Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

growing up

Saturday, December 10th, 2005

I just realized that I’m 33 1/2 today. Whoo.

A few things happened today, mostly centered around our upcoming trip to the UK. I think we have a lot of our London time sorted, and I just booked tickets for us to go from Aberdeen to Edinburgh on the train, which was surprisingly reasonable and certainly way cheaper than hiring a car, paying for gas and the hassle of parking. I hope Toby’s going to enjoy it.

Speaking of Tobes, he’s been having fun this evening with Lauren and Sam, who are here for a sleepover. Emma’s with them right now, trying to get them to sleep, and it sounds very quiet so far. I hope they sleep OK.

home again

Friday, October 28th, 2005

Got back from Atlanta last night. Toby and Emma were at the airport to meet me which was great. Toby gives a good hug. The flight was actually very good – my first time on Delta. When we were getting going the pilot came on the intercom: “Thank you ladies and gentlemen for choosing us as your bankrupt airline today. We know you have a choice of bankrupt airlines, so we’re happy that you think we’re the best of the broke.”

Today it’s dress-up day at Toby’s school. We got him a Buzz Lightyear costume, and the day it arrived he loved it and wore it all evening. However this morning he didn’t want to wear it at all and was very upset. He seemed in an odd mood anyway. So I’m not sure what the deal was but after about 20 minutes at school he appeared to relax and enjoy being a space ranger.


Wednesday, October 26th, 2005

I’m in Atlanta right now on a work trip which is hard work but hopefully going to be useful and kind of fun. Toby seemed to be better than usual about me doing this when I told him on Monday. I hope he doesn’t have to get too used to this. Last night Emma had a class meeting for her course, and our friend Arwen babysat Toby. Apparently he was asleep by 7:50 which is about 2 hours earlier than he goes to sleep for us.


Monday, September 12th, 2005

In the interests of completeness I have posted a few final pictures of my India trip – you can see them at this link.

Incidentally it’s really annoying that Safari doesn’t have all the same buttons on the toolbar in Blogger as every other browser, including the add link button.

Not pictured in this series is anything to do with my epic 36 hour journey home, including the heat, stink and general grottiness of Mumbai airport where I had four hours to hang around in the middle of the night. About half an hour of this was spent standing in sweltering heat waiting for the bus to transfer from the domestic to international terminals. It was pretty nasty, but kind of cool in an I can survive funky international travel experiences kind of way. Also had a long layover in Amsterdam airport, where I sat and watched Lord of the Rings on my little DVD player. Then we got on the plane and sat for about 2 hours while they found and tried to fix an electrical fault on the plane, then we had to get off and get on a different plane. At least they found the problem while we were on the ground.

It was great to get home, apart from hardly being able to read Toby’s story books that night. He got annoyed with me because the wrong words kept coming out of my mouth. Also culture shock going to church was more powerful than I expected – everyone was so scrubbed and clean and well fed.

Back to work and really really busy, which is why I haven’t posted until now.

winding down

Thursday, September 1st, 2005

So today is my last full day in India, for now anyway. From a work point of view we ended up really well, getting some great people to hire – really excellent. From a getting out and seeing the place point of view however I’m winding down somewhat. I wanted to scout around some of the shopping areas but by lunchtime today I was feeling really rough, achy and in need of lying down. Bob, who is here working with me, had the same thing yesterday, took a couple of antibiotics and felt way better, so I came back to the hotel to do the same thing. I’m feeling not nearly so bad now but still a bit wiped. I think it’s a combination of working hard, the food, the time difference and maybe even a bit of culture shock. So anyway I’m just going to lie low tonight and hopefully be well refreshed for the long plane rides home tomorrow. Can’t wait to get back to Emma and Toby, that’s for sure.

new photos

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

Because I’m a saddo and have nothing better to do I’ve put a bunch of photos up. Here’s a bunch of great new pics of Toby and here are a few more of India – Bangalore specifically. Hope you like them.

Update: Just found out that I have to give someone a phone interview at 11pm. I wish I’d known that before I’d had those two beers. Room service biryani was excellent too.


Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

It’s our company’s policy that if you’re away for more than three days for business it’s OK to expense getting laundry done in a hotel, and I was running low on clean clothes so thought I should get some done. It’s quite reasonably priced in this hotel, plus I spilled some curry on my sleeve last night. When I handed in the shirts and t shirts I checked the box on the laundry form asking for it all to be folded, rather than coming back on hangers, because it’ll make it easier to get packed if I don’t get around to wearing something before I go back. So my stuff was delivered to my room tonight on a wicker tray, all stacked up and with an orchid flower on top:

Everything is immaculately ironed and folded so will indeed be easy to put in my case – for the first time ever I might not mind packing. I could get used to this. Also each article is in an individual kind of fabric bag which has a label on the front: EcoTaj – 100% biodegradable.

service, continued

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that the service is very good indeed here, at least when you’re at good hotels and restaurants. I’ll amend that slightly – it is indeed very good but in some ways is somewhat stressful. I think it’s because it’s almost like going back in time to having like a servant class. Here’s an example:

Last night Bob (another manager who is here to hire people) and I went out for dinner to a place which had been highly recommended as having very good Indian coastal cuisine. It really was damn good – I had Goan fish curry which was outstandingly delicious. When we got there we saw the outdoor patio which was surrounded by palm trees, banana plants and tons of other plants which back home you only see in conservatories or greenhouses. Very nice. However the fumigator guys were out with their smoke/chemical machines getting rid of mosquitos so the whole place was in a fog. We sat inside for a bit till the air cleared, then went out to have a couple of drinks and starters – also very good. When we were ready to move back in to have proper food I made the huge faux pas of carrying my own beer glass – the waiter seemed very agitated that I was doing this and fussed around me. Later Bob wanted some more rice from our rice bowl and was about to reach over to get some when I reminded him that we should have the waiter do it, so I called over the waiter so he could spoon the rice onto Bob’s place. The waiter seemed overjoyed to be of such service.

Then tonight I had to go down and sign a form for my driver to say that he was done for the night. He’s a decent seeming guy, and possibly the best driver in the world, getting us through the mad traffic. However he seems uncomfortable if we’re too friendly with him and doesn’t seem to know what to do when I say “have a good evening”. It feels a bit odd.

Yesterday at the office I was speaking with a younger guy who has been working as an admin assistant for the last few months, between finishing school and starting an MBA. He’s super-keen and does everything he can to get things right. I noticed he had a nice pendant on his necklace of Ganesh, the Hindu god who has an elephant’s head. I said that it was a cool Ganesh pendant and he was just thrilled: “Oh, Mr Andrew how do you know about Ganesh?”. I told him that I had read things, and also there are a lot of statues of Ganesh at the Prince of Wales museum in Mumbai, and in the audio tour there was a lot of information about him, including how he got his Elephant head. Vinay said “Oh Mr Andrew you are a very good man sir” which isn’t really true, but I guess I pay attention sometimes.

beware the salad

Monday, August 29th, 2005

After a long trip and day and not much sleep last night, followed by a busy day at the office today and a crazy car ride home I didn’t feel like going out tonight – just need to recharge. So I got a delicious potato curry and naan from room service. I’d been warned about eating salads here, due to the fact that the water in which salad leaves are washed can be less than sanitary which leaves the nasties on the leaves. There was a little salad with the room service food, and I thought what the hey it’s a nice hotel, how bad can it be. So I picked up a green bean from the top of the little salad bowl and popped it in my mouth. Interesting seasoning I thought, a spicy dressing – Oh my god it’s a raw green chili. I’m OK though.

Now I’m about to shut off the computer and go to bed. There’s a rather boring documentary on TV about Churchill (although here’s his personal secretary saying he didn’t have a problem with drink – he just had a couple of whiskies with soda after breakfast, oh nothing much, a half bottle of champagne too, then after lunch a little couple of goblets of brandy, then whatever then whiskies and soda till bedtime), spiced up somewhat by the ad breaks. My favorite so far is an ad for flavored Tetley tea bags with a guy shouting excitedly in foreign followed by a picture of a smiling man with a beard, a cup of Tetley tea and what looks like a rifle over his shoulder. The tagline “Chai me life, Spice me life”.


Monday, August 29th, 2005

Not as easy as I’d hoped – it seemed that I couldn’t upload the photos from the office, but I’m plugged into the hotel’s network now so have uploaded a whole bunch of India photos for your enjoyment. Hope you like them.