Kite Wala

Kite Wala, originally uploaded by shelmes.

This is the local kite seller near our friend Rohan's house. From what I gather, he has been selling kites for years from this corner. As you can see from this photo, the variety of kites available is pretty large. This is a small portion of his overall stock.

I realize this photo is a few weeks late (given my earlier post about kite flying), but it took Rohan some time to get me his photos as he recently got engaged. Congrats Rohan!

Nehru Park on Republic Day

Reason For Foodies To Celebrate!

From HT: Oberoi Patisserie & Delicatessen.

Have you seen spicy Calabrian salami, San Danielle ham, real farmhouse Cheddar cheese (that is, made in Somerset, not the variety that’s made in Gurgaon!) or Valrhona chocolates on your last trip and wished you could get them in Delhi? Well, now you can. There are other goodies too: real Kalamata olives from Greece, cold-pressed olive oil from Sicily, breads the likes of which we in Delhi have hardly seen.

What impressed me the most was the subtle, gracious manner in which a variety of tastes had been catered for. There was gorgonzola cheese (Rs 100 for 100 grams for all varieties) and goat cheese from Piedmont for the dyed-in-the-wool cheese lover, but there were also Edam, Gouda and Emmanthal for the less adventurous. It is the same with virtually every product - the depth within each range shows you the intensity of research that has gone into the restaurant.

Rush Hour

Yes, that is a herd of stampeding cows down MG road...

Oh dear lord...

Sally found this terrifying article in the Hindustan Times today that
talks about new regulations on domestic carriers.

As of today, cabin crews of all domestic airlines will now have to
interact with pilots over the intercom every 30 minutes.

Seems reasonable enough, except that this decision was made after
several incidents of planes flying beyond their destination/ moving
away from flight path after the pilots fell asleep.

Yes, pilots fell asleep aboard one aircraft in Air India's fleet
causing the aircraft to fly past Mumbai, the destination, and on
toward Goa. In addition, one international flight overflew its
destination which is also under investigation.

So, next time you hop on a plane, you may want to say a prayer or two, and consider buying the pilots some coffee.

Mouth Freshener at the Market In Ahmedabad

DSC_0152, originally uploaded by shelmes.

Well, it's been about a week since Sally and I headed to Ahmedabad for our friends pre-wedding festivities & to witness the kite-flying festival.

We did not arrive in time for the structured & formal International Kite Flying Festival, but rather for the crazy competitive day of flying amongst the locals in Ahmedabad. Thankfully we had a host of local guides to help us make the most of the day.

We flew kites with the thousands of folks on their roofs in the Old City, with the families in the western suburbs, and had a panorama view of the kites flying over the slums on the bank of the river.

On our final day, we took some time out and went on the wonderful heritage walk through the Old City. It departed at 7:30 am, and snaked through a Jain Community, Hindu Community and a Muslim community. We visited several temples/mosque's along the way - and it was here I snapped this photo of Mouth Freshener for sale.

My friend's mother once described one of these mouth fresheners to me as an Indian Tic-Tac. I think that is as good a description as any. They are available in many varieties -but in my experience most taste like Soap, or Black Licorice (I happen to like Black Licorice). However, every once in a while, You will find one you absolutely love.

Do not let my description of this treat discourage your from trying them the next time you are out - in fact, it should encourage you to try them every time you go out. After all - you might love the freshener, you might hate it - but it is the experience of trying the unknown you will enjoy most.

In fact, it is kind of like India.

Or as an Indian might say. We are like that only.

Updated to include proper spelling

Odd odd odd

The immigration chap at Delhi International airport just asked me to
get him a job. As I walked away he made sure to jot down my mobile
phone number from my departure card.

I guess a government job just ain't what it used to be.

Delhi fog now...

It is midnight. My flight to Europe departs at 2am. This is the scene on the road to the airport.
It looks like I am in for a very long wait at the airport tonight...

Update: Every other flight was cancelled... except mine! Go SwissAir!

Delhi fog this am

Kite Flying in A-bad

Rush Hour in Gurgaon

Rush Hour in Gurgaon, originally uploaded by shelmes.

Early Morning Fog in Gurgaon stands in stark contrast to the early morning sunshine captured just two weeks ago in Chicago. Every morning the sun seems to battle with the fog before finally lifting - leaving the sky blue.... ish...


So, my one complaint for some time has been that I've missed a good bagel in Delhi. This led to a conversation last weekend where Sally and I debated how difficult it would be to make bagels. Does no-one make them in US because they are cheap and readily available? Or, is it so difficult to do make them that one wouldn't consider trying...

Well, I just walked in from work, and Sally looked up a recipe and tried today. Much to my shock, there are a dozen or so fresh bagels sitting here and they taste like - real bagels! I'm going to force Sally to share the recipe she used right after I eat the skyline chili she heated up for dinner. It's as if I never left the US.

Back in Delhi - Back in Action

I'm happilly writing this post from the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf at Select Citywalk in Saket. It is all very Perez Hilton of me, I believe he got his start posting the from the CBTL at Hollywood and Vine. Somehow - that sounds more glamorous right now.

But I digress. Sally and I have arrived back in Delhi after a long detour through France, Germany, America, Istanbul & of course the UK - three times... As I mentioned in an earlier post, my passport was stolen/went missing in the UK the evening of the Terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Since then, I've been living the life of a vagabound bouncing from hotel, to friendly couch, to an airmattress (or two) & of course several airport lounges. But, it was all worth it. Returning to India was so much sweeter given the circumstances of our previous 6 weeks of travel. I'm truly glad to be back in our home.

Returning was quite and adventure as winter has arrived (it is a frigid 65 degrees today). With winter's arrival, the fogs have descended on Delhi. The fog wrecks havoc on everything related to transport. Airports close, trains get delayed & the highways slow. As a result, Sally and I spent New Years Eve in the Turkish Airlines Airport Club with three Germans & the disgruntled Turkish staff. We watched the ball drop in Istanbul while sipping Effe beer and watching the major network's choicest belly dancers. It was all very anti-climatic.

In hindsight, we should have gone into Istanbul - or at least bought a good bottle of Champagne from the Duty Free Shop. However, we were supposed to have left Istanbul 7.5 hours earlier - except for that pesky fog. When we did finally make it onboard the plane - I wished we hadn't. Whomever allowed Turkish Air into the Star Alliance with the ancient A310 in their fleet should seriously reconsider. The inflight movie was projected onto the bulkhead wall & desperately needed someone to play with the "tracking" on the VCR. Yes... you heard me right - VCR.

Finally, 8 hours late (we added an hour of circling in Delhi) we arrived in Delhi, went home & got on with 2009. I hope you and yours had a wonderful New Years & I look forward to the next year.

Best -