Sunday, October 30, 2011

last day In India for now

And it will be weird to leave. Again.
Thursday's karaoke was kinda strange. There was a family from Mumbai in town for Diwali with their very fat 10 year old out of boarding school. He was 'entertaining' us with rap songs with quite a bit of language that most of us would deem unsuitable for a 10 year old....I managed to get a bit of singing in before the large Indian fellow in a pink shirt (who rather fancied himself) took over doing Hindi numbers for the rest of the night. Oh well.
Friday I was put on hold for the stupid Metallica concert which of course didn't go ahead so what a total waste of time that was. As if you couldn't have predicted that there would have been 'technical and logistical issues'......
But the Formula One has been fun - I have been teaching Raj the finer points of F1. Because I learned to drive in Bankstown!
Last night was another night of singing and dancing my way into the hearts of hapless drinkers. Had loads of fun and NO BLUE DRINKS. Adi, sadly, was in the mood to sink too much alcohol and kept jumping up on the seat then saying Oh Judy I am so drunk and nodding off on me for 2 nano seconds before leaping up to sing. Oddball.
Today I am on a quest to find the man from the office here who has my passport and money which I wanted changed into $. I do hope I find him soon... I'd better ask Raj when he gets back from the paan shop.
Final F1 race today let's hope nobody dies like the last 2 weekends in motorsport.
I am assuming that Neal and Rhonda got their stupid Qantas flight yesterday before Qantas was shut down. Didn't I say all the free fizz in the world at Qantas club doesn't make flying Qantas OK? Didn't I? So with any luck they are cooling their heels in Hong Kong before flying to Nepal via Bangladesh this evening (as you do... such a direct route!). And if I get my passport back I'll see them tomorrow.
Robin and the girls finally made it to Srinagar late last night and are having a rest on a houseboat before they get their plan sorted to get back to Delhi etc etc. I don't expect I will see him for a week...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

whoosh there goes another Diwali


About a squillion crore rupees up in smoke last night. It was fairly quiet (and that is of course all relative here in India!) until after everyone had performed their Lakshmi Puja, then whacko off it went, non stop till goodness only knows when. I gave up and put the a/c on (who the hell could breathe what was passing for fresh air I shall never know) and stuck in the ear plugs. Bliss.
So yesterday was a fairly quiet one at home, with family visitors coming through. Then Raj and his wonderful sister and her family went out for lunch, so I was home alone having a wonderful quiet time when my darling friend Manish turned up to wish me festive greetings. I don't think I have ever seen anyone look quite so handsome in a striped kurta shirt as he did yesterday. No, really! And here he was, to give me a present and a kiss. What a lucky girl! Anyone who wants more than that is just plain greedy.
I am just having what has turned out to be an extremely pointless and stupid Facebook conversation with someone in Nepal...I asked him (since he runs a trekking agency and has some people in the area) how a couple of villages are after the earthquake and landslides. Fine didi he says. Oh so all the houses are rebuilt and everything. Oh no, he says, no houses left no schools. Deep breath. OK Einstein, so where are the people living? Or are they all dead? He tells me that they are 'camping'. So, I venture, what in particular about THAT makes you say everyone up there is 'fine' you bloody idiot! no answer.... Then I asked what about food. The reply, and I can't believe I am writing this, is 'They had some extra foods'. Yeah maybe they did 6 weeks ago. I bet they don't now. And winter is closing in. Fack!!! It is no wonder that country is disappearing up it's own drainpipe when you have idiots saying everyone is fine because they are at about 3500m altitude, with winter coming, no fuel, a sheet of plastic to live under and no food. Yeah fabulous. Oh well.
Meanwhile, I went to the hair do emporium this morning - got up and found myself unable to stand the hair anymore. Much better now.....The birds are singing and tonight is karaoke. And tomorrow might be stick ball. Which I will lose.
And another New Year has just whirled into view - Newar New Year. So Happy Nepal Sambhat 1132. I feel young again.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hey Fatty, step away from the sweets!

Delhi cops used to take 'Fat Sweaty Coppers' to new heights - or should I say widths? But no more. All hail the plan for the Brave New World.

Monday, October 24, 2011

DUCK! Diwali is coming

That's right, firecrackers and strings of lights EVERYWHERE in Delhi now. Only 2 days to go before the big night when we shall all no doubt choke on the smoke, if the week leading up to it is any indication. Seriously dodgy looking corrugated tin open fronted shacks are springing up all over town to sell fireworks, and right now in our garden a well dressed young man in very pointy shoes is up a ladder with yet more lights - the trees here are more bloody electric than environment at the moment.
After I last wrote I managed to get food poisoning (not from anything blue) and so spent 2 days existing on lemonade and a piece of toast. So I wasn't much fun. But I did enjoy the 2 good results in the Rugby and well done New Zealand for hanging on against the French - that was one tough match. Last night got a tandoori chicken home delivery (thanks Manish) which I had to stop myself from completely devouring in record time, and now feel much better.
Brave Sir Robin and the girls meanwhile have been testing my patience again. I got the call on Saturday morning that they wanted to have a dessert, and could I please send thru a steamed pudding recipe. None of them can cook, or even have a remote idea about batter etc, so I found the simplest recipe I could and sent it over 5 SMSs to them. Now, BSR is always telling me what a fantastic judge of space and volume he is, whereas I am apparently crap at it. The recipe called for 125g of flour, so I said 250g is one cup, 125g is therefore half a cup. Obvious really. Oh, and I must point out that to call them I usually tried for an hour or so nonstop before getting thru. If I was lucky. Anyway, finally late Saturday I got thru to them just as the pudding was coming out, oh we didn't get the quantities right says Robin because ..... we only had small cups....what a dick. He then engaged in conversation with everyone else for some time while I was shouting down the phone 'if you want to talk to them I will hang up and see you in Nepal next month!'. That got his attention....
Anyhoo, they are now heading via an unexpected route to Srinagar, which they should reach by next weekend all being well, though it is going to be very cold they have been assured that the crew this time around aren't a bunch of panzies. Hopefully. They sure don't make them tough like Nepalis here in India.
And coming up for my last weekend in town we have the inaugural India F1 Grand Prix which will not be as big a palaver as the CWG we hope. It has certainly affected the Delhi-ites driving abilities...
Neal and Rhonda seem to be getting very excited about getting to the 'du next Sunday - it will be great to catch up with them again. And to get some new clothes to replace my dead ones - thanks Iain and Trek & Travel!

Friday, October 21, 2011

did you miss me?

I tried doing this on my iPad a few minutes ago but could only manage a title and no body text. Useful. SO here I go again on the Macbook.
Now what was happening. Monday I went at peak hour to CP on the metro which was surprisingly civilised, and got my changed again plane ticket. And had to fight off and shout at touts who were trying to get me to go to the market or their friends blasted shops. Had breakfast on the way home because the person who contributes nothing in terms of money or food to the house ate all my bread and peanut butter. I'm too old to be living in shared accommodation like this!
Anyway then went off to Khan market for the nth time to check the final dress which still wasn't right so I told him to give up and make a shirt instead, to be collected on Wednesday. Then Raj finally appeared from his mysterious 2 day trip to some mango orchards and we had dinner and some drinks. Tuesday was a busy one as BSR called me in a flap to say that the 3 weeks rations they had were finished after 2 weeks because the cook and 2 of the porters were crooks and I would have to get them sacked and get a replacement team. Great. So I rang the agency and shouted at them, and said that if they did not fix it ASAP I would personally ensure that the whole world knows how CRAP Indians are at arranging trekking. Oh and the crew were scared of snow. FFS.
I wasn't feeling quite right by this time, so was enlived totally by this challenge (not). Raj and I had also decided to get some decorations to do up the house for Diwali so off we went, with little Kana the Japanese student driving the whopping great Landcruiser round Delhi to AG Roy Marg where all the traditional Diwali stuff is sold. By about 9.30 I was so cold and sleepy I felt like dying. I crawled into bed with blankets etc on and was unable to breathe, and got no sleep all night. I had a pounding headache, awesome fever and a horrible rash, and my guts didn't feel too good either. Took several handfuls of anything I could grab, and thank goodness someone got me a hot water bottle. I managed to get downstairs for about an hour and lie on something other than my bed but it really wasn't worth it, so I went back upstairs and crawled into bed. Manish came to visit briefly (didn't bring flowers or grapes though!) which brightened my day. I had various diagnoses from people, such as virus, malaria and dengue. Thank goodness Manish convinced me to wait another night, and Wednesday night was much better. And at 3am Thursday I woke up knowing exactly what it was - blue food colouring. Which I am allergic to. And which was in my shot on Saturday night. How stupid. Won't make that mistake again. But I did get to watch lots of James Bond movies on telly.
So Thursday I finally left the house for 10 minutes to go to the ATM and I really enjoyed getting out. Had to miss the karaoke at Harry's but there is always next week. My last one...
Last night I had a sleeping tablet to make sure I got an uninterrupted sleep (well until the school marching band out the back starts at 7.30) and woke up to Vinita bringing me bed tea, which I drank and promptly fell asleep again. Got down at 11 am just in time to polish off some breakfast before the rugby, which of course Australia won. And I WON A BET. Sorry Ade, but you know it was a forward pass..... I will be collecting it on the 9th and if you won't be in town leave the money with Verena!
BSR and the girls are now in Panikher near Kargil and are finalising their plan to trek to Srinagar, which will take 6, 9, 12 or some other number of days. I've lost track frankly. Depends if there is more than 1 micron of snow. I can't get over what a bunch of pansies these Indian 'mountain men' are. Have a glass and a half of toughen up princess is what I say. No wonder hardly anyone bothers trekking in India - you'd be better off hiring nanna as a porter. And she would probably make nice cakes too!
So the weekend looms anew and my dance card is practically free - I am calling in a favour to avoid something I don't want to do and let's see what turns out.
Tomorrow I will definitely go to Khan market to collect the things I meant to get on Wednesday. I hope.
Go the All Blacks.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

bad weekend for losing money

What a god awful pair of rugby games that was... Crummy French Irish ref who sent the Wales captain off and then what the Wallabies were doing I cannot say.... So now I owe another 50 bucks and should probably give up on picking teams in comps.Had a fairly quiet one yesterday what with the rugby being on in the middle of the day, but I did manage to change my ticket for Kathmandu to the 31st so I can have some more time here in Delhi before I get back to no power land.
I'll have to go on the wonderful Metro again today - I can't wait to see what shenanigans are happening in the ladies compartment...

And in some jolly airline news from Nepal I give you these:
A flight for Lukla had some fun and games
A cargo flight had a bumpy landing
And a good reason to hang on to your luggage
And you wonder why I am convinced that I'm going to go in a plane crash in Nepal.....
On a lighter front however, the government is really concerned about what the citizens think. Either that, or surely this MUST be a joke. As if the phones would ever work anyway!
I'm thinking of opening a karaoke bar in Katty. But because of the power cuts of course I need a way to do it without electricity. So I thought it could be 'unplugged' but how do the performers read the words? What do you reckon about having someone hold up the lyrics printed on cards...With a torch shining on them in the dark of course. It could be such fun.
Robin and the girls appear to be about halfway to Srinagar and any week now I am expecting a call...

Here for a good time, not a long time...

Which may be just as well....
OK so I didn't have vodka for lunch on Friday - we all went out to Oh Calcutta instead.
That night I went with friends to Underdoggs, a particularly classy sports bar. There was miles of security and we thought it was because the cops found loads of RDX up the road in Ambala earlier that day. But no, it was because Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt (who shares my birthday but I look better) from BIGG BOSS (India's Big Brother) were coming. I think Manish really wanted to check them out but we stopped him. Anyway, we had some food and beers and I managed to lose my double or nothing bet from the T20 last week when I backed NSW and then RCB, by playing some dreadful pool against Manish who has obviously spent too much time in pool joints. This establishment also has a game where there are drinks lined up on either end of a table (much like 10 pin bowling) and each team of 2 has to try to get a ball into the other end's cup. Then the loser drinks. Frankly any game that involves the constant requirement for a mop and bucket should be a worry. And my goodness the girl who lost wasn't very well. Glad I avoided that one.
So to Saturday, where I watched Wales suffer an ignominious defeat at the hand of a crappy rugby ref. Well what do you expect he speaks French. And I didn't bet on them so it was nothing to do with me.
Then I managed to find the car and driver out the front at the same time so went to Khan market to the tailors and a bit more shopping, and was on my way home when I had to divert to buy food for a visitor (as if I didn't have enough to carry!) then got ready for Saturday karaoke. Oh dear me...
Benningans was chockers when I arrived but luckily my seat was saved. I had just opened a beer when the girl next to me suggested I try her wonderful looking  cocktail . So I did. And I liked it. So I ordered one and downed it sharpish! Then beer, then another Cosmopolitan and I was ready to rock!  Adi and I dancing while Manish sang. Awesome. It was decided that Adi shouldn't have vodka and coke anymore but that a blue shot of god knows what might be good. And because Manish was driving he couldn't have one so he convinced me to join Adi. Great idea. Tops. Cheers. Thanks guys. Love you heaps ;)
And so after getting home about 2am I was woken by the god botherers out the back at stupid o'clock so gave in and got up. I decided to change my flight from here to the end of the month so that I have more time here for fun and also only need a 30 day visa for Nepal. Instead of the only other option of a 90 day one. So now I get to go back into CP on the metro tomorrow to get my new ticket, and then Khan market for my final frock at the tailors. PHEW.
And of course in another hour we have the Wallabies... I hope they win cos I bet 50 on them and if I lose I may be forced into another double or nothing pool game. And we all know what will happen there.
Time for food...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Lane driving is lame driving

Anyone who has been to the subcontinent will understand that road rules are somewhat haphazard. In Pakistan there used to be signs that said 'Lane driving is sane driving'. We figured that here they would have to say 'Lane driving is lame driving'. Nobody is in the least bit interested in staying in their lane, and every last bit of space is taken up. Which makes for some great traffic jams. I spent about an hour trying to go about 10 kms yesterday. What a waste of time.
Speaking of time wasting and oxygen bandits, Yahoo customer care (ha) sent me an email to say that there have been other users with the same mail unaccess as me. So they asked some ID questions and then sent me THE SAME STUPID RESPONSE. What a bunch of losers.
Last night was Hindi karaoke night and since I don't know Hindi and can't sing I spent my time drinking, gossiping and dancing. Which seemed like a good idea at the time. Today for penance I went to the post office - there's 90 minutes of my life I'll never get back. There seems to be something about trying to do things on a Friday here that has me jinxed.

I finally got to the tailors on Wednesday (with the same taxi driver who got me lost on Monday night) and the fellow has done a sterling job on my clothes, so tomorrow I go to collect them.
We have had an almost never ending stream of guests and drop-ins here at soap opera central. I can never work out who is here for business or pleasure. People just wander in and out, get cups of tea, even curl up for a sleep! etc - yesterday I had to drink vodka at lunchtime with one lovely fellow who is back today and wants me to have more vodka. Possibly NOT a good idea.

Enjoy the weekend.

Go the Wallabies!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why I hate Yahoo email

As regular readers will know, my email has been playing up since the end of September. I have written to Yahoo every day with no success.
After their last stupid email this morning here is what I sent them:

Dear Robot,

I think you must be a robot as a human would surely have read the trail of emails about this. I will assume that you are a robot that was trained in English. Therefore, I expect that you will be able to follow the content of this email. I apologise in advance if you are easily offended.
I have typed these things till I am blue in the face, but WTF I apparently have nothing better to do with my time.
Since 30 September I have had trouble with my Yahoo email address which is xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
My husbands email which is yahoo works fine on the same computers and same internet connection. I have sent requests etc to Yahoo every day since then, and I still have the same problem. I get automated stupid responses then a follow up which does not address the issue and when I write again the loop starts anew.
I have attached a document of what I think are the highlights of this marvellously pointless exercise.
Just a few suggestions for next time this happens to people. You may choose to implement them or not, I really don't care because I will never use your crummy 'service' again...
If someone says they can't log in to their email, why do you send an information request to that email? Dumb
If someone says they have carried out all the tasks suggested in your mail, and followed everything on the laughably named HELP page, and still their email doesn't work, why do you continue to tell them that YOU are happy to report you couldn't replicate the error. WE don't care that YOU are happy. We are NOT.
Why do you ask for screenshots and suggest people use an alt tab function when they have advised right from the start they use an ipad and there are NO SUCH KEYS.
In fact, why even bother sending ridiculous automated template replies to people that say you will be happy to help within 24 hours. I have been waiting more than 10 times that long and have not had one sensible interaction.
Good manners prevents me from telling you what I really think about this whole thing.
I can appreciate that perhaps, like Blackberry, there has been an outage that affects many customers. If so, tell us. If not, find somebody with a brain to sort out my individual problem. If you are unable to hire anyone with a brain you should use a different employment agency or pay more money. Remember, if you pay peanuts you get monkeys.
If you can solve my problem please feel free to email me.
If you wish to apologise for the appalling lack of customer service or common good manners in your 'organisation' (I can't believe I called it that), please feel free to email me.
If you want to send me another automatic response or stupid template with unhelpful hints like use the alt tab button, may I suggest you use your time more productively and have a toilet break.

I will let you know if I ever hear anything useful...don't hold your breath.

Dilemmas in Delhi

What an odd week it has been, and we are only up to Wednesday. Hmm where to begin.... Monday afternoon perhaps...
After having left over puris for lunch with my friend Manish and a chap called Ajoy (nicknamed Butch I know not why) Manish and I wandered up to the cake shop for some muffins, then we had a bit of a business meeting thing about a website while I kept trying to get my Yahoo email to work since the Indian call centre fix only worked briefly. Which is better than the Australian one...
Manish was helping out with karaoke on Monday night in a bar on the rooftop of a mall in Gurgaon but couldn't give me a lift, no worries I will get a taxi since the driver was busy. Well I could have taken the metro but really....Gurgaon is about 25 k away. So I managed to get a taxi eventually and gave him very precise directions viz turn left out of the enclave, U turn at the junction and just go straight. For reasons I shall never know he did something else, then finally dropped me at what I believed was the correct mall and tried to overcharge me by saying he had no meter, although when I booked the taxi I was told it had a meter. So we argued for a time and I shoved Rs500 at him and got out. Wandered all around the wrong mall and then rang Manish. He couldn't work out where I was so asked me to go into the street (which incidentally was unlit and no cabs around) to try to spot any landmarks. I couldn't so I walked down the street in the dark past guys peeing into the bushes and thought that perhaps it wasn't such a good idea, when I chanced upon a truckstop and found a random bloke who was only half drunk and asked him in English to speak to Manish on the phone in Hindi. I gave him the phone and he talked to Manish in English then me in Hindi. Finally I got the phone back and Manish gave me some directions, then my helpful drunk friend's face lit up and he stopped a really crappy passing bus and so I got on. I was the only female and when I told Manish he was horrified. Where are you, don't hang up he kept saying. Finally I saw a sign for some big hotel and he told me to get off. NOW. So I started yelling stop the bus and in the end jumped off while it was still going. And there was Manish right behind me. What a darling.
Had a good laugh and several drinks after the escapade. What a dick. I did not however enter the beer chugging competition. One had to consume a 1500ml jug in 3 minutes to get it for free. Of course the local boys had no technique and after swigging about a third of it in 15 seconds they all felt sick. Buckets were rushed to the stage. How tasteful.
Manish ended up staying the night at Raj's so in the morning Raj went to Old Delhi and bought us different puri and halva as well, then we had a wonderful singalong around the piano (well we liked it!!) before another meeting about a website in Japan for Spanish wine. My life is so interesting.
The home front here is not a happy one with clashes between Raj and CA. I do so hate Raj asking what I think, but as I am here as his guest is it my duty to have an opinion and report to Raj. Ham in the sandwich.
Last night however I was very lucky to go to Gurgaon again (this time in Raj's car!) to visit his charming sister and her husband who are staying with their son. I first met them 2 years ago at their wonderful estate in Dehra Dun in the hills north of Delhi. Pushpa is from a royal family in Bengal and both he and Raj's sister Mohini have the most exquisite manners and are a real delight to spend time with. And the food was delicious too.
This morning the Days of our Drearies continued in the front garden for the whole street to enjoy, especially as the power had gone so nobody could enjoy their Indian soap operas. There's one right here. I tried to sneak past but got spotted unfortunately. And 2 hours later it continues although CA has gone to breathe in some more incense at the ashram.
I hope to get Raj to take me to Khan market soon so that I can check my clothes at the tailor. Perhaps we can have lunch.
Or perhaps I have to solve another problem that just landed in my lap. Holiday what holiday?
Here's a lovely orchid from the Botanical gardens in Kandy, Sri Lanka.
And Robin misses all this fun!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Go the mighty Wallabies!

I think that game took 10 years off my life. Especially as it was only 10.30 here in India and way too early for a glass of wine. I was trying to teach the finer points of the game to Raj, my delightful India host who finally returned from Japan.
Since he arrived on Saturday evening the house has returned to some sort of normality - the cushions are all out on the garden furniture and shopping has been done by someone other than me. And I have a distraction from listening to CA recite inspirational poetry by Sri Aurobinda (Jai Mata! he always adds at the end, to indicate just how marvellous it is). Enough to drive me mad. And why he continues to tell me I should: get up before dawn, sit cross legged (with MY knees?), eat only paneer (Indian cottage cheese), chapattis and tulsi tea (herbal stuff that you can't put milk and sugar in and contains precisely no caffeine), and hang out at the ashram all day I cannot imagine. No thanks mate I'm watching the rugby. Then the cricket. With a beer. Jai Mata!
Still not a lot of news from BSR but if you check out SPOTWALLA you will know as much as I do. Which is not much!
This morning Raj took me for breakfast in Old Delhi - haven't been there for 10 years so will do a bit of sightseeing later this week on the fabulous metro and perhaps I can get groped again. Here is a picture of breakfast: the dough thing is a puri, with pickle, spicy chick pea and different spicy potato.
And speaking of puri, I can't believe I forgot to tell you about The Worst Thing I Have Ever Drunk. (Thanks to sriniv for the flickr photo.) Had it at a lovely restaurant called Punjabi By Nature. It is a smaller version of the puri pictured and you place a small hole in the top, pour in the vodka mixed with cumin, black pepper, raw mango or tamarind. I put one with cumin in my mouth (how bad could it be I thought) and half of it came straight back out onto the plate. Meanwhile the others are looking at me going oh that looks like it is awful, and I was wondering how the hell I was going to swallow it or get rid of it. No potted plants so I had to swallow. YUCKO. It came with a free beer and I know why. Even over a week later my stomach churns at the thought. It was worse then Gammeldansk which was the previous winner, even over salt butter tea. And boy did my guts suffer next day. made me wish I'd gotten a hangover instead. But of course I didn't drink more than 1. Even BSR who can normally drink anything had a look of horror on his face when he went for the raw green mango flavour. And chipmunk cheeks!
So I have been sticking to beer and rum since then rather sensibly I think. Most days I wander up to the SDA 'Rainbow' market to get some dinner (before Raj arrived anyway) and stop at the local Beer and Wine shop to get a bottle of beer to bring home. I think I am getting a reputation as nice ladies wouldn't go there. The place was a real treat on Friday night about 9 pm as the staff barricaded themselves in behind cases of beer and dispensed 330ml bottles only (except to me of course).
In bizarre news from Bihar state (is there any other sort?) a man gets annoyed. I really like the bit after the ad in the middle where the cops indicate precisely when he started to behave abnormally.. make sure you read it!
And in weird news from Goa, a couple decide they have had enough and they're not gonna take it anymore.
Last but not least, the sign outside the Cricket Club in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where we spent a wonderful afternoon before flying back to Kathmandu.
Have a beautiful week!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Madam, let me help you!

Oh please don't! These are the 5 scariest words you can hear in India, especially around Connaught Place. How did I forget that? Especially in CP? Let me explain.
Yesterday I had to achieve 2 things only, which is 1 too many but there you have it. First, change plane ticket dates for return to the 'du, and second, go to Mr Gopal the tailor in Khan Market.
1.Since the tickets were booked online with Jet, go to Jet website. Discover unable to change online. Ring office, spend 25 minutes on the blower to get them changed BUT I have to go into their CP office to pay $10 to change my ticket but not Robin's as mine was a different fare but we are on the same booking and paid the same price, to travel on the same dates, go figure. OK so far, considering.
2.Decide to combine shopping trips and go outside to find the driver. Madam, says the chowkidar, not here. When is he coming? I don't know. Fine, go back upstairs grab material, passports etc etc and walk up to the shops to get an auto to the metro. Cos I learnt my lesson about walking there the other day when I almost melted. On the way to the shops I see an elephant complete with mahout gossiping to the ironing man on the corner - the mahout was gossiping, not the elephant.
3. Descend into metro and decide to buy a Smartcard (yes NSW transport, even India can manage to have them!!!)and while I am at the service counter I hear manic screaming coming from the escalator gliding up from the platform. There appeared an elderly Muslim gentleman and a younger thuggish fellow who were going at each other and the elderly guy was really giving it to him. There were some cops and security trying to separate them, and finally they got them into the glass room where all we could see was the old guy trying to strangle the young bloke. Tickets please!
4. Finally got on the metro and managed to get a seat. Win! However, when I went to get off at CP with about 10,000 others the crush was unbelievable. The people getting on don't wait for those getting off, and there was a poor disabled fellow in front of me who was getting seriously stomped as he tried to get off. So I stuck my elbows out, started screaming and made like a crazed chicken flapping my way out, trying to help this poor chap get out.It was a very attractive sight, but even after he managed to get out people trampled him and he ended up on the ground with people just running over him. Delhi people are SO rude.
5. This is the fun bit. CP is 3 circles, and you need to know which one you want, or which block. I thought I wanted G but I really wanted P or something like that. Now, CP is where all the gormless recently arrived foreigners hang out (a bit like Circular Quay at home) so any foreign face is fair game. I had forgotten this. As I wandered around in ever decreasing circles, about to disappear up my own backside, a fellow offered to help. Yes madam Jet airways come I will show you. And promptly led me to a carpet shop. Oh look I said Jet Airways also sells carpet. He didn't get the joke .I set off again only to have someone take me to their friend's travel agency trying to sell me a ticket to Agra. No thanks. Then someone said his brother had a nice jewellery shop and perhaps I should just go there and avoid all these bad fellows trying to sell me things!! Finally I stood there shouting at the guy saying Gandhi ji would be appalled at their behaviour (that usually stops them) and he showed me where Jet airways was, and he was right.
6. Back to the delights of the Delhi metro with tickets in hand, but no carpet or jewellery, still carrying my large bag of fabric, headed for Khan Market, change at Central Secretariat for the violet line! Luckily the tailor was IN and I dropped of my frocks to copy, my material and my measurements. He isn't sure if he has the machine for jersey, but he knows someone who does. And for about $300 all up, material plus tailoring, I will have 4 new dresses and some kurti shirts. Next Wednesday I go back for fitting etc. Fingers crossed. I then did a spot of luxury shopping: a 4 point universal power board, peanut butter, jam and biscuits. Then I went to Chona's to reward myself with a walnut brownie with icecream (soft serve no less!) and chocolate sauce. But don't you want any food madam? asked the waiter. Oh no, this IS food I said!
7. The trip home in the Ladies Carriage was horrific. It was very crowded, and not just with ladies. There were some most unsavoury fellows in there ogling (eve teasing it's called here) the women, and rushing into seats when women were standing, so one local lady took such exception that she started chastising them for their rude behaviour. She then pointed at me and I believe she was telling them how bad they make India look to foreigners. Fair point madam. After she got off and the carriage got more crowded one of these boys moved near me and was staring at me, I ignored him so he stuck his hand on my upper lady parts. I gave him a slap and offered to take him to the police. He didn't want to go.
8. I got home and had a drink. Then I had another. Then Captain Ashram came in looking all radiant and asked if I knew anyone interested in ecological sheep washing. Time for another drink.
Go the Wallabies.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Festival Fabric Shopping Bonanza

Couldn't decide! So I bought the lot.

Ah Nehru Place, what a fine address for fabrics. The 4 at the top (jersey and georgette) are for copies of dresses I currently own, and the 3 cottons at the bottom are for kurta shirts. Tomorrow I will have to go the the tailor in Khan market to begin the process of copy and sew (as opposed to copy and paste). Hey, one of the fabrics is plain! Louela, a lovely Indian teacher who lives where I am staying, came with me, and kept saying "Oh Judy you pick such bright colours. Just like a peacock!" then laughing away. We ran out of money so had to come back home. But before shopping we fortified ourselves with a dosa lunch from the place in Green Park, AB, and some sweets from downstairs. Don't think I shall need much dinner.
As it is Dussehra today I might wander to the park to see if there are any fireworks going on. I saw the locals were busy putting up decorations etc when I got back form the shops. Apparently that is the done thing in Delhi. All afternoon trucks were going on the main road with statues of gods and goddesses and loads of boys playing drums and singing. Could be fun!
If you have been watching Robin's Spot page you will see they didn't get too far today. Maybe it was too cold. Maybe he had a birthday lie in. I wouldn't know.....

email success!

Don't know why I didn't think of this solution earlier. Instead of emailing yahoo Australia who were clearly in 'grand final long weekend who gives a rats' mode, I emailed Yahoo India and got fixed in an hour. Of course, India is the home of the help desk. Foolish woman!
And my cable finally got up and running so I can enjoy the Rugby World Cup, T20 cricket and news that I can understand. I told you last year about the shouty flashy news here and it hasn't improved. One I saw last night had about 6 different flashy things going on at once while the reporter shouted from out the front of some building. Pass the paracetamol.
My eye infection is getting better too. Pity I can't use my new contact lenses just yet. Hey get this, I was at the shop in Khan market the other day and the man said oh, we can have those for you about 7 this evening can you come back? Oh no, I said, I don't have a driver (all foreigners here have a driver as you'd be nuts to try it yourself), so he said well madam where are you living we will deliver them for you. So later a little man on a motorbike came with my 3 boxes of contact lenses which cost me $100 Aussie and no fee for delivery. Think I might get some more!
The noisy tamasha out the back was some south Indian christians and their max volume was much louder than mine so it was rather difficult trying to watch a murder mystery. Not only do I have no idea whodunnit, I have no idea what they did!
I am off for south Indian dosas for lunch then fabric shopping to get copies of some of my expensive dresses.
No further news from Brave sir Robin (it is his birthday today) and the girls. I don't expect a phone call for a week or so, but I should get a Spot most days.
Make sure you check out the shared page to see where he is. And sympathise with me trying to do a weather forecast that he probably won't get. I think I should just say clear and cold and leave it at that.
And RIP Steve Jobs. Thanks for making computers and software even I can understand.
See ya later

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Yahoo is driving me nuts

ever since I got here on Friday my email has been playing up and in fact is all but inaccessible. I can log in to Yahoo but whenever I try email it throws me out. I have now sent about 12 angry HELP ME messages to 'customer service' at Yahoo with the only response being an email from some bloke called Don who asked me to reply to some questions, and when I did the email bounced back saying 'we don't check this email address anymore'. How completely useless. And infuriating. I managed to be able to check it briefly the other day by piggybacking on Robin's other mail server on the iPad, but now I can't even do that because the server crashed. Or something. HTF am I supposed to run a Logistics Empire if I can't access email?
So to anyone who has been emailing me... sorry.
In other irritating news, the cable TV that was supposedly fixed Sunday Monday Tuesday is still not working so I am stuck with Hindi shouty news and Jerry Springer. I got an eye infection yesterday and that hurts, AND the driver got back today so I arranged with him to go shopping. Yes madam he says. Then I got back from the chemist with my eye drops and the chowkidar (guard) said the driver had taken the car somewhere, maybe one hour, so I said fine when he comes you come upstairs and get me. 4 hours later I have given up. It is like Fawlty Towers here when the grownups are away.
Captain Ashram who you may remember from last time is too ethereal to be bothered with such stuff, and also thinks if you keep piling dirty dishes in the sink (which is full of water and floaty things) the washing up fairy might appear. The house servant is away for a week or so and I am convinced CA was not going to wash up, so I started to and got yelled at. But it STINKS. So I waited till he left and did what I could without any detergent... Honestly it would be so much better if one of the house owners was here. Drives me to drink. Short trip.
Oh and it is The Festival and Durga puja in the open ground right next to my room a huge tamasha (more like a schemozzle) is going on with a giant marquee and a very loud band. I expect it will continue for  few days. It usually does. 
Hopefully tonight I'll be heading out with Manish the karaoke bloke from last year. For some sensible conversation and dinner and drinks.
Meanwhile Robin, Helen and Toni are in Darcha where there is a forecast low of MINUS 11. Yucko.
Well that is enough whingeing from me for a day. Hopefully next time some of the busted things will be operational. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Greetings from Hauz Khas

 And here is Hydra having a drink from the tap. She is too naughty.
It has been pretty warm since we arrived and I am pining for a swimming pool but since it is the festival season that is a little hard to arrange. Oh well.
Robin, Helen and Toni at the Last Supper
Today I went back to sleep after being woken at 4am as the happy trekkers were loading into the car for a 16 hour drive to Manali. I arose many hours later and after breakfast and some internetverk threw myself womanfully into the business of shopping. I wandered up to the local Metro station (hadn't been there before) and whizzed off to Khan market for a spot of shopping. Almost over exerted myself so stopped for a beer and some chilli chicken before the Metro trip home and the long walk in the heat with my shopping. Ladies, DO take the ladies compartment if you travel on the Metro.
Right then I'm off for a drink.