Wednesday, December 27, 2006

And .. am back

Holiday over.. and am suffering from terrible post holiday depression. I already want to be back home ... mid year vacation seems tooo far away at this point.

While the journey back was much better than the journey to India.. the arrival at Heathrow was as chaotic as ever. For once, immigration was not a long line! But all the time gained there was lost many times over thereafter. In Frankfurt we needed to check in one of our cabin baggages because smarty pants that we are ..we didn't realize that Duty Free alcohol from India would get counted as 'liquid bottles' and therefore not allowed. So lots of running around in Frankfurt airport ..and since it was last minute.. the luggage was on the next flight. Forms filled, we finally went to catch the Heathrow Connect home.. but that was not working for Christmas .. and I was not going to shell out double the amount for Heathrow Express.. so we made the 1.5 hour journey home on the tube.

We have still not bought our overcoats so thought we'd go shopping to beat the jet lag. What a mistake! This is not something I was prepared for. There are no words to describe the nightmare and we beat a quick retreat. Finally, when I was looking forward to just collapsing to sleep ..I had to not only coordinate with the airlines to get my baggage..when it did arrive it was a mess with a the Blue Curacao bottle broken and all the contents sticky and blue. I could have cried at the amount of cleaning up we had to do in our terribly sleep deprived state!

The other new development .. I am joining a new job today. It was an offer I had got just before I left. It is like many steps backwards. I will be doing the same work as I used to before my masters. I was really hoping another interesting offer would work out before I returned .. but sadly it has not.. and I have to take this. This seems like the biggest anticlimax in my life. I had dreams of waking up excited at some new job I would be joining.. and instead I feel like a child going to nursery who has to be dragged there by the parents. This is so not how it was supposed to be. Am hoping the new year has something better for me.

And now for some friends visiting London for New Years. Unpacking to be done before they arrive tomorrow. Blog reading to be caught up on.. have no clue whats happening in everyone else's life. And trying to cheer up for the last few days in the year. Oh ..and a little late.. but Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The mid-vacation update

Its well past mid-vacation and is nearing the end.. but delays to be blamed on lack of Internet connectivity, very hectic travelling and lots of chaos.

This trip has been full of ups and downs. Its nice for all of us to be home at the same time. . its been nearly two years since the last time we were all here. There's also been short trips to visit old friends and after horrible flights getting here ..and my luck continuing through domestic flights.. I wished I could be teleported from one place to another.

Keeping to tradition I have also gained a LOT of weight in the everyday food festival. Regular jeans have been exchanged for loose salwar kameez' which not only help in hiding new found weight but are far more comfortable than the jeans which have taken the form of an anaconda squeezing me to death.

As usual, we once again forgot to carry our camera. So there's only some hazy phone pictures to show. Next time, I am going to make a list.. and camera will be on the top .. sigh .. I make this resolution every time.. maybe some day I'll actually implement it!

So here are some pictures .. from the high points of the vacation thus far...

We were visiting an aunt on one of the two anniversaries. She made my favourite dinner - khow-suey. Before that there was wine and prawn cocktail .. Perfect!

A great evening spent with old friends at Hard Rock Cafe. Usually, I don't visit HRC in cities I visit.. but everyone highly recommended it, so went along. Good music, nice decor. . standard HRC stuff.

The cocktails were very average.. or even below average. Also, they were very very expensive. But they looked nice. Note strawberry milkshake coloured drink - which even tasted like it.

So with that..I start getting sad about the imminent return to London... and not too sad about the end of a horrible year. More later.. when am back .. to better Internet connection.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I'm home!

Thirteen and a half hours after leaving Heathrow ... I am finally home. And what a wonderful feeling it is. Its all so familiar .. and am feeling so free.

Of course, getting here was not without the usual flight related pains of bad service and crying babies. But I no longer care (can you see my huge grin). One lesson - never fly Lufthansa. We arrived on time at Heathrow.. and the check-in counters opened forty five min late. Slow service would not aptly capture how slow it was.. and how frustrating it was to watch! There was a Japanese couple being made to repack their bags (I suppose weight of each suitcase was above the 32kg limit) ..whatever the reason .. they took over half an hour and the lady in the counter just sat and watched instead of continuing the check-in while they got their stuff sorted. Other such lame examples left only 2 counters really working. Then there were the idiotic passengers who ignored all signs of liquid restrictions and carried every conceivable size of creams, gels and liquids .. not to forget their 250ml of water .. of course none of this in the clear zip lock bags being handed out (and then they fought with the security people.. sadly they were from my country..sigh). Another 15min delay at the security check. And finally the crying, bratty kids .. in the row in front of us. The girl who went on and on and on and on .. for all of the 1.5 hours to Frankfurt. And the mother sat there wit a beatific smile not even bothering to calm her. How I was tempted to whack her with my rolled newspaper. Thankfully, at Frankfurt, they went towards the bus for the Chennai flight ... because I was surely not going to be sitting around peacefully if I had to go through it for another 8 hours of that.

More chaos by Lufthansa in the Frankfurt airport. We were to get seats assigned in Frankfurt.. more inefficiency there. Thankfully the flight to India was peaceful. Again a kid on the row ahead of us .. and one year old at that ... but with parents who took the effort to entertain the child. The kid was also a model child for flying and did not cry except during take off and landing.. which to be fair..must have been quite painful for the kid. The 'arrival' was another story all together. With four counters for Foreigner immigration and one for Indian citizens (which was a longer line than the foreign passport holders) .. its your guess who gets priority here. Of course my luck always holds up and I was literally the last person to clear immigration. . however the baggage handlers ensured that its all levelled out and the luggage started coming out even later .. so finally after one and a half hours we got to go out. And there were my parents waiting at 2:30am..and all the ills of the flight and airport forgotten ..we were finally home!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Full Marks to B

For planning the perfect anniversary.

What a horrible year it has been. I was really hoping to get away for a weekend . . and even that couldn't happen with a whole lot of other stress in the background. So was not really hoping for much.

I had caught B surreptitiously surfing the I guessed it was for a present.. and that put pressure on me to get my act together on getting him something. Books have flopped very badly in the past ..and after much brain racking..I got him Nike running clothes for winter. Though I suspect I am more taken up with the whole branded thing than B is..but whatever..they are smart clothes..and Lilywhites has smart prices. The secret present burst forth on Friday and I just gave it without really waiting for the 'real' anniversary (we anyway have two wedding no one is really sure what is 'real'). And with the enthusiasm of receiving cool present..B also gave me my present .. a beautiful pendant from Tiffany's. Its really pretty..but way beyond my middle class VFM (value for money) comprehension..however.. I l-o-v-e it.

The surprise of presents gone still was lovely. B took a day off..which I didn't know was a nice surprise. We went on a looong walk in the morning and then did some random shopping for presents we need to take home. The evening started with nice cocktails ..made sweeter by happy hours. Then
The Lightning Play at Almeida Theatre (some good acting..but I felt it missed an overall point), again at the play we had tickets for the last row but the hall was fairly empty so we were asked to move up to much better seats. (I feel like such a VFM aunty). We finally went to the Islington Tapas Bar for dinner.. sadly it was nothing great..the sangria was not good, food was decent...but expensive ..however.. it ended on a great note with some fabulous cheese cake..and had good service We finally got home at mid night ..very very tired... a total contrast from last years pizza and horror movie.

Hope this portends a more happening and happier year ahead.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

What would I miss the most?

The other day we were having the most macabre conversation about computers crashing. Macabre, because atleast for me, my computer is my friend, buddy and everything else. . and the idea of a crash is truly disturbing. In the past we've had many worried hours about the computer and its ill health. B for all his computer training in college cannot solve a single problem and since I am at my harried best in a computer crisis, he is under violent attack from me. I refuse to buy silly excuses about how engineers are not taught to 'fix' computers .. methinks the answer lies in the many nights of drunken revelry.

Anyhow, all these computers crashing stories started a discussion on what would each one miss the most if their hard disc crashed and 'your world' just vanished. I think I'd miss my photographs the most. There is a lot of material from my masters.. but then most of it is stuff I can get from batchmates if there's something I really want. There's a tonne of great music. and other irreplaceable things.. but nothing comes close to photographs. All the years and 10GB of photographs is a lot of lovely memories captured and saved for posterity .. and it would hurt to lose them. I have backed up everything till before we were shifting .. but all these horror story discussions reminds me to make a copy of the new photograph folders - Now!