Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
I hired a driver for the whole afternoon. I would say it's nice being driven around instead of being frantic and lost, but everywhere we go requires him to ask at least 6 people where it is. These are the major sites listed in my guidebook. Maybe he doesn't recognize their names in English.
He asks me to go over the list with him every 15 mins or so. Each site is next to a bullet and below that is its address, just in case he needed it. He points to the address and asks what it is over and over and over. Maybe he doesn't know the word address.
And then there are the constant suggestions that he take me to an Indian mall to look at rugs. I say no and he says, "but this is India, madam! You must buy rugs!" NO I say. "Okay thank you madam... Just look at rugs maybe..."
I fully expected to spend much of the day in the car. And really it's not so bad because I see a lot from the car and it's not quite as hot in the cool cab as it is outside. Somehow my driver has managed to find the places on my list, including one of the places I had on the list as a lunch option. It was recommended in Lonely Planet and it's part of a hotel, I think, so I feel safe trying Indian again.
I invited my driver to dine with me, but he stayed outside to watch the car. Good karma in asking, though, I think.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
As we drove up to the beach I had a suspicion that there was nothing really there. The driver paused a moment after I got out and then he left me.
Some kids surrounded me as I tried to stroll on the beach and although I have handled this okay in the past I absolutely could not deal today. One brushed my arm and I jerked away. They laughed at me. They giggled more when I spun around and sped back toward the road.
I was stuck.
I had no choice but to take a non-air-conditioned cab. This may seem like no big deal until you've sat in traffic with the honking, oh my god the honking. I asked the driver to take me to a museum. A half hour later I asked how much farther. He said about an hour. Oh no, I said. Grand Hyatt Mumbai, please.
I came back to the room, hot and sweaty, and it was being cleaned. I hit my head on a shelf and burst into tears when I got into the elevator. I think I may have failed Mumbai 101.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
We were tempted to buy a fresh fish to have cooked at a local restaurant, but we suspected that might be dangerous to our health. I'm sick of drinking luke warm drinks with no ice and having to be a snob about the bottled water. Even my Indian coworker had said to only drink the Aquafina. Certainly not the McWilliams with the shrink wrapped seal around the cap and the water filled right to the brim. "You forgot your water!" the waiter called after me. "That's okay, I don't want it" I had to say. What a prissy American.
It is a seaside town, though, and we began to feel some guilt for not having any fish. At dinnertime, back at our hotel, we asked the concierge where he would recommend we eat. "Have you tried our restaurant?" he asked. Yes, we had. We did not add that it was our most disappointing meal yet. The food in the Mumbai domestic airline terminal was better. He offered to get us a taxi to a different hotel. "Where would YOU eat?" I asked. He hesitated. He did not want us to blame him if we didn't like it. "It may not be up to your standards..." he warned. Pah, we said, we were sure it would be fine. See? We are not snooty tourists. We eat where the locals eat.
We shared a veg biryani and a fish curry for all of about $2. At 3am Jeff began the dry heaves. Nearly 24 hours have gone by and he still feels like utter crap. At least we didn't drink the questionable water!
As the sun was coming up and neither of us was able to sleep, we admitted that we were playing chicken. If one of us had said the word, the other would have immediately agreed to leave. We assured ourselves that we are not bad travelers for eating in hotels when there is no middle ground.
Now we're back in Mumbai at a fancy pants hotel. We arrived at 10 pm, and since Jeff was not hungry, I ordered room service. No $2 meals here. My chicken sandwich cost $14.
I need to figure out what I'm doing in Mumbai the rest of the week, especially while Jeff is working.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Today we're going to take a ferry to another island to see an old fort. I admit we didn't do much research (okay, none) about this area, so we are kind of winging it. There is also apparently a bird sanctuary, which we will try to do tomorrow.
So far, there has been toilet paper in all the bathrooms I've gone in. The domestic terminal in Mumbai had a bunch of stalls with Turkish toilets and two in the back with western toilets. The locals were all using the squat ones. I can't imagine preferring those. I also can't imagine preferring to hose off instead of using TP, but all the stalls had a hose as well. Or maybe they do both. I didn't notice if the Turkish toilet stalls had both.
I have yet to try a real Indian mango lassi. But I did have a pomegranate milk shake at breakfast today. It was really just room-temperature pink milk, but I loved the idea of it. It drives me nuts not being able to use ice.
I bought an Indian outfit, but I don't know what it's called. It's not a sari. It's this one where there is a long shirt with slits on the sides and then baggy pants and a scarf. I really only wanted the shirt. Jeff suggested saving the clown pants to wear as maternity pants. I don't know if even then I'd be able to bring myself to wear them. The outfit cost less than $20. I would probably use the scarf, too. It's light blue and brown, one of my favorite color combos.
Although I had cell reception in Mumbai, I don't have it here. Jeff does, though, and he's also on AT&T. I paid $24 to have unlimited texting and internet access, so it better work when we get back to Mumbai tomorrow night. I was even able to text with Jen (who is in Hong Kong), which I wasn't able to do when I was at home. It makes no sense to me why it would work here but not from home.
ps -- Kerala is pronounced CARE uh luh.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Our room is by no means luxury,but there is TP. The shower is a faucet next to the toilet. We had a hotel room like that in Brussels, but much bigger.
The cars and the geese honk incessantly.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
ticket collector: This one lady said to me, 'No way am I showing you my ID!' I said, 'Lady, this is the rule now.' But she wouldn't do it. So I told her I was calling the police. When security arrived they said to drop it. What's the point of having the rule then?
black female passenger: Was she white?
ticket collector: Of course. And I was the big, mean black dude. What you gonna do?
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
son: How many people are in the world? Mom says a million something. I think it's a hundred million.
Dad: I don't think it's quite that many.... Want to find out?
son: Sure! How?
Dad (getting out his phone): Google!
Son: Who's Google?
Dad: Google knows all the stuff that mom and I don't know.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
2. I'm being taken on a secret field trip at lunch. At first I thought it would be something girlie like getting nails done but then I found out it is with 2 men as well as my female friend who invited me.
The fact that this space is not my "official" online journal makes it much easier to write.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
I worked until 10 on something that I didn't do correctly the first time and probably have to re-do again tomorrow. It's that mind-reading thing. I still don't have it down yet. Would make my job so much easier if I did, though.
I had 6 edamame flavored shumai for dinner and now I'm onto my cheese course. There may be a chips course after this one. I'm also drinking a River Horse Belgian Freeze. I really like this beer. Thankfully there is a 6-pack of it in my fridge, so I can drink it all week.
My dad's dad died today. He was 97 and he had had several strokes, so it was only a matter of time. When my mom called I didn't even get choked up, not like when she called me over the summer to tell me that Grandma didn't want us to visit her after all because she wasn't feeling up to it. I don't know why I took it so well.
There are so many stories I could tell about him, I wouldn't know where to begin. He was the last of the great story-tellers. I could never do his stories justice anyway. But remembering him telling stories the way he used to is what I will focus on, not the frail old man barking orders and forgetting who we were.
I cried a little when I got home, but I'm not sure if I was crying for me or for him or just out of exhaustion.
I think I need a second beer.
Monday, November 12, 2007
We made some headway on the apartment this weekend. I emptied 2 boxes of books because we realized that not finishing unpacking before the holidays due to some theoretical plans to paint was unreasonble. But there are still a good many more books. And that was after listing a bunch of them on Bookmooch and putting a good many into bags for Goodwill also.
It is so outrageous at this point that we aren't completely unpacked. It's embarressing, actually. But we have reached a point where there are no more obvious places for things to go. In the old place, my desk was in the middle room and next to it was a table, so piled on the table was all the extra stuff that didn't fit in my desk. Not the ideal situation, for sure, but with no table next to my desk, where does all that stuff now go?? And no, getting rid of it is not an option. And putting it downstairs in storage is pointless. Why store desk supplies in the basement? That stuff needs to be accessable. I think I do need to be more ruthless about what can be stored downstairs, however.
My old bedside table is next to my desk and it is still filled with the same junk that is has been filled with since I got it in 1999. It's the general repository for small things. But it has three drawers and perhaps some of that stuff can be consolidated and some desk stuff can go in it. I must be ruthless!
On Saturday we went to New Hope, PA, and Lambertville, NJ, for an early anniversary trip. They are both cute little towns, separated only by the Delaware River. We parked on the Lambertville side, walked around there for a little while, and then walked across the bridge to New Hope, walked around there a little while and then ate dinner. A coworker had said that Lambertville is better, but I didn't believe him. I had to eat crow this morning and admit that he was right. New Hope is mostly kitschy shops, while Lambertville is still an artsy town. Short trips like that are great because they are so inexpensive and there is very little travel time involved and certainly no cancelled flights. And we can bring liquids back with us! I decree that there will be more local trips in the future.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
The other day I got an email from their 3rd party biller telling me that billing for my site hosting had been terminated. I called the 3rd party and they said they didn't know why this was. So, I attempted to contact Cyberpixels. Haha. They really don't want to talk to anyone.
It was 4:30 pm on Friday. I call their hotline and get what sounded like an actual answering machine that lead me through a series of prompts that ended in a voice saying, "Thank you for calling!" and then I was disconected. I called again and got a voice mail box. The message said, "I am away for the weekend." And then there was a beep and then another message that said the mailbox was full. Nice.
I then tried accessing the online help. Their skimpy billing "knowledgebase" as they call it has 3 links. These link to videos, the site says. But who knows what they are because the links don't work. So, I wrote an email to a billing email, once I finally found it. No word yet. Typically, I have found, Cyberpixels tends to write back, if they do at all, about a week later, no matter the severity of the problem.
So, I am taking my business elsewhere. They could at least have someone in India on call all the time to field calls and emails. Even an auto-response would be something to grasp at.
The kicker is that the host that my friend Kevin suggested I switch to, AN Hosting, is a dollar per month cheaper.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
You are the hot wife of a formerly dorky high school friend. You didn't seem the typical stay-at-home mom, with your plunging neckline and sandals that lace up the calf.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Monday, November 5, 2007
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Friday, November 2, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Two women waiting in line for a taxi together --
Girl wearing blanket costume with most of her breasts showing: Ugh!
Other girl: Was that Jose on the phone?
Blanket: It's Julio!! Geez!
Other girl: Sorry! I'm not doing it on purpose!
Blanket: I know, but it hurts my feelings.