sell to normal people when there are no "special" people around. That's why you get other people (normally males) around you, while you’re buying your tickets. By "around you" I mean almost pushing you out of the counter ;)

On the plane

Apart from the great pilot who flew us smoothly I've only got complaints about the flight. But then it wouldn't be me if I didn't! Murphy once again inforced his law. I had a middle seat - Sere on one side (nice and chilled) and on the other...can you guess? a fairly large Indian lady with....what? A 3MONTH OLD BABY. That stressed me immediatelly thinking screams screams screams but no, baby was OK as long as the mother kept tutting and she did tutt and tutt - not sure what would have been worse..2 valiums, 1 nitrazepam and 1 zopiclone later, desperately trying to shut eye all I could hear was her tutting. No new films to watch - seen them all already...OK, so eventually got used to the tutting applying the counting destressing technique but that was short lived as behind me a true brat imagining my seat was a footbal and he kicked and kicked putting Beckam to shame..and I was cold - to top it all spilt coffee on my blanket and when I went to get another one the BA stewardess told me to wash it as she hasn't got another one. True bitch void of politness but that is only another sign of UK going down the toilet. The flight was over and arrived in sunny Bangalore.

First day, first visitor

Just woke up, so it's seems I'm adjusted already (here was 6.30, in CET 03:00 in the morning), and probably Anka as well.

Yesterday we didn't do much. I went around looking for a supermarket, but I didn't find it and end up in a UB city mall. Afterwards we walked to MG Road, which is the shopping street. It wasn't that good. We found there a fancy supermarket, so we got there some groceries. Then we took a rickshaw and Anka really liked it (after the walk, she appreciated even more), now this will be our way of transport. It was just 20 rupees!! (35\ct)

In the evening we got our first visitor, Tenzin. He came unexpected and took us out for a couple of beers and dinner at Brigade Rd. Indeed we aren't far away from here, just 2-3km. This street together with church st seems to be the main one for going out. It looks like Khao San road in Bangkok: a lot of shops, restaurants and young people.

I think today I'll get a continental breakfast. Yesterday we tried the Indian one: dosas, coconut chutney, tomato chutney, chana masala... Then we're going to visit some touristic places.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

in Bangalore

We landed in Bangalore this morning. From a logistic view, it was good: flight on time (even landed 40min before the schedule), our cab was waiting for us and we checked in quickly in the hotel. But the journey was very long and even we had good seats, we didn't get any sleep.
I just slept two hours and tried the swimming pool. I'm starting to feeling better. Well, I haven't eaten so much here and I've been already three times to the toilet, does BA use indian water in the food to "help" you get it used to it ;)?  

By the way the hotel is just like the pictures on the internet.

view from my room

Friday, 8 April 2011

Waiting for Anka

Surprisingly I could sleep very well last night. I woke up at 5 though, but managed to sleep again until 6. The day will be long enough. Now I'm ready, just waiting for Anka to pick me up. She just called me to say she is on the way :)

checked in!

As good frequent travellers, we checked in as soon as the online check in opened. Indeed I have "Seq. No. 002", which means I was the second one :) We got good seats: emergency exit in both flights.

Ready to take off!!! :)

Monday, 4 April 2011

Counting down: 5 days

My luggage is packed!  Even though I'm going for a business trip (and one week or holidays), I'm taking my backpack. It's better than a trolley: it's a cool backpack. It has two separate compartiments (they can be put toguether too), in the lowest one I always carry shoes, and in the biggest one, I carry my cloths. It can be open from the side in the same way as a normal trolley, unlikely the normal backpacks, in which the openning is in the top. 
It can be carried as a backpack or as a normal bag: very convinient for the flight.

Here is everything I'll take for a month:
- 8 pants (3 longs, 4x3/4, 1 short)
- 4 bluses
- 9 T-shirts
- underwear & bikini
- sport shoes & flip-flops
- toilet bag & suncream & moskito repelent
Do you think it's a lot? Its weight is just 10 kilos!

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Counting down: 1 week

My luggage is almost ready, tomorrow I'll go shopping with Anka to buy the last things. At home I've been looking for and trying on my summer cloths. Most of them fit me well, but for a few I started a "3-weeks-summer-plan" consisting on a diet low in carbohydrates and lots of sports (4-5 times a week). After two weeks the results are paying off the effort ;) 

Looking for my travel cloths, I even found my "India-T-shirt". It's not only funny, but also useful: I can just point at it, if someone wants something from me. "No one ruppe, no problem!!"

No problem!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Counting down: 2 weeks

We're leaving in two weeks and mayor things (visa and flight) are arranged, now it's time for the a health check: dentist, vaccinations and other drugs.

My appointment with the dentist is made for next week and yesterday I got the typhus vaccination, although I didn't think I really nedeed. The vaccination lasts for three years and my last one was on August 2008, but as we say in Spain "mas vale prevenir que curar".

Now I'm preparing my "pharmaceuticals travel kit", well just replacing the ones which expired. I got the kit from Laura, one of my travel fellows in India, when she was going back to Spain (and I was staying in India alone for almost 3 weeks). Since then this little bag has travelled a lot: Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, South Africa, ... Even if it seems like a huge amount of drugs, they perfectly fit in the bag.

Things which should be always in your kit:
  • Sterile kit including needles, syringes and suture kit
  • scissors, band-aids, tape, bandages, safety pins, antiseptic (betadine),
  • anti-diarrhoeals (Loperamide), antibiotics for diarrhoea (Ciprofloxacin) and oral rehydration solution (Gastrolyte)
  • paracetamol, ibuprofen
  • Antibacterial cream, purified water

Friday, 25 March 2011

India, here I go again..

After almost a month I got my business visa for India, it's not that easy to get one if you are not Dutch. I had to go in person to the Indian Embassy in Den Haag. They said for a "personal interview", but I found it was just to waste my time: after witing for almost 40 minutes, someone just asked me three questions and answered himself by reading the papers :( 

Last time I had no issues, probably because it was a turist visa and I applied in Spain. Even if I wasn't living there at that time, no one asked for a proof of residence.

Whatever!! I got my passport including visa back and we have already booked the flights.

Almost ready to leave!!!