Saturday, January 29, 2005

Journey to northern Bangalore

Yesterday, I took a trip to northern Bangalore to have a look at my son's new school (he and my wife will be coming over in late March). The Canadian International School looks nice, but what really caught my eye were:

-- Groves of eucalyptus trees

-- Banana trees, well within the city limits

-- Thirty- to 40-foot tall bamboo

I also checked out an area called RMV Stage II, where some who send their kids to the Canadian school live. Lots of REALLY nice houses. My driver said it's nicknamed "the Dallas Colony," as in the prime-time '80s soap starring Larry Hagman as J.R.

After tooling around that area and another area, I've decided to go with the relocator's Plan A -- an apartment called the Brigade Orchid near Mahatma Gandhi Road. Living there will be the Bangalore equivalent of living just off Fifth Avenue.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Mothballs in the Drains?

One thing you notice fairly soon after you start living in Bangalore is that there are mothballs in the drains in sinks and bathtubs.


It keeps the bugs from crawling up the drains.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Things I'm Still Getting Used To (In a Good Way)

Indian mustic in the elevators (well, why not?).

The sound of tablas and other traditional instruments going up or down is a welcome relief from what you hear in most elevators in New York or London.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

False Alarm

Last week, on the way to work in an auto-rickshaw, I saw what looked like a fuel tanker -- with a clear fluid dribbling from a rear nozzle. The nozzle was wrapped in electrical tape.


Turns out that it was a water tanker, not a gasoline tanker. And the clear liquid was water: also a precious commodity but not one that's going to incinerate you and your fellow motorists.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Where the Heck Are We?

In my short experience here, much of Bangalore has street signs in Kannada, the southern Indian language. And the alphabet is not the Latin one.

So, how do you find your way? And how do you tell your auto-rickshaw driver how to get somewhere?

Landmarks. Which explains why the best street atlas of Bangalore shows lots of landmarks: shops, restaurants, schools, hotels, businesses, etc. So, for example, if you go by the Cauvery craft shop, you know you're on M.G. Road (M.G. is short for Mahatma Gandhi).

So, you might not tell your rickshaw driver an address to get home. You tell him to take a left at the Mahindra auto showroom, then another left at the Fiat showroom.

CORRECTION -- The cow was not eating garbage

The cow was actually munching on garbage-strewn grass. And there's another cow. Both appear to live in the same small lot in my part of town, Koramangala.

Lots more to report but little time. I'm still unpacking (long story) AND I am very busy at work. But I will try to write more.

I'm staying in a section of southern Bangalore called Koramangala.

Sunday, January 09, 2005


I landed in Bangalore around 6 a.m. today. It's now the afternoon. I have had a full day.

Things that caught my sleep-deprived eye:

-- Airport Road, which (duh) leads from the airport, is dusty. But around 7:30 in the morning, there are women cleaning up the sidewalks with straw whisks.

-- Lots of auto-rickshaws, which are a cross between a car and a motorcycle (you sit in the car part, the driver steers with motorcycle-style handlebars). The vehicle is open to the air (Note to self: Do NOT use auto-rickshaws during monsoon season unless desperate. Or wearing waterproof jacket and trousers).

-- Lots of people going barefoot.

-- Bullocks dragging carts (Note: A bullock looks like a cow but has two big horns.).

-- A cow in the street leading to my apartment building, eating trash alongside a couple of dogs.

-- Alongside all of this, gleaming modern buildings bearing company names like "Dell" or "Intel."

I went to the Taj West End for a welcome-to-Bangalore brunch with my new colleagues. The brunch featured Indian, Lebanese and Italian food, in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian varieties. It was very nice and very filling.

That's all for now. I'm wiped out and need some sleep. More later.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

OK, NOW I'm Flying Out

I'm waiting at Heathrow for my flight to Bangalore. Today will mark two firsts for me: my first time in Asia and my first time in the Middle East. I'm taking British Airways to Abu Dhabi, where I'll spend about 5-1/2 hours. Then, it's on to Bangalore via Gulf Air.

Needless to say, I am dreading the long flight (OK, it's not as bad as flying to, say, Singapore or New Zealand) but am very excited about seeing Abu Dhabi and my new home in India.

I gave Diane and Jay big hugs this morning just before I got into the car to take me to the airport. I won't see them for about three months, and I know I am going to miss them terribly.

My next post won't be for a while. The flight gets into Bangalore around 6 a.m. local time, and I've been invited to brunch later that day by my new colleagues. So, most of my day will be spent sleeping or unpacking.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Er ... Not Flying Out Quite Yet

Turns out I had to stick around London just a little bit longer. My revised itinerary calls for me to fly out at 9:25 a.m. on Saturday, arriving in Bangalore the next day at 7:05 a.m. ... after a 5-1/2-hour layover in Chennai (the city formerly known as Madras). Ugh.

The reason: Lufthansa's less strenuous direct flight from Frankfurt to Bangalore is very popular. And there are no seats available on Saturday. Oh, well.

In other thrilling events, I got my last set of shots on Monday: Hepatitis B and rabies .

And I found out where I'm going to live. A condo called Halcyon, which (naturally) has a Web site. (I don't think I'll be in a closet. In fact, I think the place will be BIG). Check out the Picture Tour.