ATWIED: Stage 3

07.31.08 | Permalink | 1 Comment

Stage three of around the world in eight days

Well, I’m in the 3 stage of the trip around the world in eight days. This evening finds me in Delhi, India – the capital of the world’s largest democracy. This is a bustling metropolis of over 17 MILLION people, making Bangalore look quaint with its mere 5 million inhabitants….Thus far, we’ve managed to attempt to check in at the wrong hotel, the ITC Sheraton instead of the ITC Sheraton – you’re confused and think I’ve made a typo? Nope, that’s just it. The hotel varies by district vs. hotel name. It’s an important lesson to be very specific about where you want to go particularly when Hindi is not your second language.

Before popping on the plane to head up here from Bangalore, I was able to tour the palace in that city which was commissioned by the Maharaja of Mysore, Chamaraja Wadiyar (who already had a palace in Mysore.) Apparently, his other two wives lived in this palace, one of whom was native Chinese and had a hand in decoration which explains some of the eclectic choices mixing Chinese and Indian culture. There were great photos all over the palace and some pretty interesting decoration choices too like taxidermy of elephant’s feet used as bar stools…I have a couple of pictures, but am unable to unlock them from my phone at present.

While the trip has been productive and fun, I do miss home and my family. I can’t lie, I’m ready to head home tomorrow evening.


Ghagra Choli

07.30.08 | Permalink | 1 Comment
Ghagra Choli
Garden Variety Ghagra Choli

Before I departed on this trip my daughter informed me that she wanted something pretty and special from India. The thought that popped into my mind is that a sari might be just the thing. While discussing this with colleagues in the office, an alternate suggestion was floated that a Ghagra Choli might be just the thing since saris require all sorts of accessories and are difficult to configure on small girls. This colleague called his wife who suggested he call his sister-in-law who came up with the suggestion – above and beyond the call of duty!

With suggestion in hand I ventured out to MG Road to one of the local merchants to acquire the item and what an adventure that was. Even for Bangalore, the traffic was pretty bad. However, victory was had in the end and my daughter will have a beautiful Ghagra Choli to wear. If she gets half as much enjoyment out of this as she did her Chinese pajamas, it will be a success.

One of the great things about India is the kindness of people – I’ve yet to run into a person who wasn’t kind in all sorts of situations where kindness might not be the first instinct. This has been a very effective trip on the work front, but it has also been very satisfying personally.


Bangalore Traffic

07.28.08 | Permalink | Comments Off on Bangalore Traffic

The short video above shows one of the more sedate traffic sessions in Bangalore, if I’d had a video camera with me this evening I could have shown a much more lively scene. Come to think of it, here’s one from another Indian city, Hyderabad, where the camera operator crosses the road. The thing that’s most amazing is that there don’t seem to be too many accidents; and I’ve only seen two traffic lights in my time in the city. Impressive!


ATWIED: Stage 2

07.27.08 | Permalink | 2 Comments

Around the World in Eight Days: Stage 2 India

I arrived at my hotel in Bangalore Monday morning 2am local time (Hey, what is it with this arrival time? There seems to be a pattern developing…) The city is in a turmoil from the recent bombings with more happening in Ahmedabad and more devices discovered, and thankfully disarmed in Surat over the past couple of days. For all that, the most dangerous part of the journey has indeed been the car portion. Let’s just say the traffic rules in this city are variable.

There was a hearty English breakfast buffet in the hotel this morning that wouldn’t have been out of place in any upscale London hotel. The rooms are very nice and clean. Then there is outside the hotel, it’s a completely different place. In the newspaper this morning I read a piece describing how the recent rainfall will help rural areas have 8-10 hours of electricity per day. While coming to the office, I saw a young man urinating into a gutter by a pile of rubble in front of a gated business selling cars.

The driver coming in asked me if I’d been to Niagara Falls, he’s something of a waterfall buff, and the proceeded to show me video of Jog Falls he’d taken on his phone, these are the highest falls in India at around 250m (830′), you learn something new every day….for your viewing pleasure, there is a short video of the falls below.


Live from Frankfurt am Main

07.27.08 | Permalink | Comments Off on Live from Frankfurt am Main

Photo of Frankfurt am Main
Frankfurt am Main July 27 2008

A few short weeks after leaving a certain enterprise application development company that caused me to visit the Frankfurt airport (Frankfurt am Main for those not in the know) I find myself waiting there for an airplane at nearly midnight Pacific time. The flight in from Boston wasn’t hateful (excepting the wino-windbag I had for a seatmate, literally, this guy was breaking wind and guzzling wine from Boston to Germany…and he was one smelly fellow.)

While on the airplane I watched two movies, 21 and The Other Boleyn Girl, I liked 21 as a popcorn-type movie and the Boleyn flick wasn’t my cup of tea despite having Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman in leading roles. Eric Bana as Henry didn’t help the movie, but to be fair, it wouldn’t have mattered. It was poorly conceived and executed from my perspective. The acting was hollow and the story was trite.

After arriving in Frankfurt, I had a breakfast of salty pretzels, veal sausages, sweet mustard, and weis bier (yes, I know it’s not Munich and I know it’s not Octoberfest, but what can I say? I’ve developed a taste for some German cuisine – wish I could find some Mettswurst…) Meanwhile, the gate information for my next flight to Bangalore hasn’t yet been posted, so I’m crashed at a gate with 300 of my closest friends waiting for things to sort themselves out.

There have been a few questions about safety since the bombs last week in Bangalore – I’m not worried for the record. The most dangerous part of this trip will be riding in the car from the new airport to the hotel – I’m looking forward to this visit, though I do miss my family dearly.

Update: This should read Live from FraPort instead of Frankfurt am Main, the train station! Travel haze sets in, what can I say?

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