Sunday, February 27, 2011

Docile dogs

I notice large numbers of dogs in the streets whenever we’re out: They’re so docile. Most of the time, they’re simply asleep on their side. They seem to ignore you & most people ignore them.

Pedestrian monkeys

We saw our first pack of monkeys wandering the streets today: we were heading to the Mughal Gardens (at the Presidential Palace grounds). Tania doesn’t particularly like them so we managed to give them a wide berth: even walking in the middle of the road at one point.

That’s okay...they were too busy foraging for food to care about us.

An observation on electricity poles

In the same taxi ride home from the shopping mall, I happened to glance up at a power pole. It looked like any normal power pole with a transformer at the top: the only difference was the 20 million lines running out of it going in all directions. A lot of those cables running out of the transformer looked decidedly unsafe & (probably) illegal.

I’m not sure what an Australian sparkie would say but I can guess...

The Kamikaze Tuk-Tuk driver

So..we’re in a taxi on our way home from the Sarket Shopping Mall (shopping malls make a good break from the chaos that is Delhi) & we’re approaching a set of traffic lights that are changing to red. As we slow down & the traffic with the green light starts creeping across the intersection, we hear the sounds of a tuk-tuk (to our left) at full revs. It then barrels past us into the mass of traffic streaming across the intersection: he either couldn’t be bothered stopping or couldn’t stop.

We watch , amazed, as he weaves his way through the traffic...not hitting anyone.

The things you see !!

The menagerie of street life that is Delhi

Well...I can safely say that I have now seen all forms of animal on the streets of Delhi: including peacocks (at the High Commission, they’re all called Andrew), camels & elephants

Some news on apartment

Well...we have some news about the apartment. The lease has been signed & we’ll (hopefully) be moving in next weekend. All our stuff from OZ probably won’t be here for another month so the apartment will be somewhat bare until then.
It has four bedrooms with four bathrooms & five toilets: plenty of toilets for when all the visitors come down with Delhi belly.
The photos below show the apartment as it currently looks (very bare) but don't worry...we're working on it & it's going to be amazing !!
This is the family room.

This will be the office space & study.
This wil be our room.

This is the back guest room

Here's the kitchen (sans oven...for the moment)

Here's the entrance hallyway.

Here's the lounge room

Sorry for a lack of posts

Hiya folks....sorry for not posting lately. I've been quite sick this last week (still some lingering affects that you really don't want to know about).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Monsoon Wedding

So....on Monday, Tania & I went to the wedding reception of the brother of one of my old house mates (Kyril from the Red Hill house). I still have no idea where the reception was just took a long time to get there in a taxi, in the middle of peak hour Delhi traffic. I think we may have actually left New Delhi & moved into the next provence. There was definitely a "we're not in Kansas anymore Toto" moment. I think we hit that point when the roads changed from “sealed” to potholes that even trucks were too scared to negotiate. The roads had to be seen to be believed.

Anyway...eventually...we managed to find our way to the reception. It was at a Hindu temple: they had set up the inner courtyard with a stage for the bride & groom to sit (elevated amongst the masses); a huge food banquet & tents around the sides.

The invitation said 7pm, so we naturally turned up on time. Big mistake: it soon became apparent that any times mentioned in an invitation to an Indian wedding are “just a guide”. To make matters worse...we were the first ones there & we were the only foreigners (ie: white folks) at this point.

That caused great amusement amongst the locals who kept staring at us: some of the local boys even took to (not so) surrepticiously taking photos of Tania (which was really starting to piss me off). was quite awkward for about 40 minutes. An older couple did turn up & tried to talk to us: we did get across the point that we’re from Australia but that was about it. It turns out that this couple were Kyril’s great-aunt & great-uncle.

Eventually...the bride & groom turned up (along with the familiar faces of Kyril & her husband Alan). They all looked stunning. It was also at this point, it started to rain so the bride & groom made their way into the temple to wait it out.

By this time, more & more people had started to turn up & the rain had stopped so the happy couple made their way to centre stage. They sat there while people came up to them to congratulate them & offer gifts.

It started to rain again & so the couple moved under one of the tents. The tents offered no real protection against the rain & it started to get quite heavy. We then had to move back into the temple.

While in the temple, a transformer outside blew (with a loud pop & shower of sparks), plunging the temple into darkness. All the while, people are massing, the hired help is moving the food onto tables out the front, moving chairs into the foyer for the guests & moving the bride & groom’s chair into the mass of people.

We had people coming up to us asking “Have you seen ‘Monsoon Wedding’ ??”. It seemed very appropriate.

We could only stay for a short time & so had to leave early: at least we got to spend some time with bridal party. Kyril’s Auntie & uncle only had time to see the set up of the venue before they had to catch a flight home to Tassie.

The taxi ride home was a cracker. We hopped in & quickly discovered that the taxi’s windscreen wipers weren’t working. Thankfully......the heavy rain held off but our driver had to hop out at every set of lights to wipe down the windscreen. He had two extra sets of eyes watching the road that night.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Shopping at the Mall

Yesterday, Tania & I went shopping at two of the malls here (Ansal Plaza & DLF at Vasant Kunj). malls are a bit of a novelty here in India & we're both curious to see what sort of shops they had. As it turns out, between the two malls, we managed to pick a lovely sari for Tania, a matching tie for me (we've got a wedding reception we're going to on Monday night), shoes to go with said sari & running shoes for Tania. We even managed to have a lovely Japanese meal at the DLF.

Driving to the malls, you got to see the smokey haze (ie: pollution) that seems to envelope New Delhi for most of the year. We read an article in the local paper today that said that 3,00 people die in Delhi every year as a result of the pollution. Guess where one of the worst areas is ?? On the ring road that runs right past our (potential) new place.

Oh joy !!

When is a chicken tenderloin not a chicken tenderloin ??

When you order a tenderloin burger at Claridges is the answer !!

I suppose I should've clicked that something wasn't quite right when room service calls me back & asks how I wanted my tenderloins cooked: medium or well done ?? It took a good 10 seconds for the brain to figure out what he was asking & I responded with a "well done". what I should have said was "well done & hold the salmonela please".

We waited with baited breath for my burger to turn up...not really sure what I was going to get. When the burger did turn up, the "tenderloins" looked suspiciously like a minced pattie.

Very weird !!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

An observation on Indian driving

Where the hell did these guys get their licence from ??

How can you have seven lanes of traffic in a three (sometimes two) lane road ?? I don't know but it somehow works here. Three of those lanes will generally be the tuk-tuks. And...that doesn't take into account people walking on the road, pushing trolleys or anything else for that matter. just seems to flow. The "magic arm" helps too: this is arm hanging out the window of whatever vehicle, that indicates "I'm going this not hit me".

Don't even get me started on roundabouts: they truly are a free-for-all.

Saying that, however, I can see method to the madness. No-one seems to drive faster than 50 kph. Any faster & you can't anticipate what the 20 million other cars on the road are going to do.

Doing it tough at Claridges

Hiya folks,
Settling in to Delhi: it's alot when you're staying at such a nice hotel.
We're here for a little while yet while the new apartment (literally) is sorted out.
Meanwhile...we're plotting room themes for our visitors (there'll be an Indian theme; possibly a middle-eastern theme & then maybe some other oriental theme). Watch space.
We can't really plot much until we get our diplomatic id: that then opens up a whole new world to us !!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Welcome to New Delhi

Hiya folks,

Well...I figured it was time that I actually put something in this post given that I'm now in India.

We arrived in Delhi last night (8th February) & boy was the drive from the airport a bit of an eye-opener !! Some interesting observations that I have to share:

There appears to be no concept of lanes when it comes to driving the streets. It seems to be a swelling mass of traffic that just seems to weave its way around each other (without hitting anything !!). It also seems to be obligatory to have your hand constantly on the horn. The day is filled with the sounds of horns blaring from everywhere.

Pedestrian crossings: use them at your own peril !! Firstly....there isn’t any ramp leading to the crossing...they just seem to have randomly chosen a place for a crossing & then have painted it on the road. If you want to actually use it...just walk out into the traffic....they’ll weave their way around you.

I saw my first sacred cow (two actually) this afternoon (the 9th) just kinda standing there by the side of the road, munching on some plastic bags.

I have seen my first beggars. I ignored the one last night (a woman with a baby) but I made the mistake of looking at the one this afternoon: it was a woman pushing a trolley with a man on it. He had most of his fingers missing, I’m sure one of his eyes was full of cataracts & I couldn’t stand to look at his legs. I’m going to see alot more of this here & I’m not sure I’m ever going to get used to that !!

We were stalked by a tuk-tuk driver this morning as we went for a walk to Khan markets. He just wouldn’t take no for an answer. We had another tuk-tuk driver stalk us but some “stern” words from Tania made him go away. Pity the other guy seemed oblivous to Tania's powers.

What is it with guys just standing by the side of the road here ?? Tania’s friend, Stef, had a term for these guys in the Middle East: he called them the “busy men”. Well Stef...they’ve got them here too. If they’re not taking a piss by the side of the road, they’re playing card games or just “hanging” out.

Tipping is the done thing here: you tip everyone it seems. That's going to take a little getting used to !!

We spent this afternoon looking at potential houses for Tania & I to live. The one that was being organised for us before we came over fell through...seems that someone else gazzumped us on that one. We looked at two places in Vasant Vihar (a suburb to the south west of the Australian High Commission) & we think we've found a place: a four bedroom palace with LOTS of room & plenty of bathrooms (for those times when everyone's got Delhi Belly). Will let you know if it all works out.

Wherever place we move into, it will be known as the T&S Taj & bookings are easily available through yours truly (if you're passing through Delhi).

Well...I'll leave it at that for the time being. Just wanted to let you all know that we've made it to Delhi okay & are now starting to settle in.

This place is going to be such a spin out !!