India - another typical week

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Asia » India » Karnataka
May 8th 2016
Published: May 11th 2016
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Hey all!

I use this blog to remember things and keep my family and friends up to date on what I’m doing… but anyone is welcome J

Monday 2nd to Friday 6th May 2016

This week was another typical work week so no exciting pictures… more random ones I’m afraid. Jane my colleague stayed Monday and Tuesday and it was really nice to have a visitor and see a friendly face. I felt terrible I had to send her off to work without breakfast on Monday… (as we’d got back from Pondicherry so late the night before the shops were shut, Brian sorted the situation during the day so she had something for Tuesday). Brian was still recovering from being sick so we didn’t eat out, Jane taught me how to make pasta bake in the combi-oven, it was a revelation!

This week was a Uni essay writing week so I went into my standard crazy mode. It’s the penultimate one (after 7 years) and I’ve had enough now. A couple of times during the week I thought about just stopping but thanks to Brian’s encouragement I got there. It just took some late nights and a little bit of wine which always helps the writing process. I also had some stuff to do for Believe In Better (the charity I'm a trustee of so had to be good at multi-tasking.

There were some interesting trips to buy wine this week. One day on the way home I asked Noor if we could stop somewhere other than the Spar (because it takes so long) so he found a liquor store and parked outside. I went to get out to go and buy it and he said “NO mam, I will go”. I was like “what’s up Noor… I can go?” and he wouldn’t let me because he said it’s not a nice place to go because the men in the shops drink. So in he went with some instructions to buy any bottle of Sula (Indian wine) and he came out with a good one. Jane told me later her driver is also protective of her going into liquor stores because it’s not typical for women to go in them.

Another time I got home and Brian and I went together to buy wine. That whole hour or so trip was one of the most ridiculous and funny hours I’ve spent, it was like something out of Fawlty Towers. I don’t think I can explain it in a way that can do it justice (it’s one of those things where you had to be there) but I would like to remember this in years to come so I’ll try…

Noor had finished for the day so we ordered an Uber. Everything started off well, we saw it on the little map driving towards us and within a few minutes it was outside. So we left the apartment and in the parking lot Brian asked someone he didn’t recognise “Uber driver?” and the guy said “Yes”. Now I thought that was a bit strange as I’d seen the guy earlier but went with it … until it became clear to Brian that this guy definitely wasn’t the Uber driver (turns out he’s the new caretaker).

So we went out onto the street and saw the Uber car… parked in a dark spot which meant I didn’t see the dogs mess all over the road and stood in it. In flip flops. I was not impressed and got in the car pretty unhappy, trying hard not to get it on anything. Brian and I nearly had a domestic as he could see I was a bit pi**ed and I wouldn’t tell him why (I didn’t want to alert the driver to the situation) but when I managed to get the message across he said “Me too”. He was just dealing with it better than me!

We didn’t know the address of the liquor store but Brian knew where it was so directed the driver. We started off well, heading in the right direction then at one particular junction it all went wrong with the conversation going something like this:

Brian: “That’s it, straight, keep going straight”

Mr Uber: “Left?” Brian: “No, straight”

Mr Uber: “Left sir?” Brian: “No. Keep going straight”

Mr Uber: “Not left?” Brian: “No. Go straight”.

Mr Uber starts turning left.

Brian: “No, don’t turn left”. We keep turning left.

Mr Uber: “Left yes?” Brian: “No, you are doing the opposite of what I want you to do”.

Mr Uber: “Straight?” Brian: “YES, straight”.

We continue turning left.

Brian (sarcastically): “Perfect”. Mr Uber (excited and pleased with himself): “Perfect Sir?” (at this point I couldn’t hold the laughter in anymore).

So then Brian had to try and recover the situation which wasn’t easy because of all the one way streets. The driver kept on not following instructions and we ended up down several dead ends. I think he realised it was a bit amusing because one time when I couldn’t help laughing he laughed with me. Brian saw somewhere he recognised so we got out. And as we got out Mr Uber said “You give me 5 stars man?” and Brian was like “Yeah I’ll give you 5 stars bro…for comedic value”.

We made it to the liquor store and it was really good, lots of choice. On the way back we took an Auto and this driver definitely knew where he was going and what he was doing. I did fear for our lives at one point though! We approached the main road (which we needed to be on the other side of) and there were 4 rows of moving traffic coming from the right… my first though was oh great we have to get in that and then find somewhere to do a U-Turn (which takes ages) but oh no… fear not… the Auto man was not going to waste time and without any hesitation just headed straight out into the traffic! I couldn’t speak… Brian just said ‘Oh my god’ and somehow… despite feeling like fishes swimming upstream… we made it!

Brian seemed to have a good week. He found a good dentist (one of the best dentists in the city is a short walk away from my apartment…) and it’s amazing how cheap everything was. He also found some nice places for breakfast and lunch. And had some interesting encounters with Usha. Brian does not enjoy having a maid (I feel quite uncomfortable with it too but I can see how helpful it is during the working week). Usha is very efficient but speaks limited English (so it’s hard to explain what needs doing) and doesn’t have a regular start time so she’s either waking him up or delaying any trips out. She’s also quite fond of washing up things as he’s cooking… and still using them. But one day he decided to go out once she’d arrived and leave her with instructions for shutting the door. It took a few attempts and on the first try… whilst he was demonstrating how she should leave and shut the door… she got the wrong end of the stick and thought he wanted to leave so after saying a hasty “Sorry Sir” (bless her, she must have thought she’d done something wrong) put her shoes on and left the apartment. He had to go running after her… he finally thought he’d got the message across… only to come home and find the door wide open! I’ve had some trouble too with helping her understand that the key I’ve been leaving with at security is for her to keep… and that she needs to lock the back door. So I’ve now enlisted my lovely landlords help to explain.

Other eventful events of the week were a huge cockroach arriving in the apartment which thankfully Brian dealt with (he was willing to pick it up to put it outside!) and me causing a scene at work when I tried to heat up my lunch in the microwave. It exploded (and before anyone – aka Dad!) – says anything I was using a microwaveable container, in the right way) and exploding butter chicken is not pretty. I was so embarrassed, everyone crowded around… I tried to clean it up… nobody would let me clean it up and then the cleaning lady who happened to be nearby gave me the most unimpressed looks… I saw her the next day and smiled and I got another very unimpressed look :/ We also went out to a really nice Indian restaurant called Tandoor with the neighbour Marcus (who we’d met before) and his wife Elin (who’d just come back from overseas). That was really nice and the food was amazing… although I got a shock when I realised that the huge amount of food we’d just eaten was only the starter. My landlord also bonded with Brian during one daytime visit and asked us round for tea, that was really nice and I feel lucky to have such a good landlord.

Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th May 2016

The weekend was pretty lazy. Saturday we had breakfast at one of Brian’s finds… the 154 Breakfast Club. It was soooo good, they even had baked beans but they were too sweet to be Heinz. We then went to Forum Mall Which is not far from my apartment. That was really good, so big with nice shops (including Accessorize and The Body Shop) and lots to do. I could waste a lot of time there J We were going to go out for dinner at Binjara Junction (which the landlord had recommended) but it got a bit late once I’d got to a good point in my essay so we attempted to try takeaway… the restaurant told Brian to use an App called Swiggy… which we did and it was great. So many different takeaway options! We ordered from Binjara Junction (they wouldn’t accept an international card so had to pull all our cash to pay to do it and make it with a few rupees to spare) and I was so excited that you could watch the progress of your order… and the journey of the guy from Swiggy going to collect it. It was seriously good food, Brian said it was the best Indian meal he’s ever had and one of the best meals he’s ever had.

Sunday was all about essay writing (grrr) and packing. Brian cooked a lovely breakfast and the landlord arranged for Biryani to be delivered which was amazing. In the evening we went to the PVR cinema in the Forum Mall to watch Captain America in Gold Class. It was £10 a ticket and something a bit special, entering into a lounge which had pretty much a full on restaurant menu and seats that were fully reclining… our popcorn and drinks were delivered to our seats. The only trouble was that those seats made you felt sleepy. We got an Auto back which is always fun…

At the apartment we chilled and finished packing up… we were leaving in the early hours for the airport. I was going ‘on tour’ with work to the north and Brian was leaving India, his tourist visa expired on Tuesday and he had to go back to work L Neither of us were very happy about it but we’re used to saying bye now and at least this time we had a plan and knew when we’d see each other again. I will visit him this time (flights are booked!) which is the least I can do after he came to India… something that I’m incredibly grateful and thankful to him for because it’s made the move so much easier… and more fun.

Next up Gurgaon, Chandigarh and Jaipur.

Lots of love.

Rach Xx


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