Sunday, December 10, 2006

More ex-Sony travels to India

Tuesday, 28th of November 2006

Shaf and I arrived at Indira Ghandi International Airport about 40 minutes early, as there was a heavy tailwind which speeded up our journey. The journey itself was not too bad, although someone puked in the corridor quite close to where Shaf and I where sitting. Row 70F & G. Not the best places to sit comfortable. Next time I'll pre book by phone and reserve a good seat for me. Also trying to sleep didn't work, as they woke me up if I wanted to get my seat in upright position as otherwise the fat "lady" behind me could not get her plate on her lap. The chauffeur was there waiting for us and drove us to the apartment. Shaf looked his eyes out. As it was his first time in India. In front of the house we had w2 beggars asking for food, we ignored them, and walked upstairs. Unpacked stuff, refreshed quickly and went to the office. We quickly went and visit Sati, and afterwards we went downstairs to greet everyone. Everyone was there, except Samrat who was ill. We introduced Shafeq to the team, and went out for lunch with TK and RK to Big Chill where we had a gorgeous meal. After that we did some small reviews, and went home. As we where feeling really tired from the journey. We did some shopping at the 24/7 and walked around. A quick round at Coffee Day and back to the flat, where we had our dinner while watching an episode of Futurama, and played a couple games of pool. Now in bed, put the alarm at 08:00. Busy day ahead tomorrow.

Me , standing next to a sacred cow at Lajpat Nagar 3
Wednesday, 29th of November 2006

During the day we bumped into a young fellow who carried two monkeys with him (both on a leash) performing tricks for people. Animal cruelty in my eyes. Anyway, they performed and Shaf took some pictures and I filmed it. We gave the chap 10rs for it, which is normally enough. But the annoying litlle fellow was asking for more. We just walked back to the office and ignored him. We also took some pictures for a new art brief we always prepare for the artists. This time it was an old and rusty Fiat. Enough reference to get the guys going. I filmed the underneath of this car for reference.
In the evening we went out to New Friends Colony, as I wanted to check out Ego Thai again. The food was really good. Only Shaf had for his main course Catfish. Now catfish lives on the bottom of a river and lives in the mud. Therefor the catfish tastes like mud. Well, that was what he had. It was getting cold in the evening (12 degrees Celsius).

Virendra and myself at a table at "Sagar Ratna" restaurant on our way to Agra.

Thursday, 30th of November 2006

Went to sleep at about 02:00, played pool (every night)

A "snake charmer" complete with the requisite flute, basket, and cobra. The poison sack was removed ofcourse.

Friday, 1st of December 2006

During the day we went out to Mini Mughal restaurant together with Ricky, Tarun, Shaf, Eldo, Gaurav, Samrat and myself. The reason why we went because it was going to be Eldo's and Gaurav's last day at Vbeing. They had to finish their course back in the UK. The food was really good.
Went out to Connaught place on Shaf's first Auto-rickshaw ride. We went to eat at QBA, Connaught Place. When we arrived it was fully booked, so we walked around to see some shops. We looked at some clothing but didn't buy anything. Also looked at Pashmina's (real fine woolen shawls handmade from the Kashmir district (North of India). They asked 8.000 rs for one, which is roughly £100,-. A bit of a rip off if you ask me. So we moved on.
Once back at QBA we went upstairs and ordered some QBA Coolers, and some food. We had a real laugh over there. The menu was funny, as apart from the egg fried rice, and boiled rice they had Foekin Fried Rice on the menu. The food was pretty spicey but good. Once we where finished we took an auto-rickshaw back to Central Market. First the driver asked us 300 rs to drive us back, while the way to Connaught place was 60 rs. It was still not 23:00, so he was not allowed to ask that price. I jumped out, and the driver finally took us for 60rs. Once we arrived at Central Market, which was close to where we live Shaf gave him the money, and then the driver was making a fuzz we should pay more. So no tip for him, and we only paid the agreed price. Not that 300rs is much at all anyway. Played some pool and went to bed, as we booked a taxi for the next day for our trip to Agra.

Interesting building structures at "Fatehpur Sikri"

Saturday, 2nd of December 2006

Tired from previous night the taxi driver woke me up at 06:45 ringing the doorbell. We ordered a taxi at 07:00 to pick up Virendra, one of our colleagueas in Noida. Virendra was born and raised in Agra, so the best guide in our eyes. Also he was going home every weekend, and driving with us in a taxi was much better in our eyes then taking the public transport. After picking im up we drove back Southwards. The journey was going to take us roughly 3 hours. But nothing like normal traffic over there, total chaos. But interesting. We stopped at a restaurant next to the road "Sagar Ratna" to get some food. This was our breakfast. We invited the driver as well, and once we where done we filmed a guy who was whistling and his snake only wanted to crawl ayway from him. On the way we passed a massive place made of marble. The owner believed he was "God", and people where camping outside this place coming from allover the country to visit this place. It was NOT the birthplace of Lord Krishna, which was somewhere else. Once we arrived in Agra we bumped into a traffic jam, and the driver just turned the car and was ghost-driving into the other direction. Quite scary this was, but we survived. It was really busy, but in the end we arrived at Mansingh Palace, out hotel. It was a good hotel in my eyes, we dropped out luggage and went to the Taj Mahal with the taxi. Once we arrived at the Taj Mahal and parked our car we left our mobiles with the driver, as you where not allowed to take these with you at the Taj Mahal. Annoying guides asking us if we needed one, and we explained the guy we had a guide (Virendra) Likes flies they followed us, trying to get some money from us. Once we bought the tickets we should have cued up in a 2 hour cue at the main entrance. Tickets for Indians was 20 rs, but for us it was 750 rs. I was used to that, and to be honest it was a decent price. Another person talked to Virendra and guided us to another entrance where it was less busy. The entrance was a small gateway through the walls, through a maze of small houses. Shaf haddifficulties difficulties getting in, as he forgot to leave his second phone behind, and still had an ipod which he could not take with him, so Virendra put these items into special lockers at the gate. We had to get back before 17:00 to pick up Shaf's belongings. Once we where all there we walked up to the Taj Mahal. Very impressive and obviously we took heaps of pictures. Not just pictures of the whole structure, but also close-ups of the marble tiles and ornaments of the Taj Mahal. It was reasonably busy at the place. Just before 17:00 we walked back to the entrance and picked up Shaf's belongings. We went back to the hotel and asked the driver to take Virendra home. We had some food, as we where really hungry. The dinner didn't start until 19:00, so we had some snacks before our dinner, and afterwards we went to the other side of the hotel for our dinner. We where acompanied by some musician's who made some awefull music. Went to bed after dinner and watched some t.v. I believe we finally went to sleep at 02:00.

The "Taj Mahal", another seven wonder of the "Tourists" world. Still to see : Great Pyramids of Giza, Great Wall of China (Flew over it, never been), Serengeti Migration, Galapagos, Grand Canyon (Flew over it, never been) Machu Picchu.

Sunday, 3rd of December 2006

Woken up at 10:00 by Virendra who went home previous night to his parents and had some breakfast downstairs. We checked out at 12:00 and went to the Agra Red Ford. Again those annoying guides...anyway, we got rid off them pretty quickly. The Red Ford had a nice view on the Taj Mahal. Very impressive and having sit on the King's Throne we left Agra Red Fort to go to Fatehpur Sikri, which was 1.5 hours drive west from Agra. We passed lots of Unds (Camels) and small villages. A lot of dust. We finally arrived there and some guys stopped us next to the road. Why the driver stopped was a riddle, I would not have stopped. One guide was really annoying and we finally told him off and drove toward the monument which we wanted to visit. A bit further down the road more guides where trying to stop our car, but the driver now got it and almost ran over some the guides. Impressive entrance, but here again. The guides reacted like flies. We made it clear we did not want any guide, and where just there to take pictures. All places have directions and subscriptions anyway. On our way back we stopped again at "Sagar Ratna" and bumped into some roadkill (people this time). We almost had a road-accident ourselves, when some large animal passed the motor-way. Some of the cars did not even had any lights, so hard to sport in the dark. The road to Delhi was not well lit, if even lit at all...We arrived at Lajpat Nagar at about 21:30. We warmed up our food, which we put into the fridge on Friday night.

The Kings office in Agra Red Fort, where me and Shaf sat on the throne.

Monday, 4th of December 2006

Busy day at the office

A swastika sign carved out of stone. And no ! the Nazi's have not been here.

Tuesday, 5th of December 2006

Another busy day at the office

Me and Shaf relaxing on the King's seat.

Wednesday, 6th of December 2006

Ricky, Tarun, Shaf and me went to Connaught place for lunch, Kwality's. And had some lovely food. We left the office at about 13:30. After lunch we went to some shops underneath Connaught Place, where Ricky showed us some of the shops. Both Shaf and me where very tempted to buy an XBox 360 there. Instead we bought some games instead, and asked the guy to deliver at least one Xbox 360 at the office the next day. We arrived back at the office at 16:30, so we worked late that day to clear up some work.

Delicious food at the Mini Mughal in Delhi.

Thursday, 7th of December 2006

I decided to buy an XBox 360 as well, so Ricky got the shop to deliver two. These models came from Korea, but who cares where they came from. As long as they worked. So they unpacked the boxes and showed them they where working. The boxes where quite heavy, and now it was the task how we bring them back to the UK. I left my box in Shaf's room.
Went to Domino's with Tarun, Shaf and myself. As we all where quite hungry. Although Sati invited us out that night, the reservation was quite late. He drove us back home to the apartment. We packed all our stuff, and cramped all my stuff into my bags.

A Tata truck loaded with people commuting towards Agra

Friday, 8th of December 2006 returning to the UK again

After a short sleep the doorbell rang at 09:45. It was the taxi driver who supposed to bring us to IGI Airport. Luckily we packed all bags the night before, so we just had to wash and drive to the airport. It is only a 40 minute drive there anyway. Once arrived we put our luggage for check in through the scan. Unfortunately there where no exit seats anymore :( But they gave us a whole row of seats for ourselves. We went to grab some breakfast at Subway at IGI Airport and went through the gates at 12:00. We could go straight into the airport after a couple of checks. The journey was good, I slept half the journey, as I was pretty nackered. Watched Batman Begins, which I enjoyed and landed at LHR at about 17:15 where Linda was picking us up. It was a good trip again, and besides all the fun other things we did in India work was going very well.

Dirty water underneath a structure at "Fatehpur Sikri"


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