April 30th, 2004
A big thunderstorm last night! This filmed looking over the airport from the hotel window –

More later.

April 22nd, 2004

I’ve never seen anything like this before! It’s very windy outside and its no longer in 100’s of degrees of farenheit.

This is the normal view from the 14th floor –

And this is what it looked like a minute ago –

It feels like a desert just landed on top of us.

April 17th, 2004

Gulab Jamun are probably the tastiest things ever! Here’s a link to their recipe. There are little balls of sponge soaked in warm sugar syrup, they are absolutely delicious. Next time you are at the Indian restaurant ask to try a Gulab Jamun or one of its variations for dessert.

I have not added an entry for a while about India so here is a full update.

Going out and walking around in the heat is getting difficult now I must admit. Even with a pair of shades, sun hat and 2 litres of Evian I get a headache after 2 or more hours. The weather has been hitting around 42C (108F) recently. New Delhi is the hottest place on CNN’s world city weather thing that they show from time to time.

This is Dipti, her Mum and her friends at Delhi Golf Club, about to have some Chinese food for lunch! It was strange meeting someone in Delhi who last time I saw was in London!

This is a place called Karol Bagh that is the grey market for electronic goods in Delhi. It was too hot to be shopping this day really.

This was taken on the NH8 back from the office of the DLF tower, with one of the buffalo that just stand in the middle of the road.

On Friday we went bowling. We tried to go to the place that offers Ice Skating and Skiing?!?!? But they wouldn’t let us in for some reason!

This is a picture from a Sari shop in Karol Bagh that I put on my page at Deviant Art.

April 8th, 2004

third world india, with mcdonalds, m&s and a jewller

whoever did this sign should have used a ruler

a full indian dog that just ate a lamb buna

i bet in london the weathers a lot cooler
April 1st, 2004

…you can do… on a Wednesday night…in a hotel…in India…that does not have a bowling alley….

Well everyone likes the videos so, here is a new video. Firstly it is of the Taj Mahal. You are not really supposed to make videos of it so I kept it short and sweet. As for the rest of the video…. On the way back from Fatehpur Sikri to Delhi we must have took a wrong turn somewhere and we ended up on possibly the most bumpy road in the world. This is us, somewhere between Agra and Delhi. At one stage we were in a village where the was no other cars and the roads were barely big enough to fit us down. It was very interesting though because I got to see life outside of Delhi and inside the villages. Apparently these are not what ‘real’ villages are like in India, these have also been exposed to westernization because they are only 100km or so away from the cities. The music accompanying the video is probably my favorite song that I have heard here so far; it is called “Sun Sahiba Sun”, which apparently means ‘Listen Mrs. Listen’, and the bit after that which sounds like “Car Likey Done” means ‘In the name of love’.

This is rural India at its greatest –

This is a tame stripey Mr. Squirrel enjoying his lunch at Red Fort –

I uploaded this video ages ago but it looks like I never linked to it. It is an amalgamation of videos that I have done with this camera since I bought it as well as messing around with some video editing tools (probably done on a similar Wednesday evening) put to some excellent zwan music. The last clip is my favorite. It is the sun disappearing under the horizon filmed through some binoculars for about 2 minutes then sped up to 180 frames a second. Other clips include Melissa Auf Der Maur rocking in London, Gin, Al and Kim, very drunk in an Indian restaurant in Stratford and London in the snow.

This camera really is great, I can now keep a diary of things as well as put pictures and video to it. It really is something worth doing, as when I look back at sites like ‘Benidorm Boys‘ it brings back some great memories!!

The good news is that one of my friends from London is going to be coming to Delhi in a couple of weeks and we are going to meet for lunch at Delhi Golf Course!!!

The bad news is that I think the pig in the video from a few posts ago was hit by a car/truck today and was killed (I know its the 1st of April and that wouldn’t be funny if it was an ‘April Fools’ so I’m not joking).

That’s all until next ssssign…

March 29th, 2004

Mr Rajinda arrived at 6am to take us to Agra. It was strange to see so many people around this early in the morning. The park opposite IIT was full of people playing cricket. 06h30 is probably the best time of the day actually, its reminded me of a cool summers evening in England.

I fell asleep in the car on the way and woke up at a toll point where we had stopped. I looked out of the window to my left and saw a man sitting down next to a big furry animal. I asked the guys – “What sort of dog is that?” – “What?” – “What is the type of the dog?” – “It’s not a dog its a biiiarrr” – “A what?” – “Biiiarrrr” – “oh ok”. I thought maybe a Biiaarr was some form of breed of New Foundland dog as these dogs where huge! It was not until one stood on its hinde legs that I noticed it was actually a bear. I think the last time I saw a bear was in London Zoo and that was about 15 years ago and I don’t remember it anyway. They keep the bears tied up and make then do tricks for tourists who take photos of them. I didn’t take any photos of the bears because it was very cruel.

After two hours on the road we arrived in Agra, India’s oldest city and the home of the Taj Mahal. We went to the Taj Mahal first. It really is a cool thing to see. It’s the worlds largest construction in the name of love. Taj Mahal was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his queen Mumtaz Mahal. It took about 20 years to build. More information here.

I, of course, took the photo everyone who goes to the Taj Mahal must take –

And here it is from a different angle. The Taj Mahal looks the same from all four sides.

This is a photo taken from Red Fort looking over to the Taj Mahal –

Lastly we went to a place called Fatehpur Sikri which I was a little scared of because of the amount of wasp nests above the entrance –

We got back after a long tiring day at around 9pm but an excellent tourist day out yet again! More text soon, I just have not the time…………

March 22nd, 2004

The difference between a cappuccino and a latte in the UK, from what I could work out, is that cappuccino had chocolate on top and latte didn’t. In India, the difference between a cappuccino and a latte is the size of the cup you get the coffee in!

I don’t believe it is possible to be any further away from the United States than I am now, so going to the ‘shopping mall’ in Gurgaon for McDonalds/Subway/Marks and Spencers for lunch still doesn’t feel right, I don’t think I’ll get used to it any time soon, let alone the people who live here.

After leaving my SPV mobile in my black bag in midday sun for a couple of hours last Sunday and it consequently breaking; I have purchased a new phone here in India. Phones are about Rs. 6500 (£80) cheaper than the UK so I got a nice Nokia 6100 at a very reasonable price, I am so glad I have gone back to using Nokia, it has such a great easy to use system on it.

There was an Earthquake in Delhi on Thursday, but I did not notice it 🙁

This is our new driver, Mr Rarjinda who told us a story about a fight between a monkey and a dog in Hindi once. He is so much better than Mr Saruj, and also the guy we had for a day who’s name I didn’t get, who I was sure didn’t actually know how to drive.

I still have not seen a cloud, I wake up in the morning hoping that it might be ‘overcast’ for the day. Normally blue skies would leave the average person who spends most of their time in a country where it rains a lot thinking great! However, I feel I am getting cloud withdrawal symptons. It would be nice to just see one of those little guys floating in the air, maybe just a little plane contrail cutting through the vast blueness of the sky, but no. Not a sinnnnnngle cloud.

I said last post that I thought the Hindustan Times was a little bit harsh when it said that Delhi was unsafe for women. I’ve changed my mind, this city is definetly not safe for women on there own, especially tourists. Gruesome Story Here.

This Saturday I went on a serious tourist tour of Delhi with Nitin. This is a picture of the Lotus Temple, where people can go and pray. It’s very nice, you are not allowed to talk when inside and there’s even microphones under the seat that will catch you talking and subsequently get you kicked out.

These are the trees in the garden of the Lotus temple. There the roundest trees I’ve ever seen –

We also went to a place called “Bhagwan Mahavir Ahinsa Sthal” where I had to take my shoes, socks and belt off and then I had to wash my hands before we could go up to see the place of worship. Your not allowed to take photos of it so I didn’t.

We then went to a place called ‘Dilli Haat’ which sold loads of nice India style things. I bought an Indian style shirt and some presents. This is a picture of a lady dressed in lots of colors (she must have been boiling though as it hit a max of 37 degrees today) –

Lastly this is Qutb Minar which was built in the 14th century (the picture angle idea was stolen off a photo taken by one of the people from Holland I met) –

One emperor started to build a bigger Qutb Minar but he died one year into the project and this is as far as he got –

We also went to TGI Fridays and a Shopping Mall where I got some CDs for a 3rd of the cost in the UK! Brilliant! A great day out, Sunday I just spent the day by the pool. The monkeys were back again in force, one even jumping for a great height into the swimming pool. Eventually the hotel management came out in force and then some guy showed up with a rifle, so monkey brain may be on the hotel menu tomorrow…..

March 15th, 2004

Well I finally had to crack open the Immodium packet today, and I was doing so well I thought. Looks like its not possible to come here and not get ill. I will probably become used to the food at the end of the four weeks and then have to go through all these problems again when I have to get used to eating Australian food.

This weekend I spent most of the time by the pool trying to get some form of a suntan, it is very bizarre sitting by a pool in +30 degree heat at the start of March. I am actually missing seeing clouds, I honestly have not seen a single one in the sky since I got here! Next weekend I am planning on doing some hardcore tourist site visiting. I have had all the advice on where to go from a load of different people, so I should be able to just go to all the good places. My Microsoft SPV phone has finally given up working; the dust and temp. here must have killed it. Which is a shame as all my contacts were on that telephone, so I have virtually no ones phone number now – not a good situation to be in.

This is a picture looking into Delhi from the office. The bright white light on the horizon in the centre is National Highway 8, possibly the busiest road I have ever been on. Next to NH8 you can see the two huge office buildings, they have glass fronts and clean reflective windows and of course people living in poverty in shacks below.

This is some very naughty monkeys by the hotel swimming pool. As you can see mother monkey is keeping a lookout/eating some bread while the baby monkeys are having a swim/wash in the pool. We were in the swimming pool earlier (sharing a pool with monkeys is a sure fire way of getting Ebola I would have thought).

We then saw this peacock on the roof. We had no idea peacocks could fly, we ended up thinking that the naughty monkeys may have carried the poor peacock up there while he was asleep!

Here are Loes, Corne, Ilke and myself getting read to have an American Burger and chips in a restaurant. Corne says he may lend me his guitar for a few weeks while they are travelling around India coooooolllll!!!!!!

This is a video of outside the office, pigs and all…

March 11th, 2004

I woke up this morning thinking about how I could get Mr Saruj off the roads, but seeing how Nitin told me he “bought” his driving licence without ever having stepped foot in the driving seat of a car, I stopped thinking about it. So here I am.

On the front page of the Hindustan Times today reads the story ‘Speeding Qualis kills three near Connaught Place’ (not joking). The same vehicle as we were in and the same area at one stage. I hope Mr Saruj reads this and slows down. I made it clear to my colleagues that I don’t want to go in a vehicle with Mr Saruj ever again. If I ever find myself in the situation with a non-english speaking person I am going to use vivid hand signals to get them to SLOW DOWN. One of my colleagues asked me if I new what ‘Saruj’ meant in English. My guess of ‘maniac’ was wrong, apparently it means ‘son’. They also asked me if Indians visting England could drive there, I told them I hoped not.

The Hindustan Times generally reads like The Onion. I thought this logo after reading some random story was a little bit harsh –

Don’t let that worry you if you are female and planning on coming here or maybe even if you are half of the population of Delhi that already lives here, as another story reads, (and I quote) “It was a diamond heist, with a curious twist. Four men robbed Noida jeweller B.S. Shaw of diamonds worth Rs 1.5 crore on Monday night, but 24 hours later the police said they found the stolen goods – in the showroom itself”, so was he actually robbed? It goes on (sic) – “The cops’ assertion was at odds with accounts by area security guards, who’d seen the robbers leave the showroom with a polythene bag containing the hiest. The police also scaled down the value of the ‘stolen’ goods, till it reached Rs 30 lakh by Tuesday evening. The only thing still missing was Shaw’s Lancer, in which the robbers made their getaway”. So, actually, it wasn’t a diamond heist, the polythene bag did not actually contain a heist and Rs 1.5 crore of diamonds did not actually leave the shop, just B.S. Shaw’s car. This entire frontpage article should read “Car stolen from outside a shop” rather than “Rs 1.5-cr diamonds ‘robbed’ and ‘found'”. The actual twist of the diamond heist was that it wasn’t actually a diamond heist at all! I am taking this paper with a pinch of salt. (No offence Colleen if you see this)

The gap between rich and poor here is disturbing, as well as the amount of people that do what appears to be the most boring jobs in the world. For example, the security guard at the office that does nothing when the metal detector beeps when you walk through it. The man who looks like he is wearing pyjamas who occasionally comes into our office with a glass of water and the women that guard the toilets. To get a visual feel of this bothering gap between people, have a look at these pictures. This is our office in Gurgaon with its Coffee Shop and Marble interior which wouldn’t be out of place in London, New York etc.. –

This is the homes of the people who live directly below the office block –

I was going to write about how I have not been bitten by a mosquito yet, but I don’t want to tempt fate.

To prevent my stomach from going any further down hill, I decided to try something western on the menu. I went for the Penne Aribiatta, an Italian pasta dish. It was absolutely amazing, it has a Indian spice to it that makes it really very good. I recommend anyone to actually experience the taste of western food in the east, it’s magnificent (although won’t solve any outstanding stomach problems).

March 10th, 2004

This cannot be topped. This is probably the most scarey journey I have ever been in. Mr Saruj, the driver, looked about sixteen years old and did not speak a word of english, he also had a habit of opening his door at 80km/h and spitting onto the road. This is a picture of Mr. Saruj (notice his left hand is glued to the hooter) –

Your probably thinking, yeah, well I’ve driven around the M25 at rush hour, that cannot be beaten. Well checkout this video of Mr Saruj, bear in mind also that the vehicle is a 4WD. See how Mr Saruj uses the “hard shoulder” as a go faster lane and puts the vehicle in any gap he finds when in traffic and uses the main beam lights to signal other road users to MOVE! I was going to leave the sound in but I decided to cover it up with music, the lyrics go “my life in the speeding car, too much to lose, my life to you” – this is what I was thinking while sitting in this car. The sound is just Mr Saruj on the hooter anyway. When we stopped at the hotel the only thing I said to the guy was – “you need to slow down Mr Saruj” he didn’t speak any English so just gave me a blank stare, waited for me to close the door behind me and then sped away into the night. Mr Saruj also ran out of petrol at one stage and he went running off to get some (after having to borrow 100Rs). Leaving me and one of my colleagues stranded in a parked vehicle in lunch time heat somewhere in Delhi near a roundabout.

Anyway, time for some nice things. Here is a picture of India Gate, isn’t it lovely, you can see the presidents home in the background. We left as soon as the tourist hagglers turned up with their postcards and books “just have a look” they demand –

This is a picture of the shops underneath CP (Connaught Place) –

This is a picture of me near Connaught Place absolutely boiling whilst carrying my 20Kg bag –

This is IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) a huge campus –

The Hindustan Times on Tuesday has a story about Delhi Belly on the front cover, and I quote – “…over half the British tourists to India developed diarrhoea, also known as Montezuma’s revenge, caused by infection of enterotoxigenic E. Coli. Statistics showed that British travellers were worst affected as many reportedly did not wash their hands…” – I found it amusing.