My first trip to Bangalore in February 2005 was, practically speaking, the reason I started blogging. Somewhere about there the blog, as it became, was a few years away but my first travel blog post was written about that first trip to India.
Now I’m on my way back. Ten years, many miles, many places & many moments on.
Here’s my favorite moment from that first blog post.
Saturday I had my first true taste of Indian food when I had masala dosa (a bready pancake with a spicy filling) at breakfast. Even better than the food was our first rickshaw ride to MG road. Anyone familiar with bumper cars will already know something of the feeling you get riding a rickshaw. These guys don’t mess about, if there is a gap in the traffic they lurch for it regardless of whether it is even on the right side of the road. Buses hassle cars, cars harass rickshaws and rickshaws bully bikes. The result is a jerky, noisy adrenaline filled ride. Fantastic!
A friend of mine is off to India (Dehli and Goa already planned) and asked me for travel tips. Here is what I said…
“I stayed in Bangalore which is a massive, sprawling modern city kinda similar to Delhi but probably not on a top tourist list. If you do go there the city markets are great and so is the Bull Temple. There are also some good bars and restaurants.
My top picks outside Bangalore would be:
Gokarn (aka Gokarna) Karnataka, west coast of India – nice beach and laid back people, a lot less touristy than Goa. We stayed in an old cattle shed, just walked up and asked the guy if we could stay there.
Uttaranchal, north India – we went camping, rafting and hiking in the foothills of the Himalayas. Very cool but quite a bit of bumpy roads driving to get to the pristine hills. Worth it for some quiet time and great scenery.
I loved the lost city Fatehpur Sikri at Agra and Jaipur which I guess will be on your Delhi/Triangle trip.
Great veggie food – Gobi manchurian is great spicy battered cauliflower; palak paneer (cheese and spinach) is good too. For the old stomach upsets I recommend Pudin Hara. It is a minty herbal medicine that you can get in a liquid or a gel capsule.”
Originally posted 4/2/2007 at 11:33 PM GMT on Xanga
As I said in my previous entry I intend to start up the old blogging again. I have been somewhat out of action the last year but feel ready to commit some time to this again. And as I am hoping to be off to the States for a while I still think this is best way to keep in touch with others around the world.
So to start head off I want give a little update on what has been happening.
India finished for me in May 2005 after heading to Uttaranchal to do some rafting and hiking! Which was fantastic fun and awe inspiring. There is an inappropriate footwear story there but its too long to tell at the moment, some other time.
When I returned to the UK I started on my first project for ThoughtWorks which I really enjoyed and was a nice place to start.
I took a holiday in September to see my friend Joe get married in Calgary and had my first (if brief) tour of the Canadian Rockies. Breath taking. It was a fantastic holiday, a relaxing break and a great place. I hope to get back there soon.
In February this year I headed off to Poole with my second project and learnt a lot about the world of banking IT! A few months there making good friends and learning a great deal brings us pretty much up to June 2006. Whereby I finished in Poole and headed on holiday – to New York, Tulsa, Rockies and Arkansas.
Here are a few photos from that….
– Here is Sam with the cheesy ornaments from her flat… these people have taste!
– I decided to wear the traditional outfit I brought way back in Feb. The accessories were added at the party!
There was eating and drinking….
– Sinead with the vodka jellies
– Warren, Shane and Fred indulge.
It rained and they played.
– Clare, Tom, Shane and Sam wet from the monsoon.
I’ll fill you in on all the details at a later time but for now enjoy the pictures.
5th April 2005
Eeeekkkk!. I’ve been so slack in keeping up with these blogs that in order to get through all I have done, seen and experienced since my last blog I’m going to have to summarise at break neck speed. Hold on!
The weekend before last 8 of us bootcampers (I think that is the official name we went with in the end?) headed out to Kerala for Easter. The excitement began early as one member of our party, travelling in from Goa, took nearly every form of transport known to man to get to the flight on time. If he hadn’t stolen a rickshaw from a father and his family he never would have made it. Shame on you Neil!
We spent our first afternoon and evening on a rice boat sailing round the backwaters of Alleppy. It was fantastic and peaceful and beautiful and so unlike Bangalore. We were all very happy. Our food was delicious and we had a few drinks so everyone was pretty chilled out and mellow. We took advantage of being at the coast and had a quick splash about in water. It was warm and as Michelle remarked oddly like a summer bath. Not being able see through the water made me wary and I found myself holding my legs high in the water in case there were beasties there. I guess that’s what happens when you’re familiar with monsters such as Nessie.
The following day we moved on to the Lake Palace Resort that was located on one of the thin strips of land that scatter the backwaters. It was funny when we arrived as Shane has previously mocked the resort as the worst building he had seen on the shores yet, although he had scoffed at its seemingly opulent demeanour in comparison to its surroundings, he was happy to be indulged for just one night. We spent the afternoon lazing around the swimming pool and in the evening headed to the restaurant. We were a little upset to find that even such a luxury resort as that could not provide us with wine. Oh well, we did manage to while away a few hours with Kingfisher, pool and each others company so it wasn’t all bad.
Back in Bangalore it was all change again. First of all, Neil and H left. We had the, now obligatory, visits to “the stand up” for their leaving meals. There are many stand ups in Bangalore, so called because you eat standing up, and they vary from streetside chat stalls to larger standing restaurants but “the stand up” – I don’t even no what it is really called – is the place to be. It has undoubtedly the best Gobi Manchurian (cauliflower in Chinese style sauce) I have tasted while in India and it has the amusing location of “left at the cow”. H first introduced us to it not long after we had arrived in Bangalore I think we have been there at least once a week since. Anyway, this place has become somewhat of a TWI ferengi hang out and whenever one of us leaves we head there to celebrate or commiserate and eat Gobi.
Also, it was all change on the project front for me again as on Wednesday I was off Beachball and on to the Engagement Dashboard. This switching of project was good as I had the opportunity to work on a small short term project again. However, again it didn’t last long as yesterday I was on to Beachball again. As one may imagine this switching has left me quite disorientated and I am left somewhat unnerved by the frequency of these project changes. I have been reassured that this situation is unusual and that it is nothing to do with my abilities but I am still slightly concerned that I will return to the UK without any real (longer than a week at a time) experience.
In addition this week I have experienced my first case of institutional bureaucracy. This had sadden me as I was convinced by the bootcamp teachings that this kind of, basically non-Agile, behaviour did not happen in TW especially on our own projects but alas it seems it does. When I get more confident in my ability and team position I hope to be able to tackle and resolve issues like this.
Moving back to my free time chat, the weekend just gone 16 of us booters went to Goa and had a blast. We stayed at an excellently located resort on the beach at (kindly organised by Neeti and Vikram) and spent much of the weekend gallivanting around and being very touristy.
On Friday night we headed, on a TW recommendation, to Club Cabana. It was awesome. The club is set in a mansion-esque house on a hill. You can see it from miles around because it is all lit up and flashing. Once you have paid entry all drinks are free, but unlike clubs in the UK where drinks are free, it wasn’t crammed full of really drunk people and the bar wasn’t rammed so you couldn’t get to it. The amount of people there was enough for there to be a good atmosphere but not enough to be over crowded. As it was bikini night lots of people (males as well as females) were dressed in bikinis and despite it being late in the season there was still a party vibe. I (and I think Desi too) were most impressed by the toilets. These were weird as they had walls but no roof so it felt like you were outside yet you were inside. Nice touch.
– Goa sunset
On Saturday a small group of us hired scooters. It probably wasn’t the best idea as some of us hadn’t rode before and the scooters we hired were a tad dodgy. The scooter Ian and I ended up sharing had an uncontrollable accelerator that nearly mamed Suhindra. I lost my nerve a bit after this and so on Ian ended up taking care of the driving.
– Me on the scooter… before I drove at Suhindra
This was probably a good thing as on the way back from breakfast at a quieter beach on Sunday morning Desi, Shane, Ian and I were stopped on our bikes. We were asked for our driver’s licences and fortunately for us Desi, Shane and Ian had theirs with them. I did not. Had it not been for our messed up accelerator I would probably be have been driving the scooter and would now be sitting in a Goan jail for driving without a license. Lesson: if you must hire a dodgy scooter make sure you take license with you at all times.
– Ian and I on the scooter… while we are riding, before we were stopped by the police!
Other cool happenings over the weekend were: being in the sea at sunset, seeing a cow and its footprints on the beach, drinking Feni (a Goan spirit that tasted like downing a mug of whiskey), excellent Fish Rice Curry (a Goan speciality meal), the night market full of hippies (where we all brought too much), the hospital-like sleeper train and continuous platform announcements, the epic 4 hour journey from the resort to the train ride home, weird-yet-good music in the beachside bars and hanging out with a lot of cool bootcampers. I had an amazing time and despite the often cheesy feel to Goa I would definitely recommend it for a seaside break.
-Breakfast at the beach with Vikram, Divya, Desi and Shane
– At the night market with Saumya and Shane
– Cow on the beach
I was sad to leave Goa and come back to the real world but guess what..? James will be here at the weekend! I am very happy and excited about this. I have started a list of places I want to take him here in Bangalore, hopefully he will like them all and we will get chance to do everything. It’s hard because I will be working in the day but Clare, Tom’s girlfriend, is visiting and so hopefully she will be able to show J around.
Wow! Well I think I have exhausted the anecdotes from the last two weeks of fun. I’ll get working on the next lot now.
Posted 4/7/2005 at 7:55 AM GMT on Xanga
– Here we are just before he heads off.
Later in the week we went to see Vikram (fellow bootcamper) in a play at his uni. It was excellent.
– His is here …