November 2004 in Bangalore through the eyes of an Englishman -  Contact  Current Month  Previous  Next  Index  Software


Bananas on the tree - not a sight you see in the city
Bananas on the tree.
25/11/2004

At the eleventh hour we've finally got sorted out with the new apartment. It's now a done deal, and we have the key.

Bangalore is a tough place when it comes to renting apartments. The customary deposit here is 10 months rent, yes, that's not a typo, 10 months. If you think of that in a NY context the mind boggles. For a very modest 1 bedroom apartment these days you're probably going to have to pay $2,500 a month, so on the Bangalore basis you'd have to find $25,000 up front to rent an apartment. OK, the apartments are much less expensive here, but for most people, the deposit is still a killer. This is just an Indian big city thing - Bombay, Delhi, Chennai, and Bangalore. Elsewhere its probably a month or three.

Anyway, it's done. So now before the weekend we need to acquire a fridge-freezer and a washing machine. Then we'll have just about enough to sparsely furnish the place. Or at least that's what I think now. I'm sure when we get in we'll find that there are many things we've overlooked. It's amazing what you take for granted.

Of course, this will involve yet another discontinuity in BEV. For starters I'm not likely to get anything done this weekend but move all our stuff down a floor, and for seconds, it will take time to coax the phone company into getting our phone number and Internet connection to follow us. I'm not holding my breath, so cheers for now.

Sinquerim Beach
Sinquerim Beach.

Dudhsagar Falls
Dudhsagar Falls.
21/11/2004 - Excuses, Excuses

Well, I was in Goa for a week, then mysteriously the computer ceased to work, with all sorts of problems. At first it wouldn't boot - came up with some DOS screen message about inserting a diskette to update something or other. The next day it relented and booted, but then I couldn't log on because it wouldn't take my password. Eventually it relented on that too, but then the keyboard was producing gibberish. By that time it was pretty clear that something had been spilled on the keyboard, and that this was part of a slow drying-out process. Eventually, Terry and Nisha confessed. Now, having ordered a new keyboard at the Toshiba agents yesterday, it appears to have recovered, and the remaining keys that were in a bad way produce the correct characters.

Goa was a pleasant break. The 'hotel' was actually a collection of chalets, with two to six rooms, scattered around some nicely maintained gardens next to the beach, and complete with the statutory coconut palms. My son Richard, and his wife Cathy arrived the day after us, and we ate with them most nights.

Of course, I got most of the way there only to find that the memory card for the camera was still in the card reader on my desk in Bangalore, and had to find a photo shop and get another. Consequently I missed some of the most spectacular sights of the trip. The picture is one I found on the web. Much of the south of India is a plateau about 1000m above sea level. In the west, there's a sharp descent down to the coastal plain with some pretty spectacular cliffs and steep slopes covered with tropical forest. The Dudhsagar Falls occur where some river drops about 600m from the edge of the plateau.

We spent the week doing nothing, mostly sitting in or by the pool at the pool bar, with occasional breaks for eating, or a stroll on the beach, or retreat to the air-conditioned room. It was hot - 35C or thereabouts - and humid. I guess if we'd been there a fraction longer, I'd have been moved to do more exploring. There are some interesting old Portuguese buildings there. Another time perhaps - I'm pretty sure we'll go back.

Coming back, Terry declined the train, and I sent her back on a plane. I went back on a sleeper coach, which is actually faster than the train, and pretty cheap. However I'm not sure I'd repeat that experiment. About half way back, I reached the conclusion that I was the only one still awake on the bus, including the driver. He was all over the road, while still driving quite fast. I went up and talked him back awake. He was suspect for a while, but eventually we reached a way station and picked up his replacement driver who got us safely into Bangalore, more or less on time.

Not a happy camper
Not a happy camper.

But there's life in the old dog yet
But there's life in the old dog yet.
4/11/2004 - Could Be Better

We're back to the weekday blackout - almost literally in this case. I woke on Tuesday morning with a slight sore throat and a runny nose - Captain Trips maybe. By the end of the day it was clear that my perennial sinus infection had done one of its leaps, it had escalated, and I had a bronchial infection. Of course I intended to go to Cambridge Hospital that evening and get myself looked at. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

By Wednesday night I was suffering for my delay. I left work at about 5:30, having left my bicycle at home. After the strenuous exercise of walking down the stairs and sitting in an auto on the way home, I was badly out of breath - pretty scary. So this time I polled out of the auto in front of the hospital and went in. It was deserted, and the afternoon duty doctor was about to leave, but she took pity on me. She stuck me on the bed and listened to my chest, grimacing. "You have a bronchial infection and an asthma attack."

She proceeded to write a laundry list of a prescription. Two ingredients for a nebulizer inhaler concoction, two injections, a shot of antibiotic, and one of some steroid, a weeks worth of brochiodilator pills, and five days worth of slow release antibiotic. I was impressed, and significantly pleased, when having gone to the pharmacy next door to get the stuff, the nebulizer vapour allowed me to breathe again.

I got the shots intravenously, which was a pleasant surprise, since I'd expected to get them in the arse. OK, I'm not getting any younger, and I should look after myself, but you know how it goes. Then to compound all that, we have dubya back for another four years!

Tomorrow we're off to Goa for our holiday/vacation. My doctor was distressed at the idea, but I'm going. We'll probably leave without knowing whether we have the new apartment - I haven't been able to contact the man. Anyway, what I'm getting at is that there will be another break of service - like what's new - until we get back next weekend. I'll take lots of pictures so you can all be jealous.

Got to go and choose clothes for Terry to pack now. I'll try and fit in a fragment before we go tomorrow. But I must get my hair cut first otherwise I'll go there looking like a sheep.

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