Archive for the 'India' Category

Goodbye Mumbai, Goodbye India!

May 22, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you are well. The last two days were pretty nice. I worked a bit on Wednesday at the mall and did some online work and phone calls. photoI went to the mall as part of work and fun. Today I had a very relaxing spa day and packed up. I’m excited to head home! My flight leaves at 4:30 am so I have to leave the hotel at 2:00. It’s going to be a long trip. I had a small dinner so perhaps I’ll be able to have a few hours sleep before leaving. I have really enjoyed my time in India and hope to come back some day! Thanks for reading with me!

Love, Annie

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Mumbai Tuesday

May 20, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Hope all is well. It was another working day in Mumbai. I got up early to head to a meeting, went back to the hotel, swam, worked, ate lunch, and went to another meeting. photo 3After the second meeting, I saw the India Gate. I didn’t get that close as there were a lot of crowds and I wanted to head back to the hotel in time to beat the traffic. In the afternoon, I worked out. I had an excellent dinner at the Indian restaurant at the hotel. They gave me great portions. Usually I get too much food. I had mangoes with ice cream for dessert. It’s mango season! Tomorrow i’m going to finish my work and then go shopping.

Love, Annie

Working Sunday and Monday in Mumbai

May 19, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you are well. There’s not that much to write because I’ve just been working. photo 2It was a good idea to head to one of the further away malls yesterday because there is less traffic on Sunday. At this rate I’ll definitely be able to relax on Thursday before going home very early on Friday morning. Today I had two successful meetings. Tomorrow, more meetings. I’m really enjoying the hotel, it’s very luxurious.

Love, Annie

An Excellent Saturday in Mumbai

May 17, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Hopefully the weekend has started nicely. I had an excellent working Saturday in Mumbai. Mumbai 3The malls don’t open until 11, so I did not rush in the morning. I’m still slightly sick but clearly getting better. After a nice breakfast I headed to a huge mall with three malls in one. I was extremely productive all day and got to shop a little. The mall was attached to a hotel that had some bars on the top floors so I was able to check out a great view. In the late afternoon, I went back to the hotel, had a snack and a then nice work out. For dinner I had chinese food and ate crispy garlic prawns and greens. I’m going to work all day tomorrow as well so I can enjoy a relaxing spa day on Thursday before going home.

Love, Annie

Bye Baroda, Hi Mumbai

May 16, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Last night I was too sick to write. I went to bed early but did not get much sleep. Yesterday morning, I enjoyed a relaxing morning and then went out to see the Laxmi Vilas Palace. It was really cool – what a house. They have an audio tour that comes with the ticket so you can learn all about the house. The family that lived there was the Gaekwad family. photo 1-2After the tour, I went to a cool lake with a statue of Lord Shiva in the middle of the lake. I had another meeting in the afternoon and then started to get really sick. I had some rice and vegetables at the restaurant downstairs and witnessed a part of a wedding. Apparently it is wedding season here. The music was very loud but it did not go on for that long. I did not sleep well and had to get up at 4:45 AM this morning to catch my flight to Mumbai. The airport and airplane experience was really bad. I felt so sick on the plane and had to use the plane and airport bathrooms multiple times.

I survived though and got to the hotel in Mumbai. They tried to put me in a totally crappy room and I did not accept that so I changed for a better room. photo 4-1Same type of room, just so much brighter and less beat up. I didn’t expect that from this hotel chain. I’m wise enough to know when they are trying to shove you somewhere. After changing rooms and eating breakfast I did a bit of work, swam, did more work, worked out, and then got a nice indian head massage with oil. the oil is still in my hair, it is very greasy, but I’m supposed to leave it in overnight for maximum softness. The whole procedure, which took about an hour, cost under 20 USD.

I’m feeling a bit less sick now but am still not at 100 percent. I ate at an italian restaurant tonight because I cannot stomach another curry. Tomorrow is a work day, I’m excited to head to the mall! Have a nice weekend!

Love, Annie

Vadodara Baroda

May 14, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Hope you are well. I’ve had an exhausting day. This morning I woke up at 4 am in order to catch my flight to Vadodara. photo 3Vadodara is pronounced va-do-dra and it’s also called Baroda. I arrived in Vadodara at around 8 am and the hotel was not what I expected. Moldy rooms, non working elevators, weird guests in the lobby. I knew I would not be spending the night there. I was so tired though that I took a nap from 9-10. photo 2I got up in a bit better shape, hired a driver for the day, went to the store to pick up some deodorant because mine ran out (they only have the spray kind here) and then switched hotels. I’m in a much better one now. After the switch was made, I had a great meeting for work, and then had lunch – Gujarati thali (pictured). I had another meeting after lunch and then went back to the hotel to relax. photo 1I went for a little swim and then tried to work out but I was too tired I couldn’t do more than ten minutes on the machine and certainly not my leg exercises. Before dinner I did some more work on my computer. I was feeling pretty lonely today and Lev cheered me up a bit and I’m very thankful for his support. I had a small dinner of Thai food at the Asian restaurant in the hotel but still don’t feel that well. I’m so excited to sleep tonight.

Love, Anne

Goodbye Delhi!

May 13, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Hope you are well. It was a nice last day in Delhi. Delhi 21I had a successful meeting in the early morning and then did a little sightseeing for the rest of the morning. I went to Ghandi’s memorial, Rajghat, and to Old Delhi to a great mosque, to an expensive handicrafts store where I had to just look around, to the President’s house and government buildings, and to the diplomatic area where I could see a bunch of different embassy gates. Delhi 18It takes a while to get anywhere. I had lunch and then worked for the rest of the afternoon on my computer. I took a day off working out today. I worked into the night at the tea lounge. This afternoon I’m feeling pretty sick, like I know the meaning of Delhi Belly.

I had a little dinner at one of the hotel restaurants. I ordered something dry, not in a sauce. They were like… that… is dry… it has no sauce (horrifying)! I know… that’s why I ordered it. Still I feel worse now and hope I don’t get sick on the airplane tomorrow.

Love, Annie

Sunday and Monday in Delhi!

May 12, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Happy Mother’s Day! I hope you had a nice weekend. Yesterday I had a pretty bad day but it ended up okay. photo 2I had a difficult video chat in the morning and then did some work. At around noon, I wanted to get out of the hotel so I went to a local market that was way less awesome than I had imagined it would be. I wasn’t in the mood to navigate all the people and products. I went to lunch and when I was paying the waiter put his hand on the chair in a way that creepily touched my back and I didn’t like that. photo 1I left soon and didn’t relax at the table. After lunch it was too late to see any cool temples (they were too far away, or closed) so we (the driver and I) went back to the hotel. I tried to book a massage (or any treatment at the spa) but they were all booked up until 830 and pretty rude and unapologetic about it. Now I won’t go there at all. So I went to the gym and there was an old(er) guy there from England who was doing a little work out too, and we chatted for a bit. I was so happy to talk to someone like that, like a parent or grandparent type of person. I couldn’t hide how shitty of a day I was having.

photo 3He was not surprised that I found the people in Delhi to be difficult. He helped me to feel a bit better. At dinner I ate at a Chinese restaurant and played candy crush at dinner. I did not beat the level I have been working on for over a week now, but the food was delicious. After dinner, I spoke to my Bubbie and Grandma, which was awesome. I called my mom but she was sailing!!! I imagine she was (and is) having an excellent time.

photo 4This morning, I woke up early to get ready for my day of meetings. At breakfast, I sat next to a couple from Alaska who were on their way to Nepal to go trekking (lucky!). My meetings went well. The first one was in Gurgaon, about an hour away in traffic (20-30 mins at other times). The second was not too far from my hotel. In between the meetings, I went to a mall and did some shopping and had lunch at Starbucks. Delhi 2When I got back to the hotel I set up some meetings and a hotel pick up for my next city, Vadodara. I had a nice work out and a good Indian food dinner. Lamb chops, pepper, paneer tikka, and onions.

During dinner I sat near a man who I learned was from Miami but originally from India. At first I didn’t want to speak to anyone, just wanted to read (okay, look at Reddit and play candy crush). photo 2-1I’m glad I changed my mind because It was really nice to speak to another American. He had an interesting accent of a person who is from India but spends a lot of time with people who originally speak Spanish. We learned about each others jobs and families. It makes such a nice difference when you speak to someone who is familiar with your home culture. I got to sit at my own table and also have a conversation – I really liked that. It was the first not awkward or strained conversation I’ve had in person with anyone in a while. I’m looking forward to a meeting tomorrow morning and then possibly some sightseeing.

Love, Annie

Day trip to Agra!

May 10, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Today I took a day trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. I woke up at 4:15 and we hit no traffic on the way. Delhi 11My driver was Pradeek, and he had one album of classical Indian music from the period of 1950-1980 that we listened to the entire time … three and a half hours each way. He didn’t speak that much english, but spoke enough to have some basic conversations. There is a new freeway that connects Delhi and Agra, it’s about two years old. The trip to Agra from Delhi used to take 6 hours. I was surprised at how nice the rest stops were on the way. Delhi 7In the first picture you can see a man making tea at the rest stop. The tea was great and the bathrooms were surprisingly clean. In the second picture, you can see the pollution on the road.

When we got to Agra, we met up with my guide, Shafali. Shafali is studying for her Masters in Industrial Chemistry, but makes money on the side as a tour guide. Delhi 4She was an awesome guide. We went to the Taj Mahal, which was even cooler than expected, and to a demonstration on how to make inlaid marble (and the connecting shop, of course) and to lunch. I had a grilled paneer and salad. After lunch we went to the Agra Fort. I guess it is very similar to the Red Fort in Delhi. By the way, carving marble feels and sounds like drilling teeth. It’s highly unpleasant.

On the way home, I wanted to get Pradeek some food, because I didn’t know if he had eaten. The hotel gave me some breakfast in a box to take on the drive and I didn’t eat some of the pastries and Pradeek ate them and also drank the juice box from the breakfast box. I don’t really drink juices. I got us some waters and for him a snack – he wanted chips but but wouldn’t eat them unless I ate some too so we shared some chips on the ride home.

I started to get a headache on the way home but I took a shower and drank some tea and am feeling a bit better. Now I am about to go to dinner inside the hotel. Tomorrow, I’ll do some work in the morning, and maybe go to Old Delhi in the afternoon.

Love, Annie

Goodbye to Bhopal, Hello to Delhi!

May 9, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Hope you are well. Today I bid Bhopal goodbye and took an easy flight to Delhi. Yesterday was a nice day. photo 3I worked in the morning and went around to a few more stores with my driver. At the tyre store, the man at the desk remembered my colleague asking the same questions last year. He was more than happy to help me get a bunch of prices and spoke English. That was unexpected. For lunch I ate at Hakeem’s, it’s pretty famous in Bhopal. I had a spicy, sweet, and rich lamb dish. photo 2I ordered a diet coke for a drink because I think they wanted me to order a drink. I haven’t had one of those in a long time, and it was delicious. In the afternoon, I finished work and had a little time in the afternoon so went and got a pedicure and manicure. It was excellent and cost only ~20 dollars for both. In the evening, I worked out and then had dinner.

This morning, I got up early and took an easy flight to Delhi. photo 4I was a little sad to leave because Bhopal was much better than expected, but it’s always exciting to keep moving. I was picked up from the airport and it took only about a half hour to get to the hotel. The hotel is nice and very busy. There is a big deal cricket team staying here so there is a lot of commotion. I am beginning to learn about cricket because it’s on TV everywhere. I unpacked and ate lunch, then headed to the mall to do some errands. In the evening I worked out and ate delicious tandoori food for dinner. I booked a trip to Agra tomorrow to see the Taj Mahal. I’ll be getting up at 4:45 am and should get to bed soon. All the pictures in this post are from Bhopal. will show you Delhi (and Agra) tomorrow. Have a nice weekend!

Love, Anne