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Tokyo Day 3 / Shanghai Day 1 – Travel time!

My July 2014 Tokyo Chapter closed uneventfully with the usual travel routine of wake-up, breakfast, check-out, flight and off to my next stop – Shanghai – with an extra bonus!!

Tokyo Day 3

Thanks to the practical and sound advice of a very knowledgeable traveler, I booked my flight out of Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and entered China at Shanghai’s Hongqiao Airport. (more…)

The good, the bad and the ugly – India’s air pollution exposed by Obama’s visit

Why does it take the visit of the US President Barack Obama to highlight that India has a serious air pollution problem?

Some may have missed a small footnote in the excitement over the US President’s visit. It was initially suggested Obama, chief guest at India’s Republic Day Parade, should remain indoors as the air quality levels is hazardous to his health?! Naturally you can’t be chief guest at an outdoor parade without being… well.. outdoors! But at last there followed a series of articles in the press about just how bad pollution levels are in India. (more…)

“How come you don’t have an accent in Hindi?”

Just as my English has a “chameleon” quality (see “Can you drop the Indian accent?”), I’m often asked “How come you don’t have an accent in Hindi?”

I've got Hindi, what about you? (Photo: www.tattoodonkey.com)

I’ve got Hindi, what about you? (Photo: http://www.tattoodonkey.com)

Usually I explain that I have lived in India for more than a decade, studied Hindi in Delhi for a year augmented mid-way by a very helpful 6-week stint at the Landour Language School (near Mussourie).

What follows is generally “Aaah! That explains it!” type response. Because the ‘real’ Hindi is naturally from North India!

Yet I’m aware that my vocabulary has shifted between what is typically heard in Delhi to ‘Mumbaya’ words. And has deteriorated abysmally as my universe in Bombay is almost exclusively English.

When I lived in Delhi (1995-96, 2003-05) there were multiple daily opportunities to speak Hindi or at least ‘Hinglish‘ – in which one switches effortlessly between English, Hindi, blending words from each language. Today, I’m honest enough to know that when folks complement my Hindi, they are being terribly kind – even I can hear how badly I mess up!

However I have a few perspectives on this… and wonder if anyone else agrees? (more…)

“Your flight is cancelled”

It was not a promising beginning…. “I’m so sorry but your flight from Winnipeg to Toronto is cancelled.” Stunned, we explained we had onward flights to Brussels then Bombay so we really HAD to reach Toronto.

En route to the airport, we had just been discussing how in Canada planes now never fly empty. Why? If there aren’t enough passengers to make it somewhat viable, the flight is cancelled.

Ottawa Off & On (photo: Carissa Hickling)

Ottawa Off & On (photo: Carissa Hickling)

The good thing was the woman helping us immediately grasped our quandary and overcame all sorts of impediments to get us on the next flight to Ottawa connecting immediately to Toronto in time to change terminals and catch our international flight – provided NOTHING was delayed.

(more…)

Mega Malls for Meetings? Bangkok’s Terminal 21

Bangkok Terminal 21 (Photo: Carissa Hickling)

Bangkok Terminal 21 (Photo: Carissa Hickling)

Too much time in shopping malls and I get kinda spacey – a weird loopy ‘get me the hell outta here!’ phenomenon. My partner shares my tolerance level so we when we’ve hit our ‘limit’ – no questions asked, it is an immediate exit stage left right out the door of whatever massive shopping complex we find ourselves. We also do NOT step into a mall without a very clear purpose and focus.

(more…)

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