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Monthly Archives: August 2013

The sounds of travel… death by baby wail!

Oh those innocent little tykes. Those big dark moist eyes. Those little fingers that fetchingly reach out. Cuteness incarnate until… Mouth opens wide and unleashes…. THE HOWL!!!!

Yes I've shamelessly borrowed this from an IDBI Fortis campaign - hope my friends there will forgive!

Yes I’ve shamelessly borrowed this from an IDBI Fortis campaign – hope my friends there will forgive!

There is something about flying in and out of India. For that matter most countries with a youthful demographic. There are always kids – LOTS of kids! And in some cases, they have the most amazing lung capacity. One sets another off and soon there is a symphony of screeching.

On my recent trip from Mumbai to Jakarta, I had their sweet serenade from the queue outside the airport, the wait to check-in, then the wait for immigration, followed by the wait for security so that even before stepping foot on the plane…  their lungs were clearly well-primed already for the coming concert. My head was throbbing in accompaniment long before we even took off!

These munchkins are champion caterwallers and – alas – can keep it up ALL night. Nothing can hold back the anguished wails. Noise cancellation headsets at ear bleeding levels cannot compete. (more…)

The Glenlivet range, Edradour, El Dorado

Part of a series of tasting notes from a monthly private whisky club in Mumbai, India.

Tasting Notes from 18 July 2013

In a slight departure from our standard format, we tried ‘blind’ four selections in rapid succession before they were revealed. Followed by a 5th whisky and a rum.

“Our host for the evening had a surprise in store! We were warned at the outset there would be 5 samples with four to be tried without revealing the whisky in question until all were tasted.”

Intrigued, our sampling began… (more…)

Back in Bombay… and straight to Bandra!

Its my first trip home to Mumbai since landing a super cool project in Jakarta. I managed to arrange a flight route (via Bangkok) that permitted me to arrive in time for a friend’s new gallery / event space launch. We reached just as the music began, what joy to be serenaded by a dear friend, munch on macaroon treats, sip wine and generally enjoy terrific company in a convivial atmosphere. Our friend has done well with this new venture!

For those unfamiliar with Bandra, it is a special neighbourhood – a catholic bastion with strong proud traditions that has become rather popular with ex-pats – including those seeking a more ‘regular’ life not bolstered by insane high salaries and expense accounts. You know the type – locally hired foreigners who have chosen to stay and forgo all the ‘extras’ that come with a pampered ex-pat nomadic life!

Particularly the immediate area around Veronica and Chapel road, one can still find old bungalows and a sense of community. The space I found myself just a few hours from landing is one such bungalow… That was falling into complete disrepair until along came friends with a huge labour of love and rather more money than they planned – transforming it into a new avatar – an enchanting space to enjoy for eclectic events and show off funky furniture.

Rapt audience

Yes we were a rapt attentive audience!

(more…)

Happy Independence Day India + Indonesia!!

india independence day photo: 15 of August independance day india-independence-day-effects.jpg

Today my adopted home India celebrates its Independence Day. On Saturday I fly home from Indonesia – as it celebrates its Independence Day.

While the boundaries of the nation-state seem out-dated in this remarkably connected world we live in… Pride in who we are, where we come from, a sense of community and belonging can be a good thing.

So here’s a cheer to India & Indonesia – may you have much to celebrate on these  days with more to come!

— From a global citizen privileged to enjoy both India & Indonesia!

indonesian Independence Day PHOTO

Related posts:

A proper “princess” penthouse pad!

My "princess" pad

My “princess” pad

While I’ve said enough about being aghast at discovering I’ve become a picky princess when it comes to places to stay, my adventures in Jakarta house hunting experienced a temporary reprieve with the discovery of a short-term studio apartment in CityLofts Sudirman.

It is connected to CityWalk Mall – full of restaurants, cafes, wine bars and even has a Whiskey Baron (my whisky aficionado side is intrigued tho have yet to try!). Nearby are more independent high-end restaurants for those moments of extra indulgence – my 1st day here went to Harum Manis – what a delicious feast!

The view is spectacular and my photos don’t even come close to doing it justice. Being here during Lebaran was such a treat as I watched all the fireworks from exhaulted heights! Comfortable, spacious for a studio, high-speed internet, lovely pool, my caffeine addiction was fully supported with a large French press and great cafes downstairs.

(more…)

Oban, Deanston, The Six Isles + Yellow Spot

This is the 1st tasting notes post from a monthly private whisky club in Mumbai, India. We are into our 3rd year and somewhere along the way I became the unofficial ‘scribe’. Hope you enjoy!

Tasting Notes from 20 June 2013

Following our standard format, we blind tasted before revealing the whisky. This month featured: Oban 14 year, Deanston 12 year, The Six Isles and Yellow Spot.

“Oh us fortunate few! What an evening it was!”

(more…)

Winnipeg Folk Fest Part 2 – With a LOT of help from our friends

I woke up this morning to an email from the Winnipeg Folk Festival asking for my mailing address in India to send a commemorative poster of the 1974 inaugural fest as a thank you for joining the “40 Years of People” workshop. It prompted me to start publishing posts on our recent trip, starting with one I drafted on the flight back from Canada… And missed publishing in the flurry of preparations for the unexpected job in Jakarta. Enjoy!

Goodnight 'n goodbye all!

Goodnight ‘n goodbye all!

It’s officially over and we made it home safe n sound despite our 1st flight being cancelled.

While there are lots to share, want to begin at the end… with a massive heartfelt THANK YOU to many folks who made it possible for us to fly all the way from Mumbai to Winnipeg with zero camping gear. This was luxury camping compared to my old camping stuff (long since wandered way away to better homes).

Here are a few things for which I’m infinitely grateful: (more…)

“Happy Holidays!” aka the Jakarta exodus

There really wasn’t time for any ‘planning’ or ‘preparation’ before this trip to Indonesia. Everything came together quite suddenly. And while instincts screamed there wouldn’t be much we could do the week of Ramadan, we had been assured that technically only 8-9 August were holidays so at least some people would be working the balance days. Furthermore, for such an important project, it was critical we demonstrate our commitment by being on the ground ready to work.

What happened? Friday (2 Aug) late afternoon as I was about to head out to hunt for apartments, learned that the office would be closed. As in an hour from when we were informed, it would be fully shut until Mon, 12 August 2013. Not only would the office be closed, the entire building would be. Not only that, but the national holiday was extended to the full week as well so Jakarta would shortly become a ‘ghost town’.

I had already been considering heading to Bali or Gili islands for the latter half of the week. The work would be ‘virtual’ those days anyways, so why not do it from a blissfully relaxed beach? Why not indeed!? (more…)

Teaser Tuesday (6 Aug 2013)

TeaserTuesdayTeaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read

Open to a random page

Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

Here’s mine for the week:

“You know the first time I talked about distance in miles, Anja assumed a mile wasn’t very far until I told her a Norweigian mile was equal to ten kilometers. In Canada, a mile is one point six kilometers.”

Pg. 248, Trolls Walk in Words by Randi Skjolden

PS This is a self-published novel by a friend and ex-colleague, based in Winnipeg, Canada. Her book is keeping me company in Jakarta, Indonesia!

Adventures in Jakarta apartment hunting

So the Jakarta accommodation saga continues… The “Princess” now has to admit, this hotel is growing on me. After getting out and about a couple of times, realised the ability to walk to the office is PURE GOLD! The gym is well-equipped, the food is good (today’s lunch was gado-gado), staff super nice and the poolside terrace restaurant really quite lovely.

Poolside gado gado - yum!

Poolside gado gado – yum!

With a change in room, no more shower head battles, figuring out how to turn the A/C off, making peace with acrobatic contortions under the table to use the single power point, getting the telephone and wi-fi fixed, buying sundry toiletries, am now quite comfortable.

Especially when I started to explore the alternatives… Apartment hunting with Lebaran (Eid al-Fitre) around the corner is well…. just silly! (more…)

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