Lord Shiva Shortens Runway

NEW DELHI: The authorities that built the third runway at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport claim it's India's longest - but it's a
credit that remains on paper because of a curious problem.

For all practical purposes, the runway is today India's seventh longest, as almost a quarter of it is unusable. The IGI's new runway, rechristened (29/11), is touted as India's longest airstrip (4,430 metres). But an obstruction created by a 62-feet idol of Lord Shiva facing its landing approach in the east renders over a kilometre of the runway stretch unusable.

This makes the usable stretch shortened to 3,400 metres - making the runway shorter than airstrips in Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Bangalore, in three other metros - Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai - and Delhi's own second runway and a little ahead of the Kochi airstrip

Airhostess Falls From Plane... Escapes With Minor Injury

Ok, this isn't a funny story, but it contain an unintentionally funny line.
NEW DELHI: A Jet Airways airhostess fell down on the tarmac from the aircraft while she was closing its door but escaped with minor

The airhostess, after the passengers were seated and instruction from the pilot, was closing the door of the Mumbai-bound plane on Friday morning when she slipped and fell down from the plane, an airlines official said on Saturday.... she did not receive serious injuries.

The airlines fraternity does not term this incident as uncommon. Since we have to perform our duties wearing high heels, there are chances that we trip, said an airhostess.

Invasion of the bugs from hell

So, it is the time of year in Delhi when millions of new young bugs descend on town. They are harmless of course, no bites... just really... really... REALLY annoying. At home, I'd call them fruit flies, which I guess they are. You see, it is time for the harvest, and a nasty side effect is the relase of these bugs in the process. Like most insects, these bugs flock to the light & inevitably find their way into your house.

This week Sally and I have been playing a game at night, one where we see how much we can get done in the house with the lights out. We've mastered the art of cooking w/ 20 second flashes of light to guide a knife, cleaning dishes by moon light, and of course showering in the dark.

Yesteday we turned on our A/C in the bedroom and a whiff of rotting garbage came barrelling out... I remembered the scent immediately, as one time in Chicago a rat died in the fire escape out back of our house... after a few days, the whole neighborhood was searching for the source. Reluctantly, I called the A/C repair guy to come have a look. Within 30 seconds of standing in front of it, he was ready w/ a diagnoses... Rat he said.

But I knew better. You see, we'd pried it open to take a look & I knew there were literally hundreds of these little bugs that were sucked into the air vent at night & left to rot in the A/C. After poking around the A/C in the servant bathroom - he finally admitted what I knew all along.

Those little, innocent, non-biting bugs, when left to multiply and die in your brand new A/C... can pack quite an odoriferous punch. After an hour of cleaning the A/C, Darvinder (the a/c guy) asked to borrow some of Sally's perfume, gave the A/C a blast of Philosophy perfume & re-installed.

The Richmeister... Makin' Coffee....

Rob Schneider - SNL

After moving to our new office, I decided to gift the firm a coffee maker. For a few weeks now, we've had no office help - a rarity in India. Until we contract a local company to handle this, we are without the coffee / office boy to make teas and coffees. I've been missing a real cup of coffee, I brought in a simple Black & Decker 4 cup drip coffee maker. After several days, I noticed it hadn't been used, the staff preferring to stick with the familiar Nescafe instant stuff.

Last week, I unceremoniously broke it in & brewed a pot of coffee. For two or three days, I brewed a new pot each morning, but took a day off yesterday. This morning, I entered to find the remains of what must have been a valiant fight between the staff & the coffee gods in the kitchen. Coffee grounds were scattered across the table, a rag laid defeated - soaked in coffee, & about 1 sad cup of coffee was left in the pot. After a few minutes of cleaning the crime scene, an employee joined me in the kitchen and fessed up. The staff had decided to make a pot of coffee last night, but didn't know how.

They were able to figure out that the filter needed to be filled with grinds, but then filled the pot with hot water & put it under the filter. They flicked the switch, but nothing happened. So, instead they opened the filter door & filled it with water, shut the door and let the 8 table spoons of coffee drain into the pot of hot water...

Alas, they were left with hot coffee'ish water.... Finally, they gave up, leaving the mess as they created it. After struggling to hold my laughter in, I ran a brief training session today for the team. I'll keep you posted on when they decide to give it another go.


Strong like bull.

Well, last weekend we decided to hit up Oktoberfest at the US Embassy for my birthday. This was the second time I had paid a visit to the American Club @ the embassy, and again - I found myself wondering when Winnie Cooper & Kevin Arnold were going to pop out. This club is a snapshot of Americana that either never was, or rather, was only in Hollywood.

After having our Passports checked, we passed through security screening, including airport style baggage screening, before exiting into Des Moines, Iowa. The Oktoberfest was held on the Little League ball field adjacent to the swimming pool. In the center was a large tent, and the field was ringed by vendors offering Brats, Potato Pancakes (with applesauce of course), pretzels & plenty of sauerkraut.

Nothing about the American club is posh, it really reminds you of the prototypical suburban swim club. A pool designed more for lap swimming than relaxing, a clubhouse with a large locker room (coincidentally the only place properly air conditioned in the entire joint), and of course American flags. Lot's of American flags.

I'll admit, it was a great escape. It was wonderful to surround yourself in the comforts of home - if only for a few hours. I know some of my readers will interpret this sort of party as simply a bunch of expats hiding from the realities of Delhi in some sort of sign of weakness. Maybe it was.

Or maybe - just maybe - it was the best beer I've had in months.

This Week on Yuni-net

So, in Delhi there are several list-servs that expats and locals use to swap information about local goods & services. The idea is that you can simply send an email to the list asking your random question & receive information back. Simply put, this is the the online equivalent of asking your neighbor for a cup of sugar.

I've found Yuni-net & Gurgaonite (the Gurgaon Version) quite useful in sourcing a Hindi teacher, apartments, where to buy good imported cheese, and even how much to pay a driver. Every once in a while, a question is sent out on the list that is just slightly odd. And so, I thought it would be fun to highlight some of the more random requests.

Hi! Does anyone know where I can buy some young geese? Also, what is a reasonable price to pay per goose. Thanks, Linda Mayne.

African kids of abt 10 yrs needed for a video shoot. We need an African kid of about 10/11 years ( boy or girl) BUT with straight here!! Would be great if you could email me at (email addy) some pics please...

I am missing so much capoeira here, that I was wondering if anyone practising capoeira at home would be interested to form a group of practice ?

Hi all, now this is a tough one: does anybody have a dinosaur cookie cutter I could borrow or knows of where I could find one? It could be any dinosaur, we are not picky.

New Apartment

Well Sally arrived this weekend, just in time for my Birthday. I dragged her out at 8 am on Saturday to look at three apartments that I had shortlisted for us. We had 2 in Vasant Vihar and 1 in Shanti Niketan.

We settled on the flat in Shanti Niketan. It isn't as modern as some of the others, but the space is great, light is good & it has a 2 floor terrace... So really, what else could you want! So, now we are busy planning our furniture purchases, paint colors, and general purchases to outfit the joint. This will surely keep us busy, but will certainly be a fun few weeks. I am posting some photos here, but will give you a better tour as we fit the place out. And before you heckle me, yes... there is a Pink Bathroom & a Blue Bathroom. I couldn't have planned that....

Video Killed The Radio Star!

I mentioned a few weeks ago that a reporter from Alabama Public Radio was doing a piece on the election in the states. She was looking for the expatriate view. Well, thanks to the internet folks far outside Alabama can now listen to the piece.