Work, drink, work, drink, wrink, dork

Apologies to the few of you who still logon once in a while to see if I’ve been doing anything interesting.  Firstly – for not writing anything for a while, and secondly – for not doing anything terrible exciting recently.

Yep – since the last time I blathered on about stuff – I worked a couple of weeks in India, and drank at night.  I believe I made a few phone calls from the hotel one night – taking advantage of the fact that I was still awake at what should be a reasonable hour in New Zealand.  Forgetting that despite being awake, I probably wasn’t in any state to make sensible conversation.

Then – back to England (for good – I don’t think I have to go to India again.  Figured I’ve spent about 20% of this year living in the Crowne Plaza Today Gurgaon).  Anyway – back to Ingerlund, where the pattern continued.  Ben is still in the area – so there has been a fair bit of the old binge-drink.  Mine old nemesis.  So – the last few weeks has been a rollercoaster of excessive drinking, excessive working, repeated ad nauseum.

Highlights include:

  • Setal & Mark’s wedding.  Congratulations to them.  Good wedding, and good craic afterwards.
  • The day after Setal’s wedding.  To the best of my knowledge, I bought 18 bottles of champagne that day – although one of them was only a mini-bottle.
  • Last Friday.  Drinks with workmates.  Well – bosses.  A very overpriced bottle of champagne which I couldn’t finish, so took back to my local.
  • Saturday.  John’n’Mel’s leaving drinks.  Drinks in a park, followed by being far far too noisy at Caro’n’Dom’s place.
  • Sunday.  Woke up with bodies strewn throughout my bedroom.  Accidentally left very long message on my boss’ voicemail.  He reckons he couldn’t hear much except bad guitar, and me yelling at somebody about my horse.  Then – went to the local – and treated Caitlin, Chook & Slab to that particular experience.  Slab stuck with me to the end. I spent most of the time working, getting progressively ‘slurrier’ on my conference calls with management-types.
  • Last night – drinks with workmates.  Supposed to be my boss’ leaving drinks – but he’s been coerced into staying a while longer too.  (I was supposed to finish last week – no such luck.)
  • Tonight – supposed to be attending some black-tie function.  It’s kind of like the Oscars, but for computer nerds.  And I’ve been invited!  (Yes – the self-disgust is nearly unbearable.)  Methinks it’s time to get boozed up and try to snatch an award off of somebody, and make a drunken speech.

Back To Inja

Here I am, back in the subcontinent.  And – writing that, I realised for the first time how amusing it is that they call it that.  Because – when you visit here, you’re not necessary incontinent – but usually somewhere close.

Anyway – I realised when I visited family, that when people asked me about India – I didn’t have much to say.  I’d got so used to some of the weirdness, that I couldn’t think of anything interesting.  So – this time, I’m going to try and describe some of the weird and wacky things that go on around here – while I’m still getting reaccustomed to it.  Before seeing a family of 5 travelling on a motorbike becomes ho-hum.

So – the trip here was as usual.  Get to the airport, eat some horrible airport food (I’m sure airport food is worse than airplane food – and you have to pay for it), buy some duty-free – and get on a plane.  Well – in mighty Terminal 5, one of the most modern terminals in the world – get onto a bus, drive across the tarmac, and get onto a plane.  Watched some terrible movies, drank some average wine – and only managed to fall asleep during take-off and landing.   7 hours later, or so – get toNew Delhi, and start to remember the oppressive heat, the pseudo-english on all signs and official paperwork, and filing cabinets packed full of paper, falling apart, in the middle of the luggage pick-up hall.  People wandering around in uniform – presumably doing their job.  Which seems to be wandering around wearing a uniform.  All with a kind of “Oh – what was I going to do?  Hmmm… maybe wipe down some 10-foot high invisible surface for dust.  Now… where did I leave my cloth?”

Got to the hotel, and immediately remembered how mixed one’s feelings are when hotel staff – who haven’t seen you for months, welcome you back with a “Welcome back sir”.  It’s nice to be recognised – but then you think about the reason they actually recognise you.  You’ve 10% of the year staying in a hotel in an industrial city in India.  And about to double that percentage.  And that was before I even got to the bar.  Before I’d come, my workmates had joked that the bar staff would have a ‘Kruse-beer’ waiting for me when I arrived.  I walked in – the barman had just poured what did indeed look to be a ‘Kruse-beer’.  It was obvious he’d poured it for somebody else – but when he saw me he really did exclaim out rather loudly “Mr Kruse!  Would you like a Mr-Kruse-beer Mr Kruse?”.  And handed me the beer.  And thence ensued much shaking of hands with all the bar-staff on that night – welcoming me back and asking how long I was here for this time, etc.  Its depressingly nice to be appreciated.  And – of course, this pattern has continued since I’ve been here, as I continue to see staff for the first time – at the bar, restaurant, exec lounge, drivers, etc.  I think I’ve nearly convinced myself I’m some kind of travelling businessman.

And then – then, I came to work.  Not quite the same reception here.  Well – a  pretence of it, but fairly easily seen through.  Much like my own statements that it was good to be back, I guess.  But – my first day was cheered up a lot when the following happened.  I’d spent most of the morning doing absolutely nothing – waiting for the guy to arrive who was bringing me my laptop.  Turns out he doesn’t start until noon – so I could have had the sleep-in that I desperately needed.  He eventually arrived – and I set myself up in a meeting room which had been turned into a cramped little office with about 8 desktops.  A small group of people turn up at the door – and ask me if we’re using the projector.  Yep – that one, attached to the ceiling.  “No” – I say, because I wasn’t.  They look at each other, and nod that it would suffice.  I didn’t think too much about it – but assumed they’d come in soon and ask if they could borrow the room.  But no – two chaps walk in 10 minutes later – climb on the desk, and start unplugging the cords that go into it.  At which point – my interest is definitely piqued.  This projector is mounted onto the roof.  With a steel bracket.  It also has one of those steel cords used to secure laptops, and projectors.  And – all the cords are wired into the ceiling.  But – they set about their work.  They unplug all the cords – assuming, I guess, that they can find replacement cords somewhere else where they want to plug it in.  They succeed at unplugging the cords – but then, suddenly, look at the next bridge to cross.  Hmmm…. screwed onto a steel bracket which looks to extend well into the ceiling.  And a security cable which is designed to stop this very thing happening.  But – at least that has a key to open it.  So – they do some thinking, and then disappear.  One guy returns 20 minutes later with a pair of pliers, and a loose hacksaw blade.  And sets about it.  At this point, I really was a happy chap again.  I sat there working, stifling laughter, watching this guy attack a top-brand laptop security cable with a hacksaw blade.  No hacksaw – just the blade.  And – full credit to the guy – he stayed there until he did it.  I’ve just had to look the product up – and he sawed through a “Super-strong, steel composite cable with carbon tempered steel core” with a hacksaw blade.  After that – it was a simple matter to unscrew the project from it’s mounting – and off they go.

But, of course, there is also the irritating stuff to go with the comedy.  Walk outside at anytime there are a lot of people leaving work (which seems to be every half-hour) – and the little dirt-road outside is packed full of cars and people-movers – all waiting for people, or full of people and trying to leave – honking their horns at each other.  Absolute chaos.  But – I’m not sure if making this loud obnoxious noise is actually trying to let one of the 12 cars in front of them know that they’re trying to get through.  Because – nearly every truck you see is painted in bright colours – with “Horn Please” painted on the back.  Maybe truck-drivers here are just all gay?

Other things are just different.  I was here at 3am last night – and discovered that one guy’s job is to walk around the building at 3am – giving out snacks to everybody working at that hour, and getting them to write their name in the accompanying book.  I guess this is fair – because the daystaff get free lunch and/or dinner at the cafeteria (which seems to have completely stopped serving food I recognise.  I used to be able to at least hope I could recognise some chicken or lamb… not thus far this time).  And I don’t know how many security guards the office building employs – but it would easily be enough to stand shoulder-to-shoulder around the external perimeter.  And the one time I saw one seem to actually try to secure something – was my first morning.  There is a little card reader which you’re supposed to swipe your card past when you enter.  And – another one when you leave, for some reason.  All this reader seems to do is beep – and flash green if you’re a good guy.  It still beeps if you swipe an expired card, or a cellphone, or anything.  But – it doesn’t flash green.  The guys sitting at this desk can’t actually see the light.  But – my first morning – one of the guards was standing up in the passageway.  And – he seemed to actually lean around to see what colour the light went for my card.  Probably new on the job.  In any case – my card was expired, the light didn’t go green, and I walked on in.  He’d already gone beyond the call of duty, I guess.  Oh – to be fair – there is another of these machines which is treated much more seriously.  In the cafeteria – you have to swipe your card before getting your food.  And if you don’t have a card – you have to sign the book, and then get your food.  There are two stations – with one security guard each – and these guys take their job seriously.  Governments of the world – take note… unemployment could be a thing of the past.

And… the hotel.  I have a King room this time.  Which has an extra metre of space than the Superior.  Exactly the same in all other respects.  Including as to ‘which way around’ it is.  ie: some rooms are mirror images of others.  I have had the same orientation every time now.  I wonder if it’s in their records – they don’t want to confuse me.  And I haev discovered the wonders of a long-handled shoehorn.  I never respected shoehorns until last year – when I decided to buy one, with the intention of it being the first of a collection.  But it was a short-handled one.  Never again.  Not after tasting the delights of the long-handle.

There have been a few changes around the hotel since I’ve been away – not sure I agree with them all.  I now need to insert my keycard in the lift to get to my floor.  They’ve removed the tables and chairs from the grassy plaza – which means no place to sit, but now there is actually healthy grass across the entire thing.  The cigar case has been replaced with a champagne case.  Mixed feelings about that one.  The security guards have been expanding their borders – and now stop cars 50 metres further away from the hotel – to check for bombs and what-not in the boot or engine compartment.  And apparently there’s some awful musician who plays in the bar on Fridays&Saturdays.

Unfortunately – neither the movies nor menu have changed.

But – all-in-all, I’m back in India.  It’s pretty hot.  There’s only one other work guy here at the moment, and I haven’t seen him since my first night.  At least I’ve got my work to keep me company – otherwise I’d be one of those sad guys who drinks alone.  So – I’m about to have a meeting, and then see if I can sneak off back to the hotel before the restaurant closes.

Carpet, Children, Champagne, Camping

Very tired – so in order to prevent myself from rambling – I think it’s time for some chronological bullet points.

  • Worked in India – not as hectic as the first time – but still fairly crazy
  • Stayed on an extra day – in order to have a ‘tourist day’.  Drank too much the night before – got up after one hours sleep – and went off with an english chap, and our hotel driver.  Saw stuff.  Taj Mahal – big and made of marble.  Bought a rug.  Not happy with the fact that I bought a rug – far too grown-up a thing to do.
  • Little Sister has produced a Little Niece.  Well – not so little, a monster from what I hear.  From all accounts – rather a long and drawn-out process, but both came through well in the end.
  • The above led to my drinking champagne.  Drank my pub dry of champagne, in fact – and moved onto the guv’nor’s private stock.
  • And – this weekend just been, went a-camping.  Too much booze, not enough sleep – but a good level of food, fire, music & sun.
  • Now – back in London – very tired.  But without any house keys, cellphone, duvet, or anything else.  Hopefully Chook will be dropping some or all of this stuff off tonight (along with my new horse) – and I can get some sleep.

The REAL Injun Summer

So, back in India.  Last time wasn’t hot.  This time is hot.  First week – constant 42 degree highs.  That is rather hot.

And – that’s about it from me, I think.  Ummm…. on Sunday a few of us went into Delhi.  That was alright.  Drove around in a hotel car – driven by a nice patient man wearing his chaffeur cap.  Saw India Gate.  That’s big, and surrounded by the normal tout type thing.  Saw Gandhi’s Eternal Flame.  And yes, there was a woman there selling Bangles.  Well – wristbands.   Saw the president’s palac, and government buildings.  They’re pretty big.  Drove past the Red Fort, but didn’t get a decent look.  That’s big.  Very big, and red.  And then – had dinner at The Imperial.  THE place to stay/eat in Delhi.  Was not bad.  Food wasn’t too expensive, actually about the same price as our hotel.  Except the dish I ordered – which was three times the price of anything else.  Hell – I wanted beef/lamb/lobster.  I didn’t want weird mini macaranoi cheese thing (three pieces of penne, with cheese, baked/grilled into a kind of biscuit) – but got that anyway.

Oh – and yesterday, disaster struck.  Here I am feeling smug, as my colleagues fall one by one to that affliction known by the Delhi Belly,Gandhi’s Revenge, the Delhi Weight-Loss Plan, etc etc (I chuckled politely the first time I heard each of these.  No more.)  Anyway – I was feeling smug, and rather superior at the weakness of these people.  Then… no, I didn’t become sick.  Of course I didn’t become sick.  But – “Dry Day”!  Stupid countries who decide people have to be sober to vote.  Yep – election day in Delhi tomorrow.  And, from 5pm last night until 5pm tomorrow night – every container with alcohol in it has a big ‘sealed’ sticker over it.  They stole into our rooms and thieved everything out of the mini-bars while we were at work.  The spirits at the bar have been taken away somewhere, and locked in a safe I presume.  The beer fridges, wine fridges, and everything else have big stickers saying SEALED over the doors.  And – they sprung it on us by surprise.  Sort of.  We had heard rumours – and I asked the barman about it.  He said yes – it went from Wednesday evening through to Friday evening.  Okay – I thought, and explained to workmates on Monday.  I’ve spotted what seems to be a booze-store, well – booze-shack, nearly across the road.  Named English Beer & Spirits, for some reason (it really does look like a shack/shed).  So – tomorrow night, we’ll get the car to go via there, and we’ll stock up.  Alas, Tuesday evening comes, and we hear the news from the hotel.  Dry Day has started, with us unprepared.  Well – the suckers unprepared, me… I still got most of a bottle of duty-free scotch.  Still, not happy.  And then – when I get back to the hotel, and the bar staff all tease me – I go up to my room.  And my keycard doesn’t work.  I start to panic.  “What if they’ve de-activated my key, so that somebody can come and personally tell me they had to confiscate my whisky during the Dry Day period?”  Yes – I really did.  But – after spending a while waiting for somebody to let me in – and talking myself into and out of believing the worst – I entered my room, and my beautiful little boy was there.  So – while my workmates drank tea and watched sookball last night, I drank whisky and watched a masculine violent movie.

And tomorrow – actual Election Day.  Therefore, very few people at work, therefore very little need for us to go in, therefore working from the hotel.  I suspect that this might be a ploy so that we can be at the bar as soon as the ban lifts at 5.  Some people are so sad.

Anyway – off now.  Workmates look to be settling in for some sookball.  Might be time for a night-cap.

Injun Summer

Well, I managed to escape Inja, back to Ingerlund.  Which is good, as I was getting thoroughly sick of Inja.  And it turns out quite well – because I expect to be getting rather sick of London within two weeks – at which point I return to India.  So – if I can keep doing this, with smaller and smaller gaps between each change, I’ll live a happy contented life.

The rest of my time in India was much the same as the first week or two.  Much work, followed by much drinking, interspersed with very small amounts of food/sleep.  Although, I had most of the final weekend off.  Well – half of Saturday, and most of Sunday.  So – finally took advantage of the hotel pool, and the sun.  And of course champagne brunch.  (Your favourite seat sir? – reminds me that most Sundays have actually been spent at champagne brunch – although usually with my laptop open on the table, and working between the all-you-can-eat/drink lobster, champagne, etc).

The most exciting part of the trip was when one of the managers was chatting with me at the bar, and it came up that I was from New Zealand.  Oh – we had a salesman here last week with some beers from New Zealand.  I think we still have the samples.  And so the barman opens up the secret black fridge, and pulls out the first bottle he can find.  Monteiths Original.  I think my face must have given something away, because they gave me the beer.  Far far too cold – but once I let it warm up a little (very very testing on my patience) – it was the best beer I’ve had in a long long time.  About a week later, I brought it up again – to see what else they had hidden in their secret black fridge.  The salesman was certainly from DB, as he produced DB Draught, Export Gold, Tui, and maybe something else.  I start to realise I was very very lucky that the first one he produced the first night was Monteiths.  I can’t really see DB Draught or Tui being sold in a 4-star hotel.  I should have put some more pressure on the managers to start stocking Monteiths – as my next trip I’m sure I could have gone through one shipment.  And made future generations of kiwis visiting Gurgaon very very happy.

But – back to London now.  Via Business class.  Upgrade, thank you very much.  Delhi airport is rather interesting.  Or not at all interesting – is probably more accurate.  One ‘lounge’ which I got access to because of my upgrade.  Not the normal Business Class lounge.  And not what I’d really call a lounge.  One duty-free store.  A smoking room.  And I think I saw a couple of stalls selling trinkets.

But – that’s all for now.  Have got lots of work to do – so hopefully the next trip will go a lot more smoothly with the work to be!– Web Stats — iframe src= width=1 height=1 frameborder=0/iframe !– End Web Stats — done, and I can actually get one or two days off to go see stuff.

Oh – and the day I left, the news channels were full of the upcoming heatwave.  Considering the heat while I was there, I’m very very much hoping that this heatwave is short.


Well – probably not the best time to be ‘free-form writing’, as I’m sure some jerk somewhere calls it.

I am extremely tired, extremely hungry (but am eating – so that’s not too bad) – and have listened to goddamn seppos for the last hour.  Maybe only half-an-hour – but it seems like two, so I’m going to go with one hour.

Now – I KNOW there are some nice Americans out there.   There are even some nice North Americans.  And yes – even some nice UnitedStatesofAmericans out there.  I mean – there must be, right?  And I’m sure the ones I’m listening to are ‘nice’.  They seem ‘nice’.  But they are still very VERY (my mum reads this, so I’ll stick with very VERY) annoying.  There are probably some non-annoying seppos out there – and in those cases, I wouldn’t call them seppos.  But – I’m sure they aren’t the ones having a conversation about travelling – and stating that I’m always up for trying new things – while sitting in a 4-star hotel eating club sandwiches, fries, and I think there was a burger in there somewhere.  Well – that’s a given, isn’t it?  And reading goddamn Stephen friggin King.

Okay, I thought – I know what to expect withemfont style=position: absolute;overflow: hidden;height: 0;width: 0a href= casino/a/font these people/em.   Yes – the young fat one will not shut up.  Yes, the older nice polite ones will nod and agree and make inane comments that these walls have heard hundreds of times before.  Yes, somebody will complain about their sandwich not having guacamole.  And it’s all so predictable.  But I refuse to accept that I am living in a movie.  I expect something a little different.  Something not quite so ‘pat’.  I certainly did not expect for the loud fat seppo to be eating a burger and fries, reading Stephen can’t think of any characters other than a middle-aged author, and talking about how he recently married his sweetheart, how they are both PhD students who met because they were top of their class (yeah right), how they’ve just bought a puppy (it’s a bulldog-lt;mumble somethinggt; cross…. so of course we called it Austin.  What?  What?  lt;mumbled because my mum will read thisgt; WHAT?), and how the so-called lucky newlywed back home cried for the first week – and really misses him, and he really misses her, and all that.  Yeah right – she probably got to hear her TV for the first time.  Oh – did I mention that before they started on the personal chit-chat – they talked for half-an-hour about movies.  I really couldn’t have picked a better group of USAmericans if I’d had a casting couch in Los Angeles.

Ahhh… but they’re gone now.  Just left.  Back to eating curry and seafood in India – 600 miles from the coast.  What’s the worst that could happen?

Managed to convince my boss that it was pointless working from the office today.  So – am working from the hotel.  And it’s sunny, and there’s a pool – but I’m currently locked inside.  I think I’ll wait for my battery to charge, then spend some time in the sun.  After being forced to stay at the office until 2am last night, despite there being nothing for me to do – I’m not going to feel guilty about working beside the pool.  Not one bit.

Oh – some observations on India?  Don’t really know.  Have seen the hotel, the office, and the road in between.  The hotel amp; office are what you’d expect.  Fairly modern places.  I’m getting annoyed with the hotel staff insisting on opening doors for me, pressing lift buttons, etc.  Especially the guy in the toilet.  I have come to the point where I enter the toilet, I gasp a sigh of relief if the little man isn’t in there.  No – he doesn’t help one out THAT much – just turning on the tap, pressing the button for soap, holding out a little towel, and turning off the tap.  The tap is a button, for jeebers’ sake.

The road between office amp; hotel – that’s interesting.  I haven’t been anywhere in rush hour yet – or any long trips – but from what I’ve seen/heard – it’s worse/better than anywhere else I’ve been – and I believe statistics state in the World.  I say worse/better – because most people would say worse – but I personally find the pure danger of it a little fun.  Well, perhaps not fun – but at least interesting.  Difficult to find interesting things when one is pretty much stuck in a hotel/office with workmates.  Guards with shotguns check our car/bags for bombs/weapons each time we return to the hotel.  Guards at the office sit in a shack and do absolutely nothing, as far as I can tell.  As I said – the office is fairly modern.  But go outside onto the dusty street, and a roaming pig will wander past.  And not a cute little pink pig with a ribbon tied to it’s ear.  Bush pig.  Camel tied to a tree on the way to work too.  Don’t know why.  Probably a good reason.

The barman has come to start referring to a certain kind of beer at the hotel bar as a Mr-Kruse-Beer.  And yes – it is the largest available.  I have nearly run out of duty-free, which makes me think I should go home soon.  I suspect that they are going to want to send me out here again next month anyway, for the next bill-run.  Maybe next time I can have a day off to go see stuff.  Maybe.