Month: March 2009


So, while India is decided to be too dangerous for cricketers – I fly straight here.  Cause that’s the kind of daredevil I am.  Off the wall.  Crazy.  And all that.

Yep – I’m here in India.  Beautiful, scenic Gurgaon – a satellite city of Delhi.  Beautiful, scenic.  That’s what the description on a website for my hotel says.  “Set in scenic surrounds”.  Hmmm… I think there’s been some kind of language difficulties there.  The hotel’s views, depending on what side you look from – consist of a motorway, a make-shift parking lot for motorcycles, or small barren brown fields.  And further afield doesn’t get much better.  Pretty much just dirty, ugly industrial city – done Indian style.  Reading the information pack in my room – the best thing they could come up with to get one excited about Gurgaon was that it was sometimes called the shopping mall centre of India.  Lots of shopping malls.  That’s the best feature.

But – to be fair – it is within driving distance of stuff.  So – hopefully one day I’ll be able to go see… stuff.  Taj Mahal, Red Fort, …. stuff.  Current plan is that I fly out on Saturday night – and I’m working on Saturday – so current plan means I don’t get to see stuff.  But – it’s sounding more and more likely that I’ll be staying another week – probably two more.  Which could kill me – as I am already exhausted.  I come to a country which is actually warm – very warm – and get a cold.  Possibly something to do with working 15 hours a day, staying up until 4am each night, and skipping meals.  I’m in a hotel with a swimming pool and a bar with free drinks.  Both close at 8pm – and I’m working until after 8pm each night.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.  I think I’m going to get into the habit of leaving the office earlier, and doing some work from the lounge with free booze.  Especially as when the booze isn’t free – it’s expensive.  More expensive than London.  Far more expensive than London.  Twice as expensive as London.  Which makes it 3 or 4 times more expensive than New Zealand.  Not sure how much of my bar tab the company will pick up – but certainly not all of it.

Anyway – that’s enough whinging about my free trip to a foreign country staying in a nice hotel.  Back to work.

So, So Much Work

Firstly – “Yes – India”.  The project I’m working on will eventually be supported by a team in India.  And from what I’ve seen so far, I am far from confident in their abilities to keep it running for more than a month after they get given the reins.  (Yes, I know that using metaphors such as being ‘given the reins’ is not the best, but it’s better than using horrible amorphous ‘business-speak’).  So – the plan is that I go over there for a week, and try to train some people how to do the job they’ve been hired to do.  It’s not looking like it’s going to be easy, or fun.  But – at least I might be able to spend the weekend leading into, or leading out of – in order to go see the Taj Mahal.  The Taj Mahal, which in a game of Trivial Pursuit only about 10 years ago – failed to answer where it was.  So – probably sometime in March – India.

Which, along with other circumstances, means I’m going to miss my stepsister’s wedding.  The amount of work, the fact that everybody seems to think we’re ‘going live’ (I’ll think of a horrible metaphor to replace that one day), and the fact that the guy who’s been brought in to take some load off me will be on holiday – means there is zero chance of me getting time off.  So – it looks like I’ll leave it until later in the year – and be able to visit when there’s two newly-wed couples, one new-born – and whatever else has happened by then.

And that pretty much sums up what’s been happening over here as well.  Work.  So, so much work.  And when not working – too tired too cook dinner, so eating at the pub instead.  Which is alright, because it’s decent proper food, not takeaways.  But does – of course – entail being at the pub.  And all that that involves.

Which reminds me – there was one more thing over the last fortnight.  Last weekend maybe?  Or the weekend before?  Another fundraising event.  Cue Kruse with red suit, giving away money, happy, and drinking too much.  I don’t know the full story, but I believe a local chap – fairly young – had a couple of brain aneurysms, or some such.  He’s got a wife and family, so his friends decided to do something to try and help him out a bit.  This pub, MY pub, was chosen as the venue – along with a few others selling raffle tickets.  So – Saturday, Pete – the old guy who is a regular, works as a chef at a nunnery along with working at a fruit stall and somewhere else – cooked “London style pie’n’mash with liqeur”.  Liqeur turns out to be some weird parsley sauce – which they absolutely drown the plate with.  So – I came down, donated a few bottles of Kiwi wine to the raffle, bought rather a lot of raffle tickets – and ate some pie’n’mash.  With some beers to wash it down.  Later – another pie’n’mash to keep me going.  And then, it was turning out to be a big enough event, and a good-enough-natured event, that I considered the red suit making an appearance.  Usually – it comes out maybe twice a year.  But – I figured that bringing it out so soon after last time was worthwhile for such a cause.  So I did.  And it caused joy.

And this week – I think I’ve seen my first genuine London junkie, and bought my first London “fallen-off-the-back-off-a-truck” goods.  Girl was in the other night, looking terrible, trying to sell a ‘personal CD player’ – carrying a plastic bag of god-knows-what.  I suspect stolen goods, or her life.  Wearing tracksuit pants, and nothing underneath – unless her underwear was as low as her pants.  Which were far too low.  Asking everybody for cigarettes, trying to sell long outdated technology.  And nuts.  My unproven suspicion – junkie.

And then aforementioned Pete (who I had an argument with last Friday – due to his disagreeing with me taking a drink off a guy who’d just fallen over, then later fell unconscious, and eventually was taken away in an ambulance.  Pete reckons I shouldn’t have taken his drink off of him.  I’ll leave you to decide) – anyway, Pete – after we made up and what-not, noticed that I happened to be drinking wine that night.  Told me he doesn’t drink wine, and never drinks “indoors” anyway.  Which I assume means he never drinks at home.  But – then he went on to tell me that he had a dozen bottles of wine at home – and he’d sell them to me for <mumble mumble>.  I initially heard the <mumble mumble> as 5 pounds per bottle.  I agreed, thinking to reassure him there were no hard feelings.  The next night he came in with them, as arranged.  Turned out to be 35 quid for the lot.  And they are pretty good bottles.  Looks to me like a mixture of the type that people get in wine clubs.  And as I happen to know a lot of the people in this area work at a post office sorting place, am starting to wonder if one shipment went ‘missing’.

But – with both the junkie and the wine – I don’t know, and probably prefer not to.  However, I think I might be seeing a bit of the London life that most people don’t – especially as I suspect that the family of the chap who the fundraiser was for is border-line gangster.  So – not too sure if my generosity was well-placed after all.  And I know damned well that guy who bought my local (not the guv’nor – but the actual owner) – is certainly far from above board in certain respects.  So I like the fact I’m seeing something different, but I’m definitely hoping I don’t get to experience the “knife crime” the newspapers love to shout about.

Fish’n’Chips.  My original impression was “not as bad as I’d heard”.  But recently – I’ve had fish’n’chips from a store near work.  Taken them back to work – initiating a rush of my workmates to do the same.  And as I sit there thinking how awful the chips are, my workmates are raving about how these are the best chips in town.  The fish – fine.  Chips – horrible.  And I tried the curry sauce they have with them.  Horrible.