Saturday, 29 September 2007

The journey over & Night one

I will have to come back and retro fit some pictures ... I cant get them off my phone onto the hotels PC !...

So... we all finally meet up at the City Hotel near Liverpool Street train station... Mick was 1st at 8pm... Jon about 10pm... and I crawled in just before 1am.

We grabbed about 4 hours kip before heading off to catch the train to Harwich (I say "We" slept for 4hrs .. apparently I snored and it kept waking Mick up !).

You get to the ferry and getting on is so simple... I guess it helps that there were not many foot passengers... breeze straight on and head to the "Captains VIP Cabin" ... which turns out to be a God send on this journey:


The trip over was rough ... the Ferry was huge, with Cinema, casino, shops, etc etc.. but it was being given a real hammering... the crossing took an hour longer than expected and we spent most of our time laying down trying not to get sea sick !... only towards the end did it get smooth... I only managed two beers in the bar (shows you how bad it was !).

We had a quick look round Rotterdam last night ... its got plenty of shopping, loads of restaurants...

We checked out some of the surf shops then grabbed a Mexican before going for a schmoke... a quick beer, and ice cream ! :-)

Its a big place, but there was no trouble anywhere .. and luckily it was mild enough to sit outside with our beers and ice cream on the street and watch the world go by.

We hit the sack at 11pm last up at 7... just woken Mick up by mistake at 9... and Jon is nowhere to be seen...

Off to Utretch for the day to see what thats like...


Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Three wise men, four days in Holland...

... who says it will get messy ?! :-)

Wise Man 1:

Aka "the organiser"

Wise Man 2:

Aka "The pretty boy"

Wise Man 3:
Moby Mick

Aka "Im sure I told you...."

Almost forgot !

... I completed my task of eating in all three international restaurants :-)

Only to have it all ruined by that bloody gobby American woman ! ... she turned up again !.

I forgot to say she was even in the same Hotel that I went to with the Wipro guys on Friday night ... the mad woman is stalking me !


Good bye, and thanks for the fish...

Well, 2 hrs and im out of the Hotel ... they have finally been able to bill the Pru direct for my stay ... and accidentally included the cost of the massage and wine ... result !...

The Wipro peeps gave me some CDs as a leaving present... they know how much I like my music.. so they got me the latest Hindi party albums...


Should be interesting :-)

I also had a behind the scenes tour of the Wipro office... the best bit was out the back... they have 30,000 gallons of diesel to run 6 power generators... these kick in should the power fail in the office... they produce enough power to run EVERYTHING (not just PC's) for 7 days solid.

They gave me some ear defenders and I stood next to one of the generators that was ticking over and supplementing the power coming off the National Grid ... OMG the power and low base vibrations it gave off was pretty amazing ... gave me goose bumps !.

Got a wedge of pictures to post up over the next few days... but for now there will be a slight gap.. i'll then give some info. re my Holland trip...

Time to pack ... woot !

Laters !

Penultimate post

I would just like to say thanks to Sgian for replying to my posts over the past two weeks... its kept me entertained...

I also know that Claire, Claire's parents and Daz have been following this... so "Helloooooo "

Not sure if my mates Jon and Mick ever had a chance to get on ... so here is their chance to prove it :-)

Post a reply before I get home and i'll buy you a triple amaretto and coke on the Ferry :-)

Now I need a full cooked breakfast to help me recover from last nights wine session :-)


Last day...

So…. My last day in Chennai… and a time to reflect.

Is it as bad as my first impressions?.


And im sorry for jumping to such quick conclusions.

Once you observe the place for two weeks and also get to see it close up with a local (Wipro worker !) in hand everything changes.

There is poverty, but the kids are happy, and even the poorest have food, water and education.

The dogs, goats and cows may roam free… but they are all respected and they belong to someone somewhere.

Everyone is so friendly… not once have I felt out of place… I have been made so welcome.

Water is scarce, and when you watch people they use it carefully to clean themselves, brush teeth and clean eating utensils, this is not an unhygienic country (but I will never get over the toilets in some places !)…. And to back this up I have been fine… and had no upset tummy, head aches or ear aches.

Some police might be corrupt, but there is freedom of speech that will soon stop all of this.

The same freedom of speech will also stop all this nonsense of “rustic” people having criminal sentences reduced.

I stopped using anti mosquito cream here … there are none.

Litter is still a major problem… but they run adverts trying to re-educate people about the problems this causes…

And the beggars?… well, yesterday the roads were grid locked… so I walked for 20 minutes through side and main streets to the Wipro office… not once did I get any beggars, or funny looks or anything… I was made to feel like every other bugger trying to make a living …. They say the beggars here are professionals who wait by tourist traps… and you know what… I recon it’s true.

Would I come back?...

Two weeks ago I would have said no … but now… yes I would, but only for a week… being here has made me realise how much I miss my family.

By the time you read this I’ll probably be rooting through Chennai’s duty free shop … arf !

Laters !

Monday, 24 September 2007

iWoot :-)

How many times have you got off the plane and looked at all those men dressed in suits waving big name cards around with words like “IBM WELCOMES MR JOHN SMITH” or “THE BDS WELCOME HUGH CURRAN” and thought “one day, I wish that would happen to me” ?!...Well… my one day was on arrival to Chennai(!).

Chennai airport is weird… its small for such a huge city… but kicks any Mediterranean airport to the kerb just by the fact it has aircon enclosed tunnels from the plane … no dragging you stuff across the airport at midnight, sweating buckets to a bus here !.

As you skip the queue to clear passport control (for once, being European has a purpose !)… no standing in line with loads of Indian Nationals (and flying mid-week Business class was empty… so it’s like a Tesco’s advert…. Never more than two people in the queue !).

After getting your bags you walk through the empty airport to the exit … “pfffsssswiiiisssshhhh” (sorry, that’s a bad Star Trek door opening sound !) you get hit by:

  • Heat
  • Thousands of people all waiting for family, friends, to take your bag, to give you a taxi, etc etc !!!... I swear the line was 400 meters long … only towards the end of the line did I see it:





Woot !

There he was… short chap in a suit, black cap, white gloves in over 30 degrees Celsius with my sign !...

He takes my bags and walks me to his pride and joy (and believe me… this car is near the top of the Chennai “nice wheels mate” tree !).

A Honda Civic !

He opens my door… I step into a cabin pre cooled with aircon… he closes my door; loads my bags.

Next thing I know he opens the door again… and if by magic (your gonna like this… not a lot) he presents me with a cold flannel to cool down and a selection of ice cold drinks !.

Claire…. Take note .. when you collect me from Terminal 2 at Heathrow on Wednesday I want you holding a sign with my name on… a suit, white gloves and a hat !... don’t worry about the flannel… and mine is a cold Red Bull please.

This was one of those “the feeling in Andy getting his first chauffer…PRICELESS” moments for me…

Laters !

In the mood...

Just found out after busting a gut to get work completed by last Friday my part of the Project has been put back 12 months.


Im gonna drink the house white wine here … it could be the most expensive wine I have ever drunk (£30 for the house white... and it’s a screw top !)… if its not the most expensive it’s very close to the top of my list… I need Colin or Jon to remind me what we paid for the wine in Malmo Sweden.

I’ve eaten slated Cashew nuts from the minibar and have a cheese burger on order.

Then im gonna watch Mr & Mrs Smith on Star Movies.

It’s been one of those rubbish days.

Fly away Peter, fly away Paul ...etc.

My posts are gonna jump about a bit now... sorry ! ... today we talk Business Class travel..

Is it worth it?..... or do Ryanair have a better solution to air travel ....the answer... do they f*** !

When you fly business class in the UK or to Europe you go on a smallish plane, the difference to economy is that you sit two people across and not three.

You also have metal cutlery to eat your food with... no plastic knives and forks !.

But that’s it... not worth the cash.

I’ve never flown Business class long haul ... and I have to say... next time I fly to America the kids can sit economy and entertain themselves while Claire and I go Business class :-)

I stood at the gate in Frankfurt Airport and looked at the huge 747 sat outside....

I then looked at the sea of a thousand of people (* hence why I was standing) that were gonna fill that plane up... my heart sank... it would take age's to get on the plane.

But then the tannoy sparks up "Can all First and Business class board to the left", "everyone else board to the right" .... that’s when I noticed two gangways being used... ace ! .... I drifted past the hundreds of sweaty poor people to the door at the front of the plane.

So.. on board are 2 seats to the side... or 3 if your in the middle ... im at the side, sat down, thumbing through the technical manual for the Knight Rider style seat im sat in !...

30 seconds later .... found the back massager button.... ooooooo yeah that’s good !
45 seconds later .... I have tried the three basic seat settings (sat up, reclined, bed).
2 minutes later I have figured out how to tweak the chair settings and program it into memory... so if I need to sit up and eat I can get back to "just right" at the push of a button.
2mins 20 seconds... the food tray is out and put back away ... very important the food tray :-)
3 mins later... okay that’s the chair for the entertainment unit

Loads of radio stations
Loads of films
Loads of TV stations
Loads of (rubbish) computer games

All on a 12"(ish ?... could have been more) screen ... and you get a proper set of cans for your ears.

I stretch my legs... I cant touch the chair in front... and even if they recline they don’t move back... the chairs are in self contained unit things... the space is excellent.

So, I got to watch my three films.

Hot Fuzz... yeah, good film
Shrek ... okay
Pirates of the Caribbean .... great effects, rubbish film

For lunch and dinner you have a choice of three menus... they show you them first so you can make your mind up which to eat ... all served with lots of free booze (if you want it)..... and for good measure you have lots of free booze between meals !

They also bring round hot towels if you need to refresh, give you pillows, blankets etc... but no more little travel bags that my parents used to collect :-(

I was chatting to a chap at the hotel about flying BA as their Business Class looks even better than Lufthansa ... he had flown direct from Heathrow and said that the Long Haul planes to India had not been upgraded to the new chairs and entertainment units etc. so it was not that great.... sounds like I got a good deal in the end.

Worth a grand more on the price of a ticket ?.... hell yeah !

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Out for the day...

... actually... it made a change from staying in my room all day !... and although cloudy it didn't rain which was a bonus !.

Pictures of the day will have to be posted up later as they are on another camera.

  • Temple's ... okay
  • Crocodile park ... okay, got to hold a baby crocodile and had a snake round my neck... that impressed the locals and the Wipro chap... they are scared witless of snakes !
  • Villages of India... pretty boring apart from one thing, I had a parrot tell my fortune !... LOL !... this man shuffles a big deck of cards sealed in envelopes and tells a parrot my name and age... the parrot picks up and throws away cards at random then takes one envelope and gives it the chap... he opens the envelope and inside is a picture of Jesus, his family and a Christian Cross.
Now... considering im in India and the chap speaks no English im pretty impressed !, he then reads my fortune. In a nut shell im coming to the end of 8 years of tough times and things will be better for me in future. He says my Wife will be supportive of me over an issue in the next few months, I will do more travel in 2008 and learn more things... and that I will live to be at least 89.....

Up to the point about living to at least 89 I was quiet happy that yes, it was all true, but my liver does not believe it can keep going for that long !. :-0

Also, during the day I had a couple of sweet coconuts... they sell them at the roadside ... for 10Rps (a few pence) a chap chops open a green coconut and you drink the juice from it ... very tasty!, afterwards they open them up... and inside is the smallest amount of flesh to eat... its like concentrated coconut ... very nice, and much better than the brown coconuts we get in the UK.
Early afternoon we stopped for the traditional Chennai lunch in a hotel... mutton soup... very nice, then three different chicken dishes; again all very nice, but one, butter chicken... OMG heart attack city !.... it was like someone had melted 5 bars of Lurpack in a pan and sprinkled in some red food colouring and chicken as an after thought !... I mopped some chicken and juice with my Roti... very rich, you could not have eaten too much.

I then went to the toilet before heading into town to look at jewellery.... I took one look at the toilet and decided to risk holding in my number 2 for later !...

Now, im no expert at the cost of jewellery, and what is a good price.. I just go on what something looks like... I have always wanted a silver necklace and saw a nice 4oz solid silver one in a shop, but it did not have a price... do you know why?... its because they weigh the jewelry and charge you the current bullion price... weird or what ! .... the necklace was £28, and a design I have not seen before... so I thought "what the hell" and treated myself... turns out to be a bargain, a bulk standard 4oz sterling silver curb chain in Argos is £90.

Also, my chain is pure silver, not sterling silver (which contains copper to make it harder) so as a Pro its worth more, as a Con its softer and more liable to damage and will tarnish quicker and requires special cleaning.

I then looked at engagement rings again (after my shock last weekend at the cost of these things I was dead scared at looking again!) but with my mate from work and a more relaxed environment I took the plunge.... everything is 22crt gold and the diamonds are all guaranteed quality ... again, to get the price, the weight of gold is calculated, followed by the diamond grade and carat weight, et voila you have your ring price.

During this time my number 2 was knocking at the door to be let out... so, I look around, the shop is modern and full of well to do people.... I ask to use the toilets.... I walk in "Gahhhhh" its like at the Hotel I had lunch in !...

Im greeted by a hole in the floor to squat over.... to the left is a tap from which you poor water onto you hand and wipe your bum neat... yep ... no toilet paper in sight ... and yes.... the smell was worse than anything ive encountered in France !. My Number 2 took pity on me and retreated !.

At this point I thanked Diwakar for the day, dropped him off and headed back to the Hotel.... ahhh the relief of a clean, real, toilet with soft toilet paper.... :-)

Just eaten a banana and had two cans of Red Bull for dinner... i'll watch the Fantastic Four on TV tonight then hit the sack...

Laters !

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Ive been driving in my car....

Considering I only had two Kingfishers last night I dont half feel rough... and I had a bad nights sleep...

... Im gonna have trouble keeping this up for 4 days in Holland !

Driving in India...

The rules of the road are mix of British, Dutch, American and Indian flavours.

  • The British influence:

Cars are built correctly with the driver sitting on the Right.
Roads are built correctly, you drive on the left.
Stop signs, no entry, no left or right turn signs are available on the roads.

  • The Dutch influence

You drive in Kph not Mph.
Drivers from side roads have priority when pulling onto a main road.

  • The American Influence:

You can turn Left on a red light if the road is clear.

  • The Indian Influence:

Stop signs, no entry, no left or right turn signs brighten up the side of the road... just ignore them.
Traffic lights have a big digital count down next to them to show you when they will turn from Red to Green (that would be great for drag racing !).
Wing mirrors must be folded in or they will get knocked off... you know when someone is passing you... they will beep their horn.
When over taking beep your horn.
You can only undertake if you beep your horn and there are more than two lanes of traffic.
If you go past a child, cyclist, dog, goat (I forgot to say there are loads of goats on the road), cow or rickshaw... beep your horn, its not an insult... its just a warning.
When coming up to a width restriction, or when over taking, and a car is coming in the opposite direction in the middle of the road... who ever flashes their lights first gets right of way.
If your committed to a move and flash too late, and cant pull back in, put full beam on constantly... its means "mate, if you don’t pull over we are all gonna die !".
Speed limits are advisory.

  • What you must get if you’re driving in India:

Aircon?... it helps, but a soft top would give you a good tan.
Insurance?.... yes.
A big red flashing light ?... definitely ! ... these are given to government officials or judges... its gives you power to overtake and everyone pulls over... should you come to a red traffic light and there is a policeman there ... he will run into the junction and stop the traffic for you to jump the lights !.... Ace !.

All in all ... Pretty pimps really !.... I’m even tempted to ask to have a short go at driving myself :-)

Friday, 21 September 2007

Oh great...

... scratch my joy at getting a Beta key for COD4... the trial ends before I get back to the UK...


Would Sir like a kick in the balls with his bill?....

I woke up in a good mood today ... it must be the light at the end of the tunnel that I can see !

Having already worked 40hrs this week I decided to have a lay in today... then pop to the pool to do a few lengths before work.

I did have a numpty moment as I stepped out of the hut... it was raining... and I almost didn’t go to the pool because I would get wet... then I realised I would get wet swimming anyway! (come on brain... wake up !).

Looks like my Sunday will be a visit to the Crocodile zoo, see some temples... then have traditional Chennai meal served on a banana leaf (Oh oh ! .... my brain is already panicking.... traditional food = traditional restaurant = strong chance of being sick !).

So.... made it to the meal out tonight ... very flash 5 star hotel ... we get seated in the corner.

As a few of the others were on the drink I had two bottles of Kingfisher.. helped myself to the average buffet and was then presented the bill.... £115?... not close !... just a smug over £400... where the hell did the extra £285 come from...

Well... I checked the bill and got a shock.... over £200 spent on Bacardi !... Jez... only a few of them may drink but they drowned the stuff like water... AT £8 A SHOT !... and to add insult to injury the there is an additional "Luxury tax" on top of that £8.... AND a further "Import tax" as well ... wtf... im gonna become a Bacardi Barron !.

But hey... it's on expenses... at the end we all left happy... I came back to the hotel in the mood for a drop of wine... but at £40 for a bottle of Rose or £30 for the House white I gave up !.

Did manage to get my hands on a code for the COD4 beta trials tho... so well happy... I just need my 360 now !...

(Oh... and in other news from the UK... my 360 chatpad has turned up !).

Laters !

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Bally weather eah wot old chap...

I say, raining cats and dawgs at the moment ... the wet season has truly started... so much for getting a tan !...

Friday night I take the team out for a meal after work... plus me its 18 people ... food and service at this place is fixed at £115 for all of us !... not sure if drinks are included... but the Wipro lot are all teetotal so wont be much all in (yep... I have to pick up the tab... at least its on expenses !)...

Oi be stuffing moi face this Froiday...

And, as the weather is so bad I have decided to go out one more time... dont ask me where im going!... I just know its on Sunday... all I specified was... NO ELEPHANTS ... ive seen them get angry in the past ... its like 10 Micks after a bottle of dark rum Arf ! ;-)

I also jumped on the scales after a week of 2 meals a day and an hour in the gym each night....and.... ive lost bugger all weight ... but having said that, at least ive not put it on !.

Still not posted about the driving here... I need to sort myself out !.

Laters all ! (Please reply, it's lonely out here ! *sniff*)

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

It could be a village in Scotland !

Ive been following this in the Hindu Times over the last week:

1) Villagers in Vaishali were so angry at that police would not come out and apprehend thieves working in their village 300 locals took the law onto themselves... killing 10 thieves and putting an 11th in Hospital.

The local police never noticed this had taken place for 72hrs !

2) After investigating the situation the Police and local Government Official said Vigilantes would not be tolerated, and if it ever happened again every man in the village would be charged 5000Rps (£62).

3) All the Police and the local Government Official have been suspended after the bodies of the 10 dead thieves were found washed up on the banks of the river Ganga being eaten by crows and dogs... they were meant to arrange for them to be cremated, they told the locals to dump them instead !.

4) The same officials also shaved the heads to two children and paraded them in the Village after they stole some salt from a shop.

In other non related news:

An 18 year old boy has had his assault sentence reduced from 10yrs to 3yrs after appeal. The Court agreed to reduce the sentence as the boy was illiterate and rustic (WTF ?!).

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Delhi Belli .... Does he... does he not ?!

And the answer is NO !... I have eaten poached eggs, cottage cheese, chicken, fish and prawns ... had milk in my coffee, ice cubes in my Red Bull... and its all systems normal :-)

Sorry to let you down !....

Also... it is now 7 days without a beer for me too .... and I dont miss it... having said that my 4 days in Holland when I get back will undo all my good work !.

Im also sleeping 9 hrs a night... wayyyyy more than at home ... its a sign... im getting old (er !)...

Monday, 17 September 2007

Wipro... aka starting work at 4am !

So... its a few hours after landing in Chennai and Wipro have contacted me to say my driver is on his way....

8:30am on the dot a man in a white chauffeur's outfit introduces himself and off we go.

His name is "Anbu", he speaks pretty much no English... all I do know is he is mine for the 2 weeks !, if I want to go out at night he takes me and picks me up, if I want to go to the next town at the weekend he will take me .... when I work all day HE WAITS FOR ME IN THE CAR PARK... freaky or what... the guy has a family... he could go home and be with them rather than waiting for me... we always agree pick up and drop off times ....


We pull up at the main gate of Wipro, security check my name, check my laptop, make sure I have no camera equipment (no pictures in the Wipro office).... and through I go to be greeted by two of the Wipro Managers who look after the Pru.

The Complex is large and new / modern, it holds 3,500 staff. (Next door an even bigger Wipro building is being built... when it opens it will hold an extra 5,000 staff !).

Im in "block 1" (Not sure how many there are) if you look down on it imagine a tri-angle shape, in the middle is some lawn and a large water feature with fountains.

The tri-angle is 5 stories high, each side has offices assigned to 2 companies... that makes 2 x 3 = 6 x 5 = 30 International companies in block 1.

The Pru is on the 1st floor... as I walk to the entrance there is a big red sign out side:




Arf !...

I step into the cool office (Prudential take note... it's cooler here in Chennai than in Reading !) I have my own desk with a name plate all made up .... the Manager "shoo's" one chap off his chair and gives it to me !.

On the desk is a selection of cold drinks, Indian mini cakes and a pack of polo mints....

At 11am a "tea boy" comes and offers me (and only me) tea or coffee ... he does the same at 4pm .... I keep asking for white coffee and keep getting served lemon tea ! (the same tea boy also provides me with new cold drinks, cakes and Polo's every morning... I need one of these back in Reading !).

I look up the lunchtime menu ... 12 Rupees for lunch ... that's about 7p ... I think I can stretch that far... but no !... I get taken to an "international restaurant" (each day 3 new people from the team come with me.... turns out this is a real treat for them).

The international restaurant is free, a number of waiters greet and seat you and serve the soup of the day, after which you get presented with a big help yourself buffet of different foods followed by desert.

The people im with pile their plates high and always go for seconds ... I can only guess the food in the normal canteen tastes rubbish !.

My biggest gripe is that the last two days, half way through my meal, a gobby American woman comes in with her team... you know the type... shrill high pitched voice, rolling her R's "hiiiiiiii how Arrrrrrrrre you, like you know, what everrrrrrrrrr" ... she didnt half spout some guff from that big mouth.

I took the mick about it with the people I was with on Friday... today I get taken to a SECOND international restaurant to be away from her! ... which got me to ask how many there are... apparently there are three... its now my main mission to eat in all three !.

Its dead odd working in Chennai as my Virtual connection shows GMT and so does my Lotus Notes calendar... I have to keep remembering to add on 4.5 hours to everything.

Ive got into the habit of catching up with yesterday afternoons emails first thing the next day.

To wrap up...

Working hours are 8:30am to 6pm.
Nearly all the staff get shipped in by coach ... 3,500 staff = lots of coaches all turning up at 8:20am... hence I turn up just before they do ! (I also leave by 5:40pm to miss the rush the other way).
The meeting rooms on the 1st floor are named after planets ... twice I have been in Uranus and twice I have failed to get the Wipro guys to get the joke (... I promise that's true !).
The floors are highly polished marble ... my leather shoes slip everywhere.

On a completely different note I now have my appetite back for food in the evening ... I must be getting used to all the oil they cook with... that's a bad sign for my waist line !.

Wishing you all a happy "150 years of the WeiƟwurst"


Sunday, 16 September 2007

In the Paper today...

Page 3 of "The New Sunday Express" -

Police have booked a case against the Driver and Conductor of Bus 79 for discarding the body of a passenger who died while travelling on the bus.

The 40 year old cook died from an attack of the fits.

Rather than waiting for relatives to collect the body ..... the Driver and Conductor discarded the body on the road near the Bus Depot.

Have I become a snob?...

Well, my hopes of the City being better then where I am staying were dashed as the driver headed to the Spencer Plaza.

The filth and poverty just became more compact and more obvious... every time the car stopped young kids would run up to my window crying and begging for money.

When I got out the car it smelled like the Butts Centre (the old shopping centre in Reading from my youth ... once we smashed a few stink bombs :-) ).

And so we have Spencer Plaza "The largest shopping complex in South India", "400 shops - 3 floors", "Aircon and spotless", "Best known brands in the Country".... Hmmmm, my driver must have dropped me off at the wrong place... this Spencer Plaza was a dump.

3 floors of people saying "Yes Sir, Please Sir, Come in - Free to look" pointing at their shabby fake knock off goods .... when you say "no thanks" they cheerily wave good-bye and shout "You will go to the Devil" ... tell me something I don't know....

Of the shops I went into the prices were the same as back in the UK... if not more... and they only go up to size XL.... which for a European like me is "ahem" tight fitting... if your American forget it lard boy... ain't no way that Nike top is going over your gut !.

I saw some nice diamond 22carrot gold rings for £600 that Claire would like ... probably a bargain but im sure she would have something to say about it at that price !.

I guess if your a local and buy from local shops things are cheap... but I wont be going in those places.

Im starting to wonder about my guided shopping tour next weekend... I don't think I could face it again, they say breathing in the air in Chennai is like smoking 40 cigarettes a day... my clothes certainly stink after the trip.

So, there we have it... bit of a disaster.

The driver* was surprised at how quick I was back in the car... he keeps telling me next weekend he will take me to the crocodile zoo, or the snake zoo, see some temples, see the elephants ... yeah, whatever, im not in the right frame of mind for all that now. (* I'll post up soon about "my driver" !).

Still he's a nice chap, I brought him a top for each of his young kids (2 and 5) and a matchbox truck with car... im sure its all good gear for the kids here (it came from TATA... what DON'T they own in India ?!) ... but I know my two would have turned their noses up at the style !.

36hours after coming here I dropped an IM to some of my friends at work saying I was not sure about being here, sure the resort looks nice and the Wipro people are great, but its not my house and family.... 4 days later in know im ready to come home .... so, im gonna stick my head down, fill the days with work, the evening with a session in the small gym... listen to Techno and work some more in my beech hut.

Laters..... *sigh*


Driven mad by the lack of music here (there are only so many times I can listen to the tunes I brought with me) I spent ages trying to get past the security and admin lock downs on my work laptop.

Finally got Winamp running and streaming Ogg media... one quick google later ive found a banging (German) radio station....

Ahhhh .... I do like a good bit of Techo :-)

Time for Brekkie and then im off to Chennai on my own.... im playing it safe and going to a big indoor shopping centre called "Spencer Plaza" ... next week one of the Wipro guys will guide me around the more "Authentic" (cheap !) shopping experiences that the City has to offer.

Question is... do I have a McDonalds?!.... they advertise on TV as "25p a burger" and they do a home delivery service! (lucky buggers !).

Big fish, little fish, cardboard box :-)

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Off to the open air beech restaurant in 5 minutes...

*** Don't play this in front of the kids ****

I step out my door... and.... (It gets dark at 6pm... sorry about the poor light !)

Just noticed...

This blog is not set up quiet right... scroll to the right and you will need to joggle between the two slide bars to read down the posts...

The Hotel...

You come into the hotel by car and are greeted by a man who opens your door, he takes you and your luggage to the check in desk where you sit down and are presented with a necklace made from shells off the private beech.

During the check in another person brings you a cool wet flannel and a selection of cold drinks to help you cool down.

The guys at work told me to try and get a Hotel room with a view of the beech... I failed :-(

I got a private beech hut instead ;-)

Full aircon and Wifi, mini bar, TV, garden with hamock etc. etc.
(There is a video tour at the bottom of this post).

Not far from the private beech !.

Nice pool.... (I'll be in that later if the rain keeps away !).

Just for Jon ;-) (And yes, I have been in it twice for an hour each time.... there is bugger all else to do here !).

And where I will eat dinner one Saturday night... mmmm fresh fish caught that day from the sea... looking forward to it!.

The food here is great, but full of fat and oil; its the same at the WIPRO office, I try and stick to the healthy stuff but its quiet hard.... the last two days I ate brekki and lunch and was so full of oil that I could not face dinner... so stick to an Apple and some Banana's each evening (left in the room each day).

But as its the weekend i'll skip lunch and try the above restaurant... I have a choice of four more if I don't like it... !

Everyone is so friendly, but its a bit odd that nearly all the staff call me "Mr Ross" How do they know my name?!... ive only been here a few days !.

Each day when I get back I put CNN on and read the complimentary copy of the "HINDU TIMES" ... im missing my music badly !.

There are three lizards in my hut... Tom and Jerry are smaller than Newts and live on my living area wall... the big fella is called Spike and I find him in the corner of the shower area... he's about the size of the kids rats !... I assume they are safe (I hope so !).

Ive not seen any mozzies yet... but the place has loads of Bats flying about in the evening (probably rabbid !).

And yes... they do Spa treatments here... not cheap, (about £15 for an hour of treatment)... but I feel the need for a one hour back massage coming on this weekend.... the mattress in the room is that funny foam type... it's firm and odd, I think my body needs to get used to it ... I do ache at the moment (well, that's my excuse !).

The guided tour !

Laters !

Thursday, 13 September 2007

First thoughts....

... before I get onto the hotel, drivers and odd things I have seen I need a good nights sleep...

Just wanted to quickly post up my initial thoughts of India.

I was expecting something different to what greeted me... Chennai is the 4th largest City in India, I thought it would be progressive and "newish"... how wrong I was.

I sit in my posh room when only a few hundred meters away there is squallar, rubbish, people sleeping rough at the edge of the road.

Dogs roam the streets, children scratch through the dirt looking for whatever they can find.

People queue to use a water pump while old houses collapse round them.

It reminds me of a poor African nation rather than a up and coming international power.

It will be interesting to see if its any different when (if !) I get into the City (im about 25Km from the centre).

I promise my next posts will be more up beat !

Nite !

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Made it...

... Well, its 2am local time and im up in a few hours... so will be a slight break in my updates.

My 1st quick observation.... there is no MTV in my room... im gonna miss my music !.... still, the England vs Russia match is on... ive counted at least 7 sports channels !...

Nite, nite

Ich bin ein Frankfurter ;-)

Well... a flying visit to Frankfurt.

The plane would not start at Heathrow so that delayed me an hour... then I made a bad mistake while going through security and ended up wasting another half hour!.

(Lets just say, dont leave your headphones plugged into your mobile phone, in your bag, if you dont want to be double searched and all your bags contents swabbed for bomb residue !).

Just time for an OJ and to see the cool toilets in the Business lounge LOL!... I did try to video them but was aware of the big queue of people outside needing a poo!.

Laters !

Tuesday, 11 September 2007


Well, finally got round to packing.. .ive got pants, socks, trousers, shoes and shirts.

If ive forgotten anything in the mad rush then its my own fault for drinking a beer or two last night ;-)

Taxi turns up at 4am... im gonna be gasping for food by the time I get on the first plane to Frankfurt.

This picture is of the two Wipro peeps im leaving in Reading to carry on the good work while Im away...Kiran and Fathima, great fun and dead easy to windup !

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Jabs, no... not boxing

Well, im due to head off to Chennai soon, the Pru is using an off-shore team to code some requirements that I have written... this is a visit to make sure what is being coded matches what I have written down !.

So, where is Chennai?... its the forth largest city in India, its in the Southern region next to the Bay of Bengal:,80.244141&spn=11.198554,20.43457&z=6&om=1

I had the pleasure of 2 jabs, one in each arm, ready for the visit... Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio (no more sugar lumps !), Typhoid and Hep A.

The jabs were not too bad, and I had no nasty after effects... bonus ! :-)

Im going to skip the Malaria tablets and stock up on strong insect repellent.

The trip will take age's and I have to fly via Frankfurt... but its all business should be okay, I have already planned my films to watch ! (Hot Fuzz being top of the list !).

Im staying at a shabby hotel called the Fishermans Cove... after the other quality places the Pru has put me up in (that usually contain the words "Quality", "Travel", "Inn" or "Lodge") im not sure i'll be able to cope with slumming it:,CHENNAI/

So, I have my work visa, my mobile phone and a work laptop all ready... the plan is to post pictures and short vids of the trip.

For Jon & Mick.... if I dont post anything then yes, im ill, and cant make Rotterdam ! LOL !


New blog !

Well... I have now swapped the blog on this website for "Blogger" which is run by Google.

The main advantage is that I can now post from any PC or MAC ...

So, what to start with ?!...

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