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Monthly Archives: November 2013

Music Musings – Lenka

Do you ever hear a song and just smile? This Music Musings feature is pure pop – Australia’s Lenka who performed in Mumbai at blueFROG last weekend.

Lenka singing her heart out!

Lenka singing her heart out!

We’d missed a few good bands that came to town in the last few weeks with the uncertainty of return dates for the Jakarta project… so decided enough was enough… time to get out!

The Tour is to promote her new CD – Shadows. (more…)

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An unexpected guest

One of the things about living in India (and many other parts of the world!) is there can be a casual impromptu approach to popping over to someone’s home.

The other night was such an evening where my partner bumped into a friend when he was out, so the friend came home to savour a couple single malts, nibbles, music and conversation for a few hours. It was a relaxing, thoroughly enjoyable and completely unplanned evening.

However after he left, we had an unexpected guest… who stayed for the night. (more…)

My 1st class flight to nowhere!

Mumbai's new T2 (Photo: see sources)

Mumbai’s new T2 (Photo: see sources)

Clutching passport, Emirates 1st class ticket, bags, grab a trolley, rush into the new international terminal. Hurrying up, navigating security check of ID and ticket at the entrance, finding where our check-in counter is… impatiently waiting…

1st class flight

1st class flight

Except it’s actually a fake ticket, fake flight and in reality just a fascinating simulated airport experience!

I, along with some 1600 others, spent our Saturday helping test out the new Mumbai International airport terminal. When my friend asked if I could play the role of a weary jaded international passenger… the obvious response was ‘Hell ya!’

And that I did with other friends – including one who got to pretend to be sick. Except she actually was sick with a slight fever and generally feeling crappy. I, naturally, got to play the role of a concerned friend,  yelling at the poor lady trying to check us in while the systems were down as we waited and waited for medical attention. I used my imperious best “This is simply not acceptable! Who is your superior?” All duly recorded on camera… I groan to think of how my manufactured nastiness will become fodder for training years hence on how to placate upset travellers.

For those not familiar with Mumbai’s airport – there are a few interesting elements to keep in mind. While the volume of passengers for the international airport may not seem like much in the global rankings, it is quite remarkable considering both domestic and international share one main runway in the middle of Mumbai’s suburbs.

Aerial view (photos: see sources)

Aerial view (photos: see sources)

Mr GVS Reddy, developer of the project has been quoted as describing the complexity of building a new terminal while both the existing airports remain fully functional as being akin to “… conducting an open heart surgery on a marathon runner, when he is in the middle of a marathon.”

With a vision of making the airport one of the best in the world, Terminal 2 has been built with a four-level terminal with an area of over 4,39,000 sq. mts. With new taxiways and aircraft parking designed to cater to 40 million passengers annually, it certainly has promise.

One of the walls which is 1.2 km in length and 18 feet in height will have the largest public art programme in the world as 6,000 pieces of Indian art from the 8th to the 19th Century will be curated on these walls. The sneak peek was definitely one of the highlights and while none of the photos below are mine (yes – I strictly followed the ‘do not photograph’ policy of the test participation rule), there were definitely a few highlights and lowlights.

Highlights? The flower ceiling lights and art  – don’t miss the wrestler’s (ahem) torso with a reasonably endowed ‘package’ in a bright red loin cloth! (Again.. apologies no pics!)

http://www.rediff.com/business/slide-show/slide-show-1-mumbai-airport-stunning-terminal-2/20130322.htm#1

Check out the ceiling lights (Photo: See sources)

Lowlights? The lack of power outlets in boarding gate, longish walk from arrivals to immigration and the toilets. I’m sorry but in a new airport, who on earth decided to have stairs to the Indian toilet leaving zero room for a strolly? Bad enough with the Western style toilet which is also small and where your bag can perhaps perch on your lap, but I’m sorry, squatting and holding a carry-on bag do NOT work!

All in all it was a fun but exhausting day. Who knew it would be so tiresome to pretend to be traveling!

Sources:

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Urban Language Myths: “You Just Pick It Up!”

A must read for anyone who has ever wrestled with learning another language! You SOOOO do NOT just “pick it up!”

Lady Of The Cakes

“Have you heard? Dave’s moving to Egypt.”
“Does he speak Arabic…?”
“No, but he’s good with languages, he’ll just pick it up!”

I take it we’re all familiar with this conversation.

OK, let me hand it to you straight: A language is not a bunch of keys you’ve just dropped onto the floor or a box of washing powder. Nor is it a venereal disease. You do not “just pick it up” by casually passing through a supermarket or someone’s bodily fluids.

The harsh truth is this: Learning a language is darn hard work. There are days when you just want to hammer your head against a pebbledashed wall.

A widely held – and wildly unhelpful – misconception is that one must possess this magical quality called a “talent for languages” to learn a second language in adulthood.

Let me tell you this: Talent is hugely overrated. To succeed at…

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Urban Village – Peak-a-boo!

Here’s another urban village wandering with my favourite subject – the neighbourhood cats.

Peak-a-boo! You can’t see me!

Cat-20131012-01087

Just look up silly! I so can TOTALLY see you!

Cat-20131012-01084

These guys just have that awww adorable quality.

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Glenfarclas special

Part of tasting notes from a monthly private whisky club in Mumbai, India. This session is from our ‘archives’ and was a special event hosted by the Four Seasons featuring Glenfarclas.

Tasting Notes from 24 Nov 2011

Our ever evolving evenings brought our intrepid whisky sipping souls to the Four Season for a special evening with George S Grant of Glenfarclas family. For those unfamiliar with this distillery, the following story may be of interest: (more…)

Urban Village – When did that happen?

Lady of the Cakes has some great series like her ‘Cat Talk’ and ‘Street Snaps’. I can’t even come close to her perfect blend of photographic talent and genius wit!

However it inspires sharing the occasional random ‘snaps’… I’m particularly fascinated with the contradictions of places where urban and village life combine or collide.

In Mumbai, we live smack dab next to a “village” which I cut through on my way to the market. There are always interesting sights and, I’ll admit, I have a special fondness for the cats. One I’ve seen since she was a kitten. With all the travel in the last few months, hadn’t spotted her til the other day… in a somewhat compromising position… so simply had to share!

BEFORE:

Minding my own business... checking out the world below...

Check out the poor tart with kittens below me…

I’ll never be that foolish!

AFTER:

Holy crap! I've got kittens?! And they are greedy suckers too!

Holy crap! When did that happen?!

And they are greedy suckers too!

I dunno about you, but she looks pretty startled with her current state to me. 🙂

Any before / after pics that amuse you? Care to share??

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Winter is coming… so make soup!

Winter is coming to my ‘home town’ of Winnipeg… while here in my ‘adopted home’ Mumbai, it is perpetual summer. And yet I find myself in a strangely sentimental mood thinking about friends and family in colder climes. So, what to do? Make a ‘winter’ inspired soup, of course!

Winter is coming! (The Weather Network)

Winter is coming! (The Weather Network)

The trick with this ‘Winter soup’ is to predominantly use root vegetables. As with the ‘Sick Chick’ and Monsoon Soup, a pressure cooker makes all the difference.

Here are the ingredients: (more…)

Music Musings – KAN

Growing up in Canada, one is no stranger to celtic music. My sister’s partner is a drummer and for years was in a celtic band best known for rousing and raucous renditions of pub favourites.

KAN (Photo: Louis deCarlo)

KAN (Photo: Louis deCarlo)

Years ago, I saw the celtic folk group Flook perform at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, so when I learned that flautist Brian Finnegan‘s latest group KAN would be performing in Bombay at Bandra Bandstand’s amphitheatre, wasn’t going to miss it!

It was KAN’s 1st performance in India to kick off their tour organized through Celtic Connections and British Council. A warm, humid Bombay greeted these lads from Scotland, Ireland and Northern England, dripping with sweat, they were undaunted by the heat and technical issues, entertaining with jigs, reels and tall tales. (more…)

The Friday Night Phenomenon – TGIF in Jakarta!

What are you doing this Friday night? Is it time to cut loose? Shake a leg? Knock back a martini (or two!)?

In Mumbai, I find the more interesting activities seem to happen during the week so by Friday, a quiet evening at home with my partner is perfection!

In Jakarta, after slogging all week – morning, noon and night! – on client work, by the time Friday comes around, I’m desperate for a little non-work socializing. And have discovered nothing is better than a little “Frivolous Friday Fun” after a busy week.

And because I’m in Mumbai this Friday but missing Jakarta, have decided to revisit a few favourite Friday’s in Jakarta with you…. (more…)

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