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Once again I find myself back in India, enjoying a different way of life. I’m only here two weeks this time, so I’ll be staying in hotels and eating out a lot (I already feel like I’ve gained weight, but at least my clothes are still fitting).

I am here for work, but I arrived Saturday night so that I had a day to start to get used to the 10.5 hour time change and rest a bit (if you call 16k steps resting) before heading to the office on Monday.

54522668_10218678832503110_2680661274672496640_oAfter unpacking and enjoying a quick room service meal Saturday night I more than enjoyed sleeping horizontally again, so much that I almost missed breakfast which ended at 10:30. But I got down in time to get some food before the buffet closed.

I then stopped at the front desk to ask about options for the day and arranged a car to take me to and Lodhi Garden, two places that I had not yet been to in Delhi.

The first was very interesting, but I have no photos to share as the first thing I had to do before entering was to drop off my camera, phone, other electronics and my small backpack at a checkpoint as none of that is allowed inside. Since I didn’t know this ahead of time I didn’t have a small purse with me and had to carry my passport wallet, inhaler, and water bottle around in my hands, I also had no pockets.

In dropping everything off, I forgot to grab my small bag with a small amount of TP, so one of my first stops once inside was the snack bar to ask for tissues (aka napkins). You can fill in the details of what I needed these for.

But before that, getting in was also interesting. We first lined up in a set of lines like you see at an amusement park. Then when the lines for security from the group ahead of us dwindled down enough, the gates were opened and we all moved to that next stage. There were no real lines, just a lot of wiggling to get your shoulder or hip into position to stake leverage on getting to the checkpoint. What was even more memorable was that I never felt so tall in my life. Most of the other women (men were in another area) “waiting” with only came up to my shoulders.

Finally I got to the front and got scanned and made it inside. I then bought a ticket to the animated attractions which provided an interesting history of the space and of Swaminarayan. I was with a small group of people on my tour because we were in one of the English sessions.

After the tour, I wandered through the rest of the space. It was very interesting to see a new site like this in India where most things that I have visited in the past are very old. Once I had seen enough, and still leaving time for my next stop I found my driver and headed to the garden.

It was huge and there were tons of birds. Most of my pictures are on another device so I will have to share them later, but this is one of my favorites.



IMG_5741Finally, I headed back to the hotel arriving there about 8 hours after having left, and ready for some dinner. This is where my  tour of food started with a BBQ buffet, outside. Yes, outside, quite welcome after the winter we had in Chicago.

Quite full, I head upstairs to get some sleep before heading to the office the next day. Still a bit jet-lagged I woke up a few times, but was able to get back to sleep and have enough energy to make it through the day Monday.

54525261_10218696562706354_4290035711471517696_nAfter work I headed to Cyber Hub with a co-worker for dinner. I had IMG_5745been there a few times 2 years ago when I was here so was looking forward to going back. On another co-worker’s recommendation we sought out the The Drunken Botanist. The food was quite good and I indulged in a coffee & herb sangria, with orange liqueur. The first sip was a bit weird, but it grew on me. There other drinks were also quite interesting.

And I had a very interesting cold pizza with salmon and salmon roe served on a large polished stone.


Tonight was another very filling dinner at Farzi Café, where I had eaten lunch 2 years back and was looking forward to enjoying again. They have a very interesting menu with some even more interesting presentations.

So now it’s night, but not yet bedtime, and I am sipping a fresh lime soda – plain, outside at the hotel, wondering what crazy food I will find tomorrow and how I can not gain a ton of weight while I’m here.


The world traveler in me couldn’t pass up an opportunity to return to India, so last Thursday I headed to the airport for what wound up being a just shy of 24 hour trek to the other side of the world.

The first flight, 14 hours long, seemed to pass fairly quickly with my time spent between eating, sleeping, catching up on movies, and getting a little bit of work done. Then I had a fairly short layover in Delhi before boarding a short 2 hour flight to Hyderabad.

I really liked the timings of this route, as it left earlier in the day than some others I have taken in the past, so I wound up getting to my hotel just before 9:30 PM. And even though I had eaten lots en route, decided to head downstairs for some dinner before getting some much needed sleep. Mostly I think I wanted something other than airplane food. Not that the food was bad, there’s just so much you can do when feeding that many people with meals that in some cases need to be boarded many hours before they are served.

After that it was definitely time to sleep. I had stayed up the night before my flight to try to get on the new timezone, and even though I slept on the flight, you can only sleep so well in close to a sitting position and with a kid periodically kicking the back of your seat. But I was also good and made sure to start drinking some of the two bottles of water that were in my room. While the water where I am staying is probably filtered, being here only a week I feel like playing it a bit safer this time and sticking to only drinking the bottled stuff.

And after sleeping well, before heading out the next day I had finished both bottles. So I was pleasantly surprised when upon returning to my recently cleaned room there were four new bottles of water for night two. With being here for a full day, just not a night, by the next morning all four were empty. Thankfully they had a few bottles to give us after breakfast so that I could fill up my larger one before heading out as a tourist in the heat.

Maybe you can now guess what happens next. Yes, after a day in the heat I returned to the room to find six new bottles of water for night three. I’m not sure I will be able to go through all six before they clean tomorrow, so the count may not rise to eight bottles for the fourth night.


At the end of a long week, I had a candlelight dinner, of sorts.

It all started out like a pretty typical Friday. Finish up the last few things at work and then head home to drop off bags before heading out to dinner. Yes, sometimes there is a stop along the way, but not tonight.

Then things changed. During the short stop over at our bungalow, we started refreshing a bit and getting ready for dinner, when there was a flicker and the A/C went out. We had been having issues like this over the last couple of days, and have had to get used to surviving with the generator (ceiling fans, no A/C). While my friends still freezing in Chicago may have no sympathy, it is quite hard to sleep when it has been around 40C during the day and only hot air is blowing over you as you try to rest.

This time, it turned out that our whole neighbourhood (Koregoan Park) was in the dark. So we did what any people who are hungry, thirsty, and hot on a Friday night in Pune would do, we headed out for dinner. For those of you who have not been to India, you might be surprised that we ventured out during a black out. But what you may not know is that these are common, and just about every place has generators so that they can keep functioning when this occurs. So off we went, our path lit by the flashlight of a cell phone, to one of our favorite watering holes.

Since indeed they were in the dark, but serving, we grabbed an outside table and where given a candle which we could use to read the menu and place our orders. Part way through our stater (a karari roti) the lights came back on, and we were very hopeful (rightfully so) that we would have A/C back at home after our dinner.

So, it may not have been one of the candlelight dinners of my dreams, but I should be able to dream well tonight, sleeping in a room that can be kept at a moderate temperature.


Hi all,

I know that I have been remiss on blogging much during the last 2 months while I have been in India. Things have been so busy that while I have many ideas in my head, I just have not been able to get them into “print”.

However, I felt that I needed to get these thoughts out in a timely fashion.

I think that it was last week sometime that I realized how nice it was not be getting bombarded with annoying Black Friday commercials just a few days before Thanksgiving. Yes, I have had a few adds show up in email, which is annoying enough. And I must say that now knowing what the hottest toy is or the must have that will be this year is quite refreshing. Have a respite, brief as it may be, from commercialism and consumerism makes me realize how out of control these things are in the US.

Christmas, a holiday, that has a special meaning to many people is getting more and more corrupted every year. Now I am not saying that we shouldn’t spend time with our families during this time, nor that we should express appreciation for what they provide for us by exchanging some simple and meaningful gifts. What I am saying is that the pattern of spending more than one can afford just do have more boxes under the tree has gotten old, at least for me.

I am also not saying that I don’t believe in buying nice things, those of you who know me well will know that I like to shop and like to support the local economies by doing so when I travel. And I have definitely done that during this trip to India. However, I spend within my means and I don’t borrow money to do so.

And along those lines, tomorrow will definitely be a different type of Thanksgiving for me. I will be with some very special new friends and spend a little time pampering myself as well with a facial and a manicure after work. And for an evening night cap, just as those of you in the US are stuffing the bird, I will likely be hanging out at Shisha, listening to live jazz.

Happy Turkey Day to those in the US. Don’t eat too much and don’t spend too much on Friday.


Now that I have been in Pune a week, and it is Sunday of a three day weekend, I have some time to post a few observations about my first day.

Since I was in the last row of my flight to Pune, I was also at the back of the line to clear Customs which took about 45 minutes. Thankfully my driver was still waiting and I found him very quickly.

Around 5 am we arrived at my temporary housing for the first week (although I didn’t know it was temporary – more on that later). After they got my bags out of the car they asked me if I knew the property, which I did not. I think they thought that I had been there before and was just returning when in fact I needed keys and directions to where I would be staying.

Out came the mobile phones, and sadly at least one of my co-workers was woken at this crazy hour to figure out what was going on. And within about 10 minutes (an actual 10 minutes not what those of you who have been here before might be imagining) we were headed to an apartment, keys in hand.

But, that one wasn’t ready, so we moved to another unit and waited a short bit for someone to find the keys. Thankfully that one was ready and I was able to get in and see an actual bed again after 26 or so hours of travel.

The last part of this craziness was that there wasn’t a set of keys to give me a set at that time and I was told to just call for them in the morning. Thankfully the door on my room had a lock that could not be unlocked from the outside, so I at least felt safe for the night in a new place. Not that it would have kept me from sleeping given how tired I was from the journey.

In the morning, yes it was morning, about 11, but morning, I started looking into the key situation and realized that I was in sort of twist on a Hotel California (or Hotel Pune) situation. I could leave my room and wander around the apartment, but if I left the apartment, I would not be able to get back in since the door would lock behind me.

Having no local currency and not sure where the ATMs were, especially ones that would work with my card, I started making some calls, very thankful that I had been given a local phone with some of the important numbers programmed in. The response was great, shortly I had keys and information about ATMs and nearby restaurants I set out to get my first look at the neighborhood and some lunch. I had success in both.

With a full tummy I realized that I was still very tired so I broke all of the rules about how to survive jet lag and took about a 3 hour nap. All I can say is that after doing that and staying up until midnight, my jet lag has been about the least that I have ever had. Yes, I have been a bit tired during but as far as waking up in the night, it has happened but I have been able to get back to sleep much more quickly than other times (in the minutes rather than the hours).


So I am sitting in the lounge at the Frankfort airport with very little energy and droopy eyes, basically just about enough energy to get this post out.

I spent the last week prepping and packing to spend the next 2 months in Pune, India as a trainer for my company’s training program for graduate hires. It is an assignment that I have wanted to do for quite some time and in the past it has always fallen through with my being needed somewhere else (a good thing in and of its own right).

The flight from Chicago to Frankfort was pretty uneventful, well at least after getting a very last minute upgrade to Business Class (a good event). It was a bit turbulent, but that only really got in the way by delaying getting to the restroom prior to conking out for the night.

Crazy as things are, I did run into a co-worker in the lounge in Chicago who I hadn’t seen for awhile and was on the same flight, as he is heading to Bangalore now and will be in Pune in a few days. It was not only nice to see him, but also nice to have someone to hang out with in the lounge. Not to mention someone who could lend me a power adapter since while I packed my India & UK ones (for an overnight transit on the way back), I forgot about needing one in Frankfort on the way over.

OK, I am fading fast, good thing I only have just over another hour until boarding, then if I wind up getting a little more sleep, it won’t be while worrying that I won’t wake up to board my flight.

I knew that my connection in Frankfort was tight but was not expecting the royal treatment to ensure that I made it.

After a fairly good night’s sleep, thanks to a very much appreciated upgrade to business class, as I was gathering my belongings they made an announcement that anyone with a connection to Chennai should identify themselves at the end of the jet bridge. I figured they would walk us to the next gate and ensure that we all made it.

However, after the whole group was accounted for, we actually walked down the stairs to a waiting shuttle bus that took us to an entrance just outside of the next gate. And the bus was just for the 7 or 8 of us that had that connection. Once we arrived they also made sure we got to the actual gate and into the right lines to get what we needed to board.

It was so nice to be taken care of so well. And it was also nice that once I was on board the wait for take off was quite short.

And, while I was not upgraded for this flight, since I had actually not gone through the process of getting a paper certificate in order to upgrade on Lufthansa, I did have an aisle seat and had two empty seats next to me, so I was able to spread out a bit and feel less cramped.

By the time I post this, I will be at my hotel, but now there is a little more than an hour to go in the flight and I am mentally preparing myself to sleep well upon arrival.

OK, Sleep is going to have to wait, as the downside of that tight connection is that my bag is still in Germany. I have completed the paper work to get it delivers when this flight comes in tomorrow at the same time, however I have to wait for them to get some only to me so that I can buy some clothes to wear later today.

I hope there is a place to get something close to my hotel as by the time I need to shop I will have been in my travel clothes for more than 48 hours.

And now the shopping is done and I have added two more salwars to my collection, and a pair of sandals. This does mean that my creative packing for 3+ weeks in one small bag and a carry on has been thwarted, unless perhaps I can send a few things home with my colleagues and not carry them onwards to France.


It’s 10 PM and I am trying hard to get the last few things done before heading halfway around the world after work tomorrow.

I am very excited to be returning to India, after being gone for 5 years and to be going to a city that surprisingly I didn’t make it to in either of my last two trips, Chennai.

I am not thrilled about the flights to get there, nor about the fact that I am only staying 5 days. Well, I guess I’m partially thrilled about that as I am headed back to France for a couple of weeks immediately upon leaving India, and I haven’t been there since my sabbatical 4 years ago.

Of course this made for quite the packing dilemma, as the dress in each place is quite different, especially for women. Given that we are taking the TGV in France, I needed to pack light. Yet I needed loose, flowing, modest clothes in India, and more of a sundress look for the south of France. Somehow, I was able to get what seems like a good wardrobe, as well as running shoes, a hair dryer (220 of course),and a trail yoga mat all in my bag and come in well under the weight limit. Of course, I am sure that I forgot something, but that’s what stores are for, right?

I guess I now have to stop procrastinating under the pretenses of testing out the updated WordPress iPad app and get back to that list of things that has to be done before I leave, of which sleep is dropping lower on the list by the minute, which could be a good thing come flight time tomorrow.

Look forward to more stories here and pictures on Facebook as my travels unwind.


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