Archive for December, 2008

Time to Goa

Friday, December 19th, 2008

I’m off to Goa for Christmas and New Years, but it doesnt feel like Christmas at all.

I haven’t seen a single Santa hat, Christmas tree or heard a Christmas song – still, hardly the worst thing in the world.

Another long train ride

Another long train ride

Now that’s what I call Tamil Vol.1

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

These are by far the biggest tunes rocking Chennai

  1. Oh Shanti (Chennai Sunset Mix)
  2. Oh Shanti (Bombay Badder Beefed-Up Remix)
  3. Adiyae Kolluthey (Rajasthan Rock mix)
  4. Mundhinam (With more than a hint of Geroge Michael’s ‘Faith’)

Not too sure how I’ll fit them into my DJ sets, but I’ll find a way.

I don’t like cricket

Monday, December 15th, 2008

I decided to buy and England cricket top and an India cricket top and take them to the tailors so I could have a half / half version to wear at the Test Match.

Sasi took me to the mall, but the versions he showed me were horrible cheap rip offs, but fortunately soon enough we came across a Nike shop, where I found a reassuringly expensive version. Problem was, the cost of two tops would be an astronomical figure for my driver, so I made my excuses about it being too expensive and left.

As yet I have had no real haggling in India – last time I always haggled every price, even if if was for a few pence.

The realisation that I had lost my touch struck me when I walked away from the shop with the two rip-off polyester versions that i had somehow managed to haggle up!

And when the top came back from the tailors it looked great, but was clearly for an 8 year old.

So I haggled up, for a two tops that were too small for me.


A little less conversation . .

Friday, December 12th, 2008

I think my English is getting worse, an hour and a half everyday with my driver has reduced my vocabulary to monosyllabic words. I find myself mimicking how he speaks to aid the flow of our chats.

Surely its supposed to be the other way round?

When he doesn’t understand he smiles, laughs, nods his head and repeats one of the words I have said, a habit which I have now picked up when I cant understand him!

Cycling on the way back from the gym I was greeted with the usual “Good Morning, how are you?” from utter strangers, beaming away at me. As I overtook two school children on their bikes they struck up a conversation with me.

“What is your name?”

“Where are your from?”

“What is your salary?”

“Is there no work in England?”

“Are you married?”

and so on.


It was the best conversation I’ve had in a while.

The gym

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Getting to the gym is never easy for anyone, but last Sunday I took my shiny new bike and ventured out onto the main road. 

If a Western face in the street attracts plenty of stares, imagine the effect ‘Westener on a shiny new bike’ has, whilst on the busiest road in Chennai.

So, to the gym, dodging cows, an ox, motorbikes traveling the wrong way down the street, packs of dogs, pedestrians, autos, cyclists whilst huge lorries and buses thunder by sounding their horns. Not the most pleasant experience, a white knuckle ride more like. 

Eventually I arrive at the gym – its closed.




My mate Marmite

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

Breakfast is particularly lonely and as I opened a new marmite it occurred to me that in 30 years, I had never been the first to dig into a new jar. Marmite takes ages to finish, the cupboard here bears testament to that – there are another 6 jars which someone has bought, yet to be opened. Even when you do finish one, the jar is so dark you have another week of scraping around getting the last bits.

So then I wondered how many people had actually opened fresh marmite? Had my brother? Was I now part of an elite group?

And then i realised what I have been reduced to without company in my house.

Oh dear.

Yo-yo dieting

Friday, December 5th, 2008

I think I may have a little know eating disorder, reverse yo-yo dieting.

I try and gain as much weight as I can, go to the gym but ultimately I am at the mercy of this debilitating disorder.

In the time I have been here my waist has gone down a buckle, so I must once again, binge eat and regain my lost weight.

Roseanne Barr, Fern Britton, Diego Maradona, I stand alongside you in this battle with food.

Indian roads part 2

Friday, December 5th, 2008

The main road outside the house is called the East Coast Road (or ECR for short) and continues for miles along the coast to Pondicherry, a french influenced town south of Chennai. The ECR is one of the main roads in Chennai and is particularly chaotic. 

The safety laws here are bizarre, undertaking is allowed, there are no road markings, public busses are allowed to jump red lights and only the driver of a motorcycle is required to wear a helmet.

No wonder the death rate is so high in India when traveling with a three year old perched on your petrol tank is legal!


Trendy Islington 3 wheel buggy? . . I think not . . .

Trendy Islington 3 wheel buggy? . . I think not . . .

Sick again..

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

I have been struck down again with a bug and feel terrible. I think this is my first day of due to sickness in about 4 years!

Annoying thing is I dont know how I caught the bug. Was it the communal glass I shared in the gym as i was gasping (I haven’t mastered the art of pouring the water without the cup touching my mouth – i just poured water all over my face) Has the pool got some germs in? Do I need to brush my teeth with bottled water? Did i handle a note and then not wash my hands?

Whatever the cause I am going to have to be even more careful in future – I’m not up for being ill every two weeks!

Stuck in the sand

Monday, December 1st, 2008

The recent weather has meant that the road outside the house is covered in thick sand. Despite our best attempts to make a speedy exit from the house, we were stuck within meters of leaving, cue housekeeper and family helping dig us out.

Its a family affair . .

Its a family affair . .

Return to Varkala

Monday, December 1st, 2008

Varkala is a small village perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking a long sandy beach.

To a degree my expectations of what India was like were formed last time I was here a couple of years ago and it is only on returning I realise how wrong they were. Westerners far outweigh Indians and there is a large choice of international food as they cater for the tourist market.

Although it took longer to get to Varkala from Chennai than London, it was only about a tenth of the price. Its a fantastic place to get away from Chennai, sit on the beach, swim in the sea, read a book and generally chillout.


Need to think of a caption.