Monday, December 31, 2012

The Other Side of the World.....again

Wow !

This last trip took it out of me.
A week at a Tradeshow for  10hrs a day, late hotel arrivals, early flights, early car rides, more late hotel arrivals (again).

Just before I left a new plant had been purchased for the office, this pic taken Nov 20th - more on this one later.

Obligatory airport terminal seating picture, Pearson Terminal 1 Gate 37

Actually if you were thinking about going to India to be a tourist, this would be the time of year to do it.

And my disclamier up front. I had no free time while here this time, so all the pics you see are from behind car windows, so quality is less than I would like.

Its winter here, temperatures are running between 25c-29c (77f to 85f) across the country. Compared to my last trip in May when it was running 35c to 45c with the sun burning a hole in your retina's.

Go figure though the day I arrived Mumbai had recorded it lowest overnight temperature of 15c (60f)

I saw people with winter coats and toques ! If only they new what it was like else where.
That afternoon as I was sitting on the patio at +29c and chatting to a friend in Kazhistan where it was -29c

The show was as Tradeshows go , long days , lots of waiting , lots of talking, hurry up and go kinda thing.
Deals being made, connections, meeting new customers and greeting ones I have met on previous visits, all in all a good time.

 This trip was different than the others. Had time to meet people and spend time talking, beyond the product or what someone is pitching. Was also a time to finally get a handle on the food and find some foods I enjoy and can find elsewhere.

Weridness - Guns and Roses playing Mumbai ??  Go figure

At the Sun n Sand, the Kabob Hut is worth trying, if not for the Shish Kabob , Combo Platter (all meet for the protein lovers), then just sit out on the patio and feel the breeze from the ocean.

The next night I branched out and took a chance on something new and discovered Chicken Buryani.

Basically Chicken and Rice cooked in a clay pot, the top being covered by a piece of bread. If large enough this is something that would be cooked overnight.

I saw other variations of this done with Lamb. Was moist and with some great little zing of spice to it.
Will have to see if I can find this in London and see how it compares.

One thing I do recommend to anyone traveling to this part of the world (or even others) , if staying in a good hotel, take advantage of breakfast !!  India has lots of fresh fruit available. I had watermelon, small banana's and pineapple, just about every day.  The pineapple is awesome.

 Mumbai seems to be going through major growth  as the old is taken away and new os popping up.

The International Airport has been under construction since I was here in 2010 with no signs of progress.  And now a Metro system is in process, so big construction adding to the already chaotic traffic.

Things you see, like this Royal Enfield motorcycle, kinda like India's Harley Davidson. This one all done up military style in khaki and black. Wonder what it would take to import these into Canada ? Have to check costs.

Laundry out to dry along the overhead highway running through Mumbai.

After a week of Mumbai and my favourite hotel the Sun n Sand, it was time to start the travel and customer visits part of my trip, the real reason we make these journeys.
An early morning flight and found myself in Ahmadabad, at  Le Meridien Hotel. I had stayed here once before and of all the places I stay, this is the least expensive and probaly the highest level of service.

My local contact Dharmendra or Poncho as I call him, showed me his Vespa scooter before we parted ways. He has been driving it since 1985 when he purchased it brand spanking new.

Sorry about the quality of the pic, the camera had been stuck inside the bowels of some machine and got a little spray on it - I was to tired to care haha.

That scooter started up like it was just off the show room floor, though lights dont work anymore (wiring issues) and the speedometer conked out long ago , and now covered by a yogurt container lid. He has all the parts at home, just like every other tech guy has not taken the time to do the work on his own gear. Haha

After a day of running around, it was Saturday night. Yes when here we are working 6 days per week to take advantage of our time.
I had to crash early as I had to be at the airport just after 5am to catch my 6am flight to Coimbatore.

Well what started as a "I should be in the hotel by 11am"  turned into a 9 hour journey as we were unable to land in Bangalore (a stop along the way) due to low ceiling. An hour in a holding pattern then diverted to Chennai for fuel, another hour or so sitting on the tarmac then once again to Bangalore and finally Coimbatore.

So much for my day off to catch my breath and rest a bit.

The only consolation about that hectic Sunday was arriving at The Residency Hotel , Coimbatore.
I had stayed here once before in 2010, I dont even remember the room as we arrived after 11pm and left the next day around 7am. That trip was mostly a blur !!

It was nice to find out they had been renovating since my last visit, and I was lucky recipient of a freshly renovated room !!
Rooms here run around  6500r or about $125/night. By western standards a great deal and very good value for the money. Including a really great buffet, remember having good food is important part of traveling this part of the world. NOt only for your health but also your sanity.

I was quote taken back knowing  I would be here for a few nights.
Along with nice comfy chair for lounging in while watching bad tv and surfing the web

For my Mountain Dew drinking good friend down south, local brew.

Another cool feature that I had never seen before was this wall unit between the beds. Just about every connection you can imagine available, though I think that IPad/Iphone connection is all wrong. That all hooked up to the big screen across the room.

Well after running around the comfort was welcome

for the moment........

we headed out on the happy highway to visit customers and help pay for all that luxury happiness.

Coimbatore has a road works project on the go, upgrading the hidden systems of the city to meet the growing demands of modern society.

Except as we have experienced, things do not go as planned here. Well they do go as planned just takes awhile to get the plan going.
Evident from the posters glued to these culverts, lining the roads, patiently waiting to be installed.

Then my gracious hosts, thinking I would not want to drive back to Coimbatore from our day long trip booked me at a local hotel in Salem area.

All I can say is after the luxury of the Residency, I was ready to suffer the 2-3 hr ride back to Coimbatore.

It was clean but rough and the roof top , romantic patio restaurant was definitely not on my list of places to eat. Ya I will admit I need some pampering when traveling. My hosts got the hint and got me back to my favourite place the next night.

Things you notice when your not the driver, when you have a chance to look out the window.

Splashes of color

Just to bad they are taken through the car window while doing 80km/hr

Might be time to be a tourist in India next time I visit. Get a chanceto get out of the car and wander around.
At the show I had a chance to chit chat with one of the girls working the booth, the lovely Miss Rosario.

Next time in Mumbai she graciously offered to spend a day or two with me and show me all the sites and hopefully some places off the beaten path in Mumbai. Really nice girl, smart funny and obviously beautiful young Indian woman.

This part I enjoy , making connections with people. If you know me, I don't make connections with everyone, am selective, wait to see who they are, what they think.

Like my new friend, Bhalpreet from Chandigarh, Engineer, Entrepreneur, tinkerer. He showed me pictures of places in Northern India, where he goes fly fishing and told me about his desire to build a fly rod from bamboo all DIY and hand built. More about the challenge of doing it.
I know this passion. Means I have someone else to visit, another part of India to learn about, not just what I  see from the car but to actually touch it, feel it.

Did our fair share of driving of course as sometimes its juts the better way to travel.
Of course driving the highways on India can be quite the experience.

Like looking ahead and realizing we are already on the shoulder and there are 2 trucks and a bus headed our way.

Then getting back on the Major Highway. multi lane speeding with construction to slow you down.

your zipping along at 100km/hr - high speed here haha

And notice the bus ahead

Yes that's right, at 100km/hr with little regard for safety or anything these jokers hanging on to grab handles enjoying the trip.

I know as per newspaper reports they are starting t crack down on this, as speeds increase ont he highway and the amount of traffic increases.

But then road safety is not everyone's concern !!

Then not much farther down the road your blinded by this spectacular building, a unviersoty in what seems to be the middle of no where.

This part of India (south) is having big issues with Gas, Water and Electricity supplies. Most of this is being diverted to the North where all the major industries are. In fact the state of Tamil Nadu is in conflict with its northern cousin Kamataka, with border protests happening as Tamil Nadu fights to get water.  The electricity regularly went out while sitting in hotels or even at customers.Some have had to install portable power generators, like this one in the back of a bus.

Smaller business's have had to run with wood fired boilers, to be able to generate steam pressure required to run machines.

Next stop Bangalore
Well after a 4 hr bus ride - my first in India. But cant complain was a Volvo Multi-Axle cruiser with assigned seating , air conditioning and movies on board.
The movie was Eega (Fly)  about a young man who is killed by some rich guy, who wants his girl, the young guy comes back reincarnated as a Fly to seek his revenge, laugh out loud funny, even without english or subtitles.

The bus stand was next to the Car Wash, where this young guy was getting his bikeall shined up for hot date am sure.

of course this place was next to someones house, goats and chickens included.

We arrived in Bangalore around 10pm, to find that the bus stop had changed to just on the edge of the city, no taxi's waiting. Our choice was wait another 30 minutes for a car to show up or grab a Tut-Tut.
Proceeded to blast across the city , 3 of us jammed in the back with bags.

We pulled into Le Meridien Bangalore, me in my Tut-tut aurrounded byb Mercedes and BMW's haha
Its the contrasts that make it fun, when your running around with little sleep and craving a real meal you need these to put a smile on your face , make you laugh and shake your head.

Bad Iphone pic of the Main Entrance of the hotel, they dont build this kind of place anymore.

Le Meridien Bangalore , like the one in Ahmadabad, is an older hotel that has managed to maintain its extravagant look and feel while attracting international customers, evident from the crowd at breakfast that this hotel has wide clientele and would be on my list of places to stay any time here. A little on the high end of hotels to stay for a night at $130 plus taxes, but worth it.

Its the small touches that add to your stay, that make you want to come back , that make you feel like a valued guest.

I saw this cup sitting in the room, Tata is a name you see all over India.

 The Tata Group of companies is everything from this simple coffee cup to Chemical Industries, Mobile Phone networks , the Taj line of hotels and even Landrover Jaguar.  Far reaching scope of products and services and not one we hear of here in Canada or North America.

Another day of customer visits, another day of running around, a 4 hour wait in the airport and I was headed back to Mumbai, for another late night arrival to Sun n Sand, my home base in India.

next day up and at em, 6am !! Last day of customer visits about 2 hrs from Mumbai, followed by another late night back to the hotel. So tired !!

My one day off without any plans or need to travel. Its Sunday I am not doing anything or going anywhere. This trip has worn me out.

Last night when i arrived a wedding reception was in progress.

Actually every Friday, Saturday and Sunday I have been at the Sun n Sand there has been a wedding reception in one form or another.

Its all about being poolside, small venue, sound of the ocean behind you. One of the popular places in Mumbai for this.

Last day here !
Day of rest though I cant seem to get my sleep. If you know me you know I have issues sleeping on a good day, so I get nothing for sleep when travelling.

Was hard coming home from +25c temps to winter back in Canada

Oh remember that plant at the start of this taken Nov 20th.
this is what it looked like Dec 20th after I go tback. Its called an Amarillis.

Well Xmas is over and done with.
New Year will be upon us at the end of today.

To those of you out there who read this , I wish you a Happy New Year and all the best to come.

for now I rest , find my sleep as I have Bangladesh coming up at the end of January



  1. Happy New Year Doug!
    As always, great reading up on your adventures and work.
    Take care & hope to see you some time in the new year. Maybe we could meet up for lunch or dinner with the boys.
    Leslie xo

  2. Nice post Mr. Uncle Doug.. LOL