Sunday, 23 February 2014

Sherren's Lost Her Mojo For Blogging!

So Sherren's lost her mojo for blogging and decided to do the dishes instead. Does this mean we're adopting some traditional roles? However I did do the laundry last night. I'm especially skilled (using brute force) at wringing everything out until it's almost dry.

Just to point out in advance. We've both been a bit grumpy the last few days, myself more so. I'm fine either here or there but usually take a bit of time settling down from the travels in between. That said, here's my thoughts from the past few days.


Interesting point on possessions: I may not have many left in the world but seriously, what do the have not's think of us?

Heading through security at Delhi domestic, after everything has been through the scanner, one of the guards asks “do you have a laptop in the bag”. I answer “yes" and he requests I remove all electronic devices for inspection.

01, Macbook Pro
02, iPad - Sherren’s
03, iPad - Glen’s
04, iPod - Sherren’s
05, iPod - Glen’s
06, iPhone - Sherren’s
07, iPhone - Glen’s

(Despite the fact that Apple have been moving further and further toward the unstable platform on which their inferior competitors are based, we still have more than our share of the fruits of their labour)

08, Nikon Water Proof Camera (for New Zealand hiking)
09, Garmin GPS (for New Zealand hiking)
10, Audio Technica Studio Headphones (Cause I’m a wanna be rock star)
11, Chargers and Leads for All
12, Solar Monkey Solar Battery Charger (for New Zealand hiking)

They didn’t bother checking anything again, only asking I explain what the solar charger was. It’s a good thing I put the Audio Technica Studio Mic (Cause I’m a wanna be rock star) in the checked luggage! I might have ended up doing my best Bollywood karaoke impression to explain what is was.


A story of my pessimism and Indian corporate efficacy!

ICICI Bank India

In trying to figure out how Sherren and I would access our funds while on this trip we came across something called an ‘Indian Rupee Travel Card’ provided by ICICI Bank India (According to the operative on the phone they are as big as Barclays). You basically transfer funds from your UK account to ICICI UK account and they make the money available in India with a Visa debit card fee free. Sounded fantastic so we signed up.
We went in to their branch in Knightsbridge on the 6th of February to submit the forms and were told they would be active in a week and we could then top them up online. Well after not hearing anything, we requested a callback for Sherren as her application had some bureaucratic hurdles to begin with (Name change after marriage being that said hurdle). About 2 days later we got the call to say they would rush through the application and by that evening she received her confirmation email. Woo ha!
Well I didn’t think to chase them about mine as we were assured they would authorise in good time. We arrive in India and my card still not functioning, I decided to try top it up with £1 anyway just to see if I get the confirmation email. Still no email, I decide to email customer service for and update. I promptly receive a reply stating “Just go ahead and top up your card and use it at an ATM”.
After popping down to the ATM, I find the card is working. Hurrah! But who is getting my emails? They're not too worried about it so why should I be. At least it's working!


A note for anyone wishing to purchase a SIM card to use in India:

Just stop into the corrugated iron shack shop on the side of the road and tell the man in there you would like a ‘pay as you go’ SIM. “Rs100" (£1). Can’t complain at that. “Passport photo, copy of passport, copy of visa, full name, UK address and phone number, India address and phone number and fathers full name. It will take 24 hours to activate and then you must confirm all your details with the service provider before you can use your phone”. Whew!

Well Sherren’s works and mine doesn’t. Am I being singled out here?

Pop back to see the man and he enters a load of random numbers in my phone and wallah! Phone works and Rs80 credit. He's rewarded with another top up.

Mystic Yoga

Had our first yoga class today. We managed to get up in time and didn’t feel too rough. I forgot Purvottanasana (which I do every time anyway) my least favourite but was swiftly reminded, damn! Other than that a really nice class. had some great assists and looking forward to the next. Think my grumpy jet lagged self is starting to chill. Not sure if Sherren will agree though.


Getting Organised.

Led class today and ran out of steam at Bujapidasana. The arms just went on me. Somehow managed to the end by easing up on all the vinyasa.
Recovery was a lot quicker and generally starting to feel a bit livelier. Think the combination of jet lag, lack of sleep and adjusting to the heat was turning me into a bit of a whinging git!

We’ve completed all our missions for the next two weeks, with accommodation for the next five months sorted, deposits paid, classes and deposits paid where needed. Money sorted! Sherren then pulled the budget out. £500 each a month which covers accommodation, tuition, travel and food (tuition is the big expense followed by accommodation). Then she counted out our living money for every week cutting into my ‘walking around money’ fund. Might have to dip into my private stash.

Had a small disaster at the local market. Dropped a bag of peanuts and they went everywhere. They were quick to come clean it all up and when I found a store attendant who spoke good English and explained I intended to pay (43p) for the nuts, she insisted it wasn’t necessary. Then after leaving the security was chasing us down the road. Apparently the checkout clerk didn’t charge us for one of the bottles of water. Really didn’t do me any favours considering I was wearing shorts (Only lower caste folk wear shorts over here). Might have to go shopping for a pair of trousers to raise my standing in this community.


Epic failure in the kitchen.

A couple of days ago we decided to cook our own meal in the apartment kitchenette. It’s pretty basic and only has a microwave. The idea is not to save money (as we can eat out for about Rs.200 or £2) but just so we have something constructive to do in the evening given the amount of time we will be here.

Firstly we went for a walk to the large supermarket to get some groceries. My advice here would be to take enough money to purchase what you put in the basket. We got a few dirty looks when we had to credit one item back to settle the bill. Embarrassment over, we walked away with kidney beans (Ramja China), Brown Rice, yellow split peas (dal), some spices, stock and a bowl for the microwave.

We knew it was going to be a labourious task cooking the beans before adding the other ingredients but when they weren’t done after 3 hours (and yes we did soak them for over 12 hours) and the both us starving, tired and having to get up early for yoga we gave up and poured some boiling water over a packet of instant noodles and got stuck in to our stash of fruit and salad veg in the fridge.

I did stubbornly eat some of it, picking out the beans (a job in itself) and it was delicious. Next time no beans. At least not until we move to our next apartment which has a hot plate for cooking.

This young heifer seems to have developed a taste for ash and burnt cans over the lush green vegetation it's fellow cow kind indulge in

Sherren mistook the no PDA (public displays of affection) rule as Personal Distance Advised!

Not sure if either of these chooks where destined for the pot but they were happy hanging around.

 A shanty town in Gokulam. They seem to enjoy life there more than most.

Our local supermarket where I'm quite possible banned now.


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