Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bounty from the Sea

Imagine Christmas and winning the lottery all on the same dayThis is how we felt when our ocean shipment arrived after 3 months in transitIt was just a few bikes, mattresses, food and various sporting equipment.   No big deal ? Big deal.
After:  A real bed.
 (I had no input on the bedspread.)
Before:Sleeping on dirigibles.

When you've been sleeping on a either a futon or an air mattress for two months,  a genuine honest to goodness american pillow top mattress is heaven.   As if we moved out of a cave and into the Four Seasons.  No more camping,  we're home now.  The fluffy american mattresses did prove a challenge for the Indian stairwell and movers.    So,  in true Indian fashion, the problem was solved with sheer manpower.   The upstairs bedrooms have exterior balconies.  With three guys on the bottom and two at the top,  the mattresses were hoisted over the railing and flipped onto the beds.

Mattress Toss.

The arrival of the sporting goods means outside fun.  We finally made good use of our dead end street.   Our first big street action was a cricket match and it happened on the 8th day of Dasara.  As everyone knows,  the 8th day of Dasara means car pooja.   Pooja, a Hindu prayer offering,  is made to receive the blessings of a particular Hindu god.

Smashing Pumpkins. India style.

Due the importance of the car, even our Muslim driver,  Javeed,  thought it necessary to 'make car pooja'.  He brought along his two sons that day,  both on the back of his motorcycle.   Sahil and Nadeem joined Will,  Nolan and I in a game of street cricket while Javeed meticulously cleaned and decorated the car.   We stopped when Javeed smashed a pumpkin on the driveway in front of the car.  And then a coconut (after a few tries).  The finale was the squishing of lemons under each tire by running them over.  David Letterman would have been proud.  We all posed for pictures afterwards.  
Becky and I.
Nadeem, Javeed & Will.
Left to Right: Sahil, Nadeem,
Will, Emma & Nolan

While several care packages took the edge off our cravings, the American food brought joy to all.  Nolan was most excited to get NutellaHe puts in on on Chapati, Vegetables,  Bananas and others things where it actually tastes goodHe may stop eating altogether when we run outSame goes for Will, but his choice condiment is Peanut Butter.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Small Chipmunk.  Big noise.
The flora and fauna here in India are a bit different than North America.   There are certainly more similarities than differences,  but the differences are significant.  The birds look to be standard issue,  Ravens,  Pigeons, and Sparrows;  but they seem to be outfitted with an internal loudspeaker.  It's hard to sleep past dawn even with the windows shut.   Actually the birds are only partially responsible for the din at dawn.  The chipmunks here have a piercing chirp (something like a Blue Jay),  but they chirp incessantly for a few minutes at a time.  

Wild monkeys take take the most getting used to.  They come in all sizes from 3 foot adults on down.   The monkeys are a littler harder to spot than the rest of the wild mammals because the monkeys tend to hang out in the trees and move quickly when there is food to be had.  The kids school,  The International School of Bangalore,  is out in country and surrounded by trees.  The scaffolding on the addition under construction makes a great jungle gym.  They move from the trees to the scaffolding and into the classrooms with ease.  

Real Monkeys are hard to photograph with a slow camera.
The best I can do is this guy in the green shirt.

It is common for the monkey to come into the classroom looking for a snack.  So common,  sometimes the teachers don't even stop class.  The kids had to tell me this about 3 times before I believed.  Cheetos are a favorite.  Fortunately,  these are typically the small monkeys.  The big adults don't come into school unless the classroom is empty.

The big monkeys hang out at the "Tuck Shop".  This is the on-campus snack shop the kids go to after school for chips and candy.  The adults will hang out here looking for scraps.  One of Will's friends,  who is a little too afraid of the monkeys, ran when surprised and lost both his chips and wallet.   He got the wallet back after the Monkey couldn't eat it.             

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Saturday,  the family did the first official sightseeing tour.  Our initial plans to travel to Mysore, a historic city nearby, were cancelled by a Supreme Court judgement that shut down the country for 2 days due to fears of unrest.  We just go with the flow,  but evidently "fears of unrest" just occur from time to time.  Since the fear was over,  we thought we should check out the local Bangalore sights.  

We went to Lalbagh Botanical Garden;  Bangalore's version of Central Park.  It was our first time fully exposed to the general public as a family and we attracted a lot of attention.  Within 10-minutes of our arrival,  we were asked to pose for pictures with people.   Becky and I are used to people staring when we go out,  but less so for the kids.   Becky's blond hair brings them in,  but it's the blond kids with blue eyes that really amazes people.  All the pictures and swarming people freaked out the kids,  so we had to keep on the move and get to a less populated place in the park.  

Yes, the guy on the left is standing, 
Not sure what happens to all these pictures,  but I haven't been tagged on Facebook yet.  I suppose these Indians are taking home pictures of me to show their friends,  "Look at this pasty foreigner we found at the park.  There was a whole family of them.  So cute."     

We found a shady area within the park and got out the drinks and chips.  After a few Pringles, we busted out the frisbee (courtesy of Pi R Squared, a group of elitist Washington DC Flying Disc Club enthusiasts).  We could not have attracted more attention if we were handling out cash.  The park actually seemed to get quiet.   The crowd started to return.  

Indians in general a very friendly and their kids are not shy.  "Can I throw flying saucer ?"  First time throwers are not accurate and after a few diving catches to save a baby and woman with a cane,  it was time to pack up the gear and head home.