A Travellerspoint blog

Parenting in the 21st Century

sunny 35 °C

Last Sunday I had cause to spend the day sitting by the hotel pool watching the world go by (what a shame!).

I couldn't help watching the fathers and sons in the pool. One man was obviously trying to teach his younger son to dive. But he could have done with learning to swim first!

Dad's solution was to throw him into the deep end then shout at him as he sank. It was only the action of his older brother that stopped him drowning.

Then dad pulled him out of the water, shook him, shouted some more then pushed him back in. The kid was terrified.

I then moved (as the shouting was getting irritating) to a covered area near the pool and sat with my laptop to surf the net. I also had my ipod in my ears. Suddenly became aware of a total stranger standing so close his stomach was pushing my left arm, just looking over my shoulder at what i was doing and shouting to his friends. After a while he moved away but it left me feeling vaguely grubby for some reason.

We went into Bangalore last weekend to show 2 new colleagues around (it is their 1st time in India). We went for lunch at Hard Rock Cafe (the safe option) only to find out it was a dry day (no alcohol) due to local elections. As you can imagine, drinking 7-up didn't go down all that well!

Well I am back to the UK in a couple of days and I am having conflicting feelings. I want to go ho
me of course to see my nearest and dearest but I am going to miss this place. But I will be back in a month so not so bad.

Happy travelling!

Lx

Posted by LellyM 03:32 Archived in India Tagged business_travel Comments (0)

Somewhere different

storm 0 °C

Well, at the request of my boss I "popped over to China for a week on my way back to India" as he said I was already half the way there.

I have been there a few times but it never feels as comfortable as India. It just feels more foreign. I guess it is the language difference as most people in India can speak at least a sprinkling of English.

There are other aspects of China that I find very diffcult:

1) spitting. What is it with Chinese poeple and spitting? They seem to do it all of the time. You can't put a bag on the floor without it landing in a puddle. I know the air is poluted but it isn't that bad.

2) slurping. Having had a number of meals with Chinese suppliers I am amazed at how well they slurp. Everything!

3) Food. I am veggi. Now I can get a plate of mushrooms and mustard greens with no probs but from the taste they have been cooked in chicken stock. They just do not get the idea of being veggi.

4) personal space. As this is the most populous place on earth I have got used to the idea that all lifts etc are crammed full of poeple but I do find that this has led to a total disregard for personal body space. I have had people pushing so closely behind me we were almost intimate.

5) Alcohol. The British have a reputation for hard drinking but at an evening meal we do not hold a candle up to the chinese. Most nights, as I have been visiting new suppliers, they take you for a meal then break out this bottle of white "wine". It is a form of saki. I believe it is called Moutai. It is as powerful as neat vodka and it is served in tiny glasses (usually, sometimes in small tumblers). Then there is a shout of Gambai (down in one) and it becomes a competition to see who can survive longest. The last meal I had with a group of Chinese men saw them taking it in turns to go to the en suite loo to vomit!

Now don't let this put you off going. It is a fabulous country to see. The culture is so different. The people are very friendly and want to make you feel welcome. I have seen some amazing places (Great Wall, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Tianenman Square) and have seen things I would never have believed.

But if you are going for business travel remember, present your business card with 2 hands, receive other cards the same way, do not write on them, pout them away safely and respectfully. And get practicing the chopsticks. They will being you a knife and fork if you really need it but I have found my hosts appreciate the fact that I am almost as dextrous as a local!

So go for it!

Posted by LellyM 23:09 Archived in China Tagged business_travel Comments (0)

Well I survived!

This is when you know you are unfit

sunny 35 °C

Well, soent last Saturday visiting some amazing temples in Kanartaka. The 1st is a Jain temple called Shravanabelagola which has a 60 - 70ft statue carved from a single lump of stone. Really beautiful.

But what they didn't tell me was that it was at the top of a huge hill and we had to climb up.

Not too bad if you are young, fit and healthy, but when you are 43, fat, unhealthy with high blood pressure and just recovering from the flu you feel like you are going to die.

Half way up I was sitting on a step, head between my knees gasping for breath.

But I survived and i am so glad I persevered as it was a truly wonderful place to be.

We then went on to 2 more places Belur (Chennakesava temple) and Halebidu (Hoysaleswara temple).

Both of these were amazing architecture and history. OK, you have to run the gauntlet of the "tat sellers" - "hello madam, my name johnny, buy my postcards - maybe later. Remember my name". But that is all part of the fun.

The temples were amazingly beautiful. But what did surprise me was some of the carvings. This is a country that frowns upon ladies wearing anything that shows a bit of flesh yet they have Karma Sutra carvings on the outside of temples that, if they were in the UK, would be top shelf or brown envelope material.

The problem is, these tend to take a lot of attention away from the rest of the temple as you could see tourists pointing and nudging each other.

One thing I would suggest is that you pay for a guide. They are not expensive. A couple of hundred rupees with get you a detailed tour. But prepare for the commentary to be like something out of "Goodness Gracious Me" (Uk indian comedy show). For those who haven't seen it there was a father character who spend the whole sketch talking to his son and claiming everything to be "Indian" (including Shakespeare). Well these guides were the same. They would find a carving that showed something that could be interpreted as a man looking upwards through a tube and claim it as evidence that Indians had telescopes 400 yrs before Gallileo. Now they may be correct but when this has been said about 1) mini skirts 2) cropped trousers 3) manicures 4) ear rings 5) womens hairstyles 6) Army helmets 7) Lawyers gowns/bathrobes (each guide had a different theory) etc etc it does get to be quite funny.

One thing I will say, if you visit temples, even if you are wearing flip flops, carry a pair of socks to put on when you leave your shoes at the entrance as the stones get incredibly hot. We all ended up doing meercat style hot hopping. There are mats but when you have scorched your feet they are also uncomfortable.

My feel are still tender after 2 days!

Lx

Posted by LellyM 21:23 Archived in India Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Another week around India

sunny 30 °C

Well, I am back in Bangalore having spent the last week travelling around Gujurat and Maharastra. Good experience. When I arrived in Ahmedabad (Gujurat) I was surprised at how different it felt to Bangalore. I struggled to put my finger on exactly why but I think it was just wider roads, less traffic and less dusty.

The town I was in is virtually all T Total and Veggi. Not that it worried me at all.

During the journey from the airport to the factory we passed a Hindu funeral procession.

It was certainly a public affair. Lots of people, banging drums, ringing bells, shouting, and the body was being carried shoulder high on a pallet, covered with a white cloth and lots of flowers.

I was a bit conflicted. I wanted to take a photo to show friends and family but on the other hand, I didn't want to take a photo out of respect. In the end I didn't - the guy I was travelling with may not have liked it and I'd hate to upset him.

This weekend is a bit of a tourist trip to see some amazing places about 170 km from Bangalore. It will apparently take 2 days so I am looking forward to it.

So, if I get any decent photos I'll try and post them.

Lx

Posted by LellyM 21:43 Archived in India Comments (0)

Frustrations of the Female traveller

29 °C

Well, this last couple of days I have experienced some of those reactions from local men that make me wonder who is crazy, me or them?

It all started in the hotel pool when someone asked my 27 yr old male colleague if I was his mother. Great! Good for the self esteem that one.

Then checked into a new hotel in Ahmedabad (Gujurat) and the staff keep calling me "Sir". I know I am tall and well built but I am also a 48D chest.

The reason I link these 2 events is that I think essentially they come down to the same topic - in India they do not expect a woman to travel alone (unescorted!) so they assume I am either with my colleagues (in the biblical sense) or a man.

Amusing the 1st time especially when they get all flustered when they realise I am actually a WOMAN. But it does get a bit irritating.

So, as I said, I amnot in Bangalore at the moment. I have travelled up country to the Gujurat for a couple of days then it is back down to Mumbai then back to Bangalore at the end of the week.

It is nice to see different bits of this most glorious country even though it is currently trying to tear its self apart. There is conflict in Hydrabad with the Telengana state mob, an 11day old baby killed in Kashmir by a mob, India and Pakestan seem to be playing diplomatic chicken - lets see who flinches first, and, a couple of weeks ago, the IPL debarcle when no one bid on any Pakestani players.

Now, I am not going to get political is not my place to make judgement (being a visitor to the country) but it does seem like the counbtry sometimes does everything it can to be disfunctional. And it is a shame as it is this kind of unrest that makes people nervous about travelling here.

I can assure everyone, if you stay a-political and distance yourself from any political groups over here you can live in peace and will generally be left alone.

OK, that doesn't mean to say you are immune from acts of terrorism but you are almost as at risk in somewhere like Birmingham or London as here. Just tread carefully and be respectful.

OK, that's it for now. More later.

Lx

Posted by LellyM 19:22 Archived in India Tagged business_travel Comments (0)

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