Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sling me to Singapore Again

We just took a long Easter weekend break in Singapore and I cannot say CULTURE SHOCK loud enough!  Maybe if you were visiting from London or New York, it might not hit you so hard, but from Bangalore, where 'road rules' apply to no-one, 25,000 stray dogs roam the streets, and a good wine is hard find, it was overload.  Many people say Singapore is too clinical, and I can understand that perspective, and our friends who live there do miss the hustle and bustle of India, but for a weekend, I can handle it!  The sidewalks are SUPER clean, the roads smooth and hassle free, traffic sticks to its lane, the manicured greenery greets you the minute you leave the airport, there are no stray dogs, and you have a million choices of food and drink venues - THAT STAY OPEN AFTER 11:30!  I'm pretty sure you can dance in Singapore too!  So, my top things to do in Singapore were:

1.  Eat and drink fantastic food and wine - but at very western prices
2.  Take a trip around the city tourist style in an open top bus - even Little India is clinically clean, a la Disney
3.  Sip a Singapore Sling at its birthplace, the Long Bar at The Raffles Hotel - at $20, it's a bargain
4.  Try local delicacies like chilli crab, chicken rice, and fried carrot cake, at a hawker centre like Glutton's Bay
5.  Shop 'til you drop in one of the MANY MANY malls - air conditioned, full of global retailers, and a good way to keep out of the rain
6.  Don't leave!

Life on Mars

"It's a god awful small affair, to the girl with the mousey hair..."  Well, the 'season finale' of season one of Life on Mars last night on BBC Entertainment was a god awful BIG affair to this girl with the mousey hair so you can imagine my horror when, five minutes before the end of the show, they cut to commercial break (yes, we have them here on the BBC) and NEVER RETURNED TO THE PROGRAMME!  I know that everyone else in the world has watched the first AND second season of this show, but here in India, we haven't, and I am pissed!  I have been searching fan blogs and youtube but we missed SO much of the end that it doesn't make sense to me!  The last we saw was Sam coming back out of the woods after letting his dad go.... and that was it!!!  Now, we read that the very last scene shows Sam jumping off a building, so maybe we were censored here?  It wouldn't be the first time, read the breeder's account of watching the very censored Brokeback Mountain... That said, there was no rhyme nor reason to the way it ended.  I am distraught.  Help!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Target Practice

I was once in the British Army, and was actually a markswoman on the shooting team.  Never once did we do this, strangely enough.  And we definitely wore more clothes.  At least during the day.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It's in my genes...

It's official.  I can't help being sarcastic, insulting, or just wholly inappropriate.  It's in my genes! News just out proves it:  British Humour Dictated by Genetics.  So, apologies to my global brothers and sisters, but I now officially have a get out of jail free card for some of my off-colour remarks and 70's sitcom style quips.  As Bette Midler (funny for an American) famously says, and I wholly concur:  "F@#% 'em if they can't take a joke!"

Scheduling Schadenfreude

Anyone living in Bangalore knows that the traffic can be a pain and turn even the shortest of journeys into an expedition...  and while we are excited about the arrival of a brand spanking new international airport to the city, the travel time to reach it has caused much concern.  It's in the north, outside the city, about 40km from us - but that's about 2.5 hours driving time, depending on the time of day.  And while road improvements are being undertaken, there are still certain areas prone to jams.  The existing airport, while old and small, is just 10 minutes away from us in the south of the city.  And we are not alone in wanting the existing airport to stay open for domestic flights at least.  The new airport travel time could turn a quick 3 hour door to door trip to Goa into a 6 hour nightmare.  So, the front page of the newspapers was a welcome relief this morning, delivering the news that, surprise surprise, the new airport, due to open on March 28th, will now be delayed for two to four weeks due to the air traffic control system not yet being operational and approved.  Rather selfishly, as I have a big trip planned shortly, I can only pray that the system doesn't get approved until I am safely landed back in Bangalore, meaning that instead of leaving the house at 2am I can leave at about 5am for my flight... and have a 10 minute journey home at the end of that long haul flight back.  

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Stuff White People Like

My friend the breeder and I have been criticized for having patronizing blogs and making wild assumptions about cultures we know nothing about.  Shame on us for having a sense of humor. Well, here's a great site that is both patronizing AND makes wild assumptions about a culture that we know EVERYTHING about - OUR OWN.  So, enjoy, and see how many of these things you can identify with.  Go on, laugh, life's too short...

Size Matters Stateside

Supersize me is an expression associated with the US and it's never more apparent than when you've been away from it for a while.  Everything is bigger - coffee cups, food portions, buildings, and of course, people.  I read only yesterday that with more than 50% of New York residents being either overweight or obese, the city is funding 'fruit carts' for poor neighborhoods so they can get some good food vs. junk food.  While we are big, I don't think we are 'supersize,' although living in Asia is interesting for a couple of six footers like us.  I can't buy shoes here as my size 42/43 is tooooo big (but I can have them hand made for next to nothing, so that's a plus!) and clothes shopping is a nightmare for someone with long limbs.  Even sports clothing is difficult:  Adidas sells 'Asian' sizing, and their Asian XL barely covers my midrift!  My husband has problems too:  a slim fit Anokhi shirt?  Forget it.  Despite his recent 10kg weight loss, the shape is just not right.  He has a great solution - Custom Made!  Shirts, suits, pants; all very well made and very inexpensive.  Will he ever be able to live in the West again???  His current trip to the US brought home a very real fear we both used to have when flying internally.  No, not terrorist attacks.  Or even bad airline food.  The fear that the 'supersize person' would be seated next to you!  By 'supersize', I don't mean a few pounds overweight, I mean obese; the 300lb+ man/woman who will spill over into the adjoining seat and need the seatbelt extension designed for moms with babies.  We have all done it.  Sat cowering in our seat as the overweight person walks up the aisle looking for their seat number; a sigh of relief flooding over us when they sit down before our row, or pass us by altogether.  So, my 'large in Asia, small in the US' husband was particularly chuffed when boarding a flight in the US to be told by the passenger in the seat next to him, "thank god you're sitting next to me, you're thin!"  So, while in Asia, we may be 'supersize,' back in the good old U S of A, we are mere small fries.  

One Month on my Wagon

I can never remember if being on the booze is on or off the wagon.  Or what the wagon has to do with it.  Or whether it's wagon with one g or waggon with two g's.  Suffice to say today is a landmark in my life - a whole month off the pop!  Obviously, it was slightly enforced due to, oh, emergency surgery BUT it was January 31st when I had my last drink - a very fine Australian red we had brought back from Oz last year and saved for a special occasion. The occasion was that our friend Gordon was in town - who knew that the real occasion would be the last drink for a month.  My husband claims it's the longest I've gone without a drink since I was 18.  I would probably argue that it's the longest I've gone without a drink since I was 15!  While nit-pickers may dispute the legitimacy of a month that is the shortest in the year, given it's a leap year, it's the longest February we'll have for another four years, so it should count for something.  I am a little torn though.  Someone (more religious than me) reminded me that it was Lent and that maybe I should stay off the pop 'til Easter.  That seems a little excessive to me, especially as I have some English friends arriving tonight.  It would clearly be rude NOT to have a little tipple or two with them.  And definitely amiss not to take advantage of the excessive Sunday brunch we will be attending tomorrow.  So, for the moment, I am content with my month/29 day abstinence and looking forward to whetting my palate with a little fizz very soon!