Thursday, May 28, 2009

Glimpses of May

This post took a long time coming- primarily because too many things were happening in life and I chose to live the moments and save the archiving for later. (save the archiving-haha?). So what did we do in May:
a) Hot Wheels-Though the acquisition of a car happened in April itself, the rubber hit the road in full earnest in May. With the set of wheels also came a series of discoveries and realizations. Of how blind we have been the past couple of years to road signs, road names and roads in general. Of how few U-turn signs there really are. Of not knowing where those signs are. Of not knowing that our life's savings could probably go away in parking charges. Of spending 50 mins in a parking lot and becoming more familiar with Basement 1 and Basement 2 than is usually recommended. Of how pleasurable getting dropped to and picked up from work can be. Of how much I now respect emotional decisions such as buying a car when the MRT 50m away from home gets operational. Of how much I now respect irrational decisions such as buying an Audi when it was always the Civic which made more practical sense.
b) The arrival of Logness- My full time household help, similar to the car, arrived in late April but made us feel the full consequence of the arrival only in May. Life's become simpler and better and more comical. Logness (not her real name) is a bit like the Audi- quiet, efficient and calm except for the fact that she has certain quirks. All of them we find just funny right now coz they dont really get in the way of actual performance. She walks real slow and usually focusses her eyes on the ground; She confuses potato and tomato, lauki and mooli and other similar sounding things. She bunches everyone without discrimination, under one common pronoun- She (so if I ask her "what's M doing?" the response is "she is talking on phone", " she went out already" etc.). She also extends this gender non-discrimination policy to our clothes- arranging M's clothes in my cupboard and my clothes in his :P (i'm inclined to ignore this subtle suggestion of cross dressing because M will really not fit into my clothes and for no other reason.) But on the whole, I really like her, not just because she is unassuming and sweet and likes reading , but also because she learns fast and tends not to make the same mistake twice :) May God bless her for being such a blessing to us.

c) Library Lass- On May 11th, I became the member of the National Library here. I kicked myself for not having done so in the last 3.5 yrs I've been here-but then, better late than never :) Now please allow for some gentle boasting of membership features- I can borrow 8 books at a time! (6 for self; 2 for Logness). I can also choose not to borrow silly X box games (plenty of which are there in the library!). I can also borrow magazines and other AV material. And the most thrilling thing is that the library keeps Indian authors- I think this perception of a complete absence of Indian authors at the local library had been my biggest hesitation in becoming a member- but one look at titles and I was sold! Since it's a network, I can borrow from any library and return to any other. I can also renew the titles online. How cool is that? I think I may not buy a book for a long time- also because I'm out of space in my current bookshelf and more importantly, out of space at my home to put another bookshelf.
d) Return of the fitness Nazis- Both M and I have resolved to get fitter and we did so by cancelling our gym membership :) Yeah, a bit of an anti-climax I know-but we realized that we were donating about 300 dollars a month to the gym and since this is not on the list of charities we support, we decided to put that money to better use! The free tough treadmill called the Road- yeah, that's our gym now. Also, I stopped turning up my nose at the gym at which I'm entitled for a free membership, courtesy my kind company. If tis free, tis good.
The burn of calories by running is being supported by a frequent intake of healthy food- we carry lunch+ snacks to office. (snacks here refers to fruits and salads btw). I've got taunts on becoming domesticated and carrying dabba, but I will persist and let my future higher metabolic rate send out a brusque revert.
Some of the dietary regime was also a result of a bone density test at work which showed that I have osteopenia (it sounds worse than it actually is!)- basically people with this have low bone density and are more prone to suffering from osteosporosis in future. Exercise and food rich in calcium such as bananas, milk, yoghurt etc help. As do calcium supplements. So nett, if I don't take care of my bones and the rest of my body, the ride ahead could get tough and tortuous.

On that solemn note, I shall go consume some banana milkshake and check out Sony's hyped new line up of shows. So long.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Munich Mayhem

22nd Sept 2007
We took the train from Salzburg and reached Munich in 2 hours. The small world principle was amply proved when we realized that though our hosts were strangers, we had 6 common friends- one of whom had been kind enough to put us through to P&N, when he got to know that we could not get any vacany in any hostel, courtesy Oktoberfest!
So after 10 days of staying in hostels and amongst strangers, being "home" was just sheer bliss. Hot shower. Ample space. Gracious hosts. Indian food that tasted Indian and good. Being able to leave our passports behind. I don't think I can thank P&N enough.
So well, we were in Munich and it was that time of the year. What else could we do? We headed to Marienplatz (city centre) and then to Goetheplatz.
And what a crowd!! The first weekend of the Oktoberfest is typically the busiest (we were told that the Italians come during the next week and in those days, Munich becomes little Italy). The The sight of hordes of families & friends in their traditional attire reminded me, strangely enough, of Navaratri!Felt like donning a dundl myself!
Oktoberfest used to be in the 1st week of Oct, but due to better weather, it was shifted to September. Resistance to change ensured that the name stuck.
Now the important thing about Oktoberfest is that you need to book a space in those Beer tents in advance. It costs a good amount of money. It's not something silly backpackers like us do. What we do is to rely on our good fortune and sheer impudence (or charm if you like!). We entered a tent through the staff entrance, quietly strutting our stuff, not realizing what we were doing. It was only after we were in, that we happened to look outside the main entrance and saw this huge crowd waiting to get inside...through the legitimate entrance!
Now the more important thing about Oktoberfest is that those golden litres of beer are served only to folks who have tables (I did tell you about tables needing to get booked in advance). So what this meant is that the waiters didn't spare us even a dirty glance because we did not have a table. Now observing the song and dance and drunken reverly is all very nice but being the only persons without a drink in their hands is not very nice. What will you tell your grandchildren- I went to Oktoberfest but got not a drop of beer down my throat??
G took it upon her self to salvage our fate by coyly asking a bunch of Italian guys to buy us a beer. What we got was 1 whole litre of beer!! Now this is potent stuff- not like the flimsy stuff that you have on a hot Saturday afternoon. G promptly got tully and since I hate beer, I was content with 2-3 sips.
What amazed me was how the waiters carried out about 8 glasses of beer (remember- 1 l each) in each hand!! Some seriously strong wrists, those!!
We made an exit after we got tired of looking at drunk people and inhaling smoke. Dinner, Church visit, Teddy bear museum and Starbucks followed. After that exhausting day- we spent some quality time with N watching bad TV- the panacea for long days. We watched Big Brother till about 12.30 am- I love the creators of these hilarious and badly made shows. They make a wonderful difference to our lives. No?
Traveller's Tip #1: If you want to have some serious fun at Oktoberfest, book in advance and go with loads of friends.
Traveller's Tip #2- Gets seriously crowded. So be prepared and stay safe.
Traveller's Tip#3- Buy some pretzels and mixed nuts. Yummy. Also buy the souvenier shirts and mugs. Worth it.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Cheer Up Time

This is from the glow worm caves at Lake Te Anau:
I wish I were a glow worm.
A glow worm's never glum.
It's tough to be gloomy,
When the sun shines outta your bum.