Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Happy Birthday, Marc!

It was Marc's 31st Birthday yesterday, 28 November. We went for dinner at a Chinese Restaurant "Mainland China". After dinner, they brought him a Bow tie Birthday Cake (Crushed Bow Tie with Ice Cream) and did the Happy Birthday to you sing song thing... O, yes...notice the cool jacket he is wearing (birthday present from me of course).
We couldn't wait to get home to try out our new sofa that was delivered today. It is very comfortable…especially after sitting on the patio sofa for a week. And if you're wondering who that is next to Marc.....It's me with my new hair colour.
Marc recons it was easier to spot me with my blonde hair, when I go wondering off in the crowds though!

SMart - Our corner supermarket

Ok, well it's not exactly a Woolworth's food but it will have to do. This is the only time we get to drive ourselves, on a dirt road through the bundus to buy the basics.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Holy Cow

Cows roam the streets, cause traffic jams and you often have to walk in the street because a cow is blocking the side walk

About the sacred cows:

In Hinduism, the cow is considered sacred and its protection is a recurrent theme in which she is symbolic of abundance, of the sanctity of all life and of the earth that gives much while asking nothing in return. Most Hindus respect the cow as a matriarchal figure for her gentle qualities and providing nurturing milk and its products for a largely vegetarian diet. Hindus do not worship the cow, yet it holds an honoured place in society, and most Hindus do not eat beef.

- Indians consume milk on a daily basis, and the cow as a provider of milk, is equated to one's mother (hence the expression Gom├Ąta = mother cow)
- Traditionally, Indians had cows in every household. They were part of the family, with names and personalities. Just like one would not hurt/eat their pets, the Indians did not hurt the cows and respected them.
- The cow has a special role in the Hindu mythologies; Kamadhenu is a wish-fulfilling cow. A cow is also depicted as vehicle of several deities.
- Many social reform movements in India (Jainism, Buddhism, the Bhakti Movement, Gandhi's non-violent movement) advocated non-violence, and no cruelty to animals. So in India, other animals also (like elephants, mice, monkeys) are considered holy.

That said, many ethnic communities do eat beef in India. The cow meat is consumed by Roman Catholics, Anglo-Indians, and several other non-Brahmin Hindu communities.
Slaughter of the cows is banned in several states, as it is offensive to some Hindus.

Home Sweet Home - Finally

We've been busy the past couple of weeks. Between Marc's meetings with colleagues and clients, getting settled into his new job and house hunting. We found a house that we liked and we believe it will be a nice home during our stay in Bangalore. They are currently busy with a couple of renovations. We are looking forward to moving in on Saturday. We have ordered some basic furniture which should be delivered within the next couple of days, until then we will have to sleep on a mattress on the floor but it's a small price to pay to get out of the serviced apartment. It's been almost 6 months and we've had enough of hotel living!

We also have a car and driver which makes it much easier to get around. However, our driver Ram is from Delhi, which did cause a bit of headache. Luckily they've organised a local driver Nagraj which should make our lives much easier.

Our home with Car and driver on the left

We've had to buy all other household items from pots and pans to toilet brushes. As you can imagine it was quite a task finding everything, let alone finding the style or colour that we want. I can safely say we now know what it feels like to "shop till you drop". We walked out of the one home store (Like a Home Zone) with 4 guys carrying bags of stuff. Saturday we'll have the task of unpacking and sorting it all out.

Streets of Bangalore

Imagine these Cows pulling carts of goods, holding up the traffic

Bragade Road is one of the most famous shopping streets. There are of course a lot of large modern shopping malls as well. Curtain things are really cheap but you can also buy any brand name that of course comes at a higher price (still cheaper than home, though)

Commercial Street..More Shopping

Government Buildings:

The Vidhana Soudha is the seat of Karnataka's Legislative assembly

The Karnataka High Court, also called Attara Kacheri, is the supreme judicial body in Karnataka and is located in Bangalore

Bangalore - City Overview

Bangalore, known as the beautiful "Garden city" has now metamorphosed as the "Silicon Valley" of India, where opportunities for a satisfying student life abound.

Bangalore's colourful character, it's cosmopolitan culture, the green surroundings, the perennially cool weather and the tranquility of the campus surroundings makes it a conducive environment to live and study - it is not surprising that many students choose Bangalore as a place for study.

At a height of 3,250 feet above sea level, it boasts a salubrious climate with innumerable parks, gardens, lakes and tree-lined avenues giving it the sobriquet "Garden city". Bangalore has a moderate climate throughout the year due to its elevation (1000m). It boasts of delightful weather all year round, registering a mean temperature of 27.1 C (80.8 F) in the warmest month of April and 20.48 C (68.8F) in the coldest month of January.

The nature loving citizens have planted many trees along the roads which has enabled the city to maintain its green looks despite its rapid expansion. Bangalore is therefore aptly called the "Garden City."

Amongst the leading research institutions Bangalore is home to, are the world-renowned Indian Institute of Science (IISc), the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), the Indian Institute of Astrophysics and Aeronautical Development and the Raman Institute of Physics.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Our last weekend in Mumbai

We had lunch at Leopold Cafe in Colaba, probably one of the most well-known restaurants in Mumbai.

We walked around the main street in Colaba (the gateway of Mumbai where a majority of the tourists stay)

We decided to go to the Hard Rock Cafe for a "Legendary Burger"....the best burger we've ever eaten "Yum".