Friday, December 30, 2005

Things in Bangalore I will miss

  • The many friendly, curious, energetic people I met here
  • The great food: dosas, vadas, fresh lime soda (Google "dosa" and "vada" if you don't know what they are)
  • Low prices for restaurant meals, clothes and other items (OK, low for me)
  • Someone making my bed for me every day (which was nice for a year. I never could quite get used to the cleaners coming in every day. I guess I'm too solidly middle-class and too used to doing things for myself)
  • The colors -- of clothes, of trucks, of ... everything
  • Experiencing a totally different culture from the Judaeo-Christian framework that defines the West
  • Being able to wear a T-shirt in January (I am writing this in New Jersey, where some patches of snow are still on the ground)

Things in Bangalore I won't miss

  • Aggressive beggars
  • Aggressive retailers (who sometimes are so aggressive you can't focus on their merchandise)
  • Dirt
  • Cracked sidewalks
  • Stray dogs who may be rabid
  • Fear of disease or accident
  • Auto-rickshaw drivers who try to cheat you or take you to a handicrafts shop
  • Power cuts
  • Washing dishes by hand

I realize as I write this that it may be hurtful to some and may seem like the complaints of a pampered Westerner. There are legitimate reasons for much of the above -- poverty, a chronic shortage of power, etc.

But these things still impinge on you and can sometimes wear you down. In my next post, I'll write about the things I will miss.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Outta here ...

Jay and I flew out on Tuesday, Dec. 13, after an eleventh-hour flurry of packing for the movers and packing for ourselves. It was hectic, but we made it out in one piece.

We were glad to head home but I know I'll miss Bangalore and India. This place got under my skin. I hope to return from time to time.

We have spent the last six days in London, reconnecting with old friends and colleagues. It's been good (Beef! Pork sausages! Mash!).

Jay and I are in a British Airways lounge right now. checking e-mail, blogging, etc. At 2:40 p.m, we take off for Newark, N.J., and our new home in The Garden State.

I'm planning a NEW blog, about the life of a returning expat. Read all about it in Shock Culture Reverse (That's Reverse Culture Shock, in reverse).

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Passing the Bangalore blog torch (blorch?)

My Bangalore blogging days are drawing to an end. Jay and I leave soon and I'm already up to my neck in the usual clean-out-the-apartment, clean-out-the-office, going-away-meals frenzy. And the posts are necessarily becoming less frequent.

I may add some more of my inane musings here and after my arrival home in America. But I'm sure that as time passes, memory fades and new experiences come, this blog will, like its predecessor -- This is My London -- become the digital equivalent of a closed book and no longer a live journal of my stay in this fascinating city and country.

And I hope you've enjoyed it. I've greatly appreciated your comments, critical, positive, or otherwise.

My readers will have at least one more place to go for their Bangalore expat blog fix. A friend and colleague, journalist Dan Sorid, arrived a few months ago and recently launched his own blog, bangalore dreamer, co-written by his teacher wife, Adriana. It's a good read. Their first entries include a harrowing story of a digestively troubled overnight train trip to the World Heritage site of Hampi.

So, watch Bangalore Torpedo for my Last Posts (that's an inside joke for my British friends) but start checking in with the dreamer . (Dan, this means you have to plug my still-unnamed Oatis-Goes-to-Jersey blog :-) ).

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Diane's last dinner in Bangalore -- a table for three at I-talia, the best Italian restaurant in town. (My eyes are probably shut because I'm blissing out on the food) Posted by Picasa

Heading out ...

Diane left Bangalore early this morning. We took her to Bangalore International Airport, arriving around 4:15 a.m. She left around 7:20 a.m.

Diane is the advance guard. She's headed for an exotic locale -- New Jersey -- where she'll be hunting for a place for us to live.

Meanwhile, it's just Jay and me. Tonight, still a little groggy from the early morning airport trip, we went to a concert by a Finnish rock group, The Rasmus. Lots of fun (Woo hoo! Mom's out of town! Party down!).

But, seriously, we miss her already ...

Friday, December 02, 2005

Pop-up Rat

Just about every city has rats -- New York, London and Bangalore are among them (I wrote an article on rat control in New York when I was at journalism school. It appeared in the Amsterdam News and was my first front-page story).

Recently, I was walking down M.G. Road. Like many sidewalks in Bangalore, the pavement consists of slabs of stone, some with cracks between them.

As I was stepping over one sizeable crack, a rat's head popped up between my feet, startling me and making me jump a little. Then he popped back into the crack.

I've had some not-so-nice encounters with rodents -- as a boy I surprised a snarling rat as big as a small cat along the New York water front -- but this one looked almost friendly and was cute in an odd way. He was just checking out the neighborhood.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Thanksgiving Day lunch

Here's what was on the menu for lunch at my company cafeteria -- they call it a canteen here -- on Thanksgiving Day:

White rice
Mango rice
Jeera rice
Lobia gravy
Yem poriyal

For those of you who don't know South Indian food, a chapatti is a kind of bread, sambar is a sauce you pour over white rice to make it tastier and more nutritious, a papad is flat and crispy, almost like a giant tortilla chip; rasam is a spicy, nutrient-packed soup and curd is yogurt. Laddu is a ball-shaped dessert.

I'm not sure what yem poriyal is.

The menu above is typical for a cafeteria lunch. I did not and would not expect turkey with all the trimmings on Thanksgiving because there are very few Americans in the office and a large number of staffers are vegetarians.

However, there are enough Americans in Bangalore that at least two restaurants laid on special menus for the holiday.

Diane, Jay and I did have Thanksgiving dinner at a friend's house. The turkey was killed and plucked that morning at the market.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Holiday confusion ...

Some people at my office have signed up to sing Christmas carols and have begun practicing this week. And I can hear them. And it's very nice.

But yesterday was Thanksgiving. And working on Thanksgiving while hearing people sing "Joy to the World" and "Oh, Come All Ye Faithful" can be very confusing!

Oh well. The Christmas shopping season starts today in the States. From now on, when I hear the carolers, I'll close my eyes and pretend I'm in a shopping mall ...