Saturday, December 31, 2005

Shady’s Back!

Well we’re finally back from paradise on earth: AKA Mauritius. Hubby and I had a fabulous vacation and had serious thoughts about not coming back. But wanting to be paid, and the uncomfy bed at our hotel finally convinced us.

You all probably noticed that I didn’t update the blog while I out “Wandering the World” and I will only say that it’s not my fault. Hubby said that y’all would think I was a big loser if I posted while on my holidays. I pointed out that most of you already know that I’m a loser and it wouldn’t matter. But in the end, the fact that we left the laptop behind in Delhi (*gasp*) and the walk to the local Internet café won out and we didn’t blog.

I did; however, take notes! So be prepared over the next week or so to hear about Mauritius and Dubai. I’ve even twisted Hubby’s arm so that he’ll provide his own perspectives in a guest blog or two.

We missed you all! (Except you! You know who you are… Ok fine we missed you too!) And we’re kind of glad to be back in Delhi. I have to go and write the first installment so be prepared for lots of exclamation marks, way too many adjectives and very few references to anything that sounds like it happens in real life.

No Time Like the Present

Ok I couldn’t wait to start sharing so here we go with day one…

After waking up at the crack of dawn (high 5 to Hubby for deciding to call his family and talk to them at the top his lungs) we were off on our adventure. This “adventure” will heretofore be known as getting the heck of Delhi… err… Dodge. Yeah that’s it.

After a fairly short plane ride… No, before I tell you about that I have to mention that Emirates is a cool airline. Lots ‘o legroom for Hubby and individual consoles with movies and games for me. A win-win situation if I ever heard one! Go Emirates! Now back to your irregularly scheduled blog.

We finally landed in the Dubai airport, which Hubby had once dubbed Cloud City of “Star Wars” fame. Y’all have heard me go on about the airport in Amsterdam? Well his one was better. Seriously! But I’m getting ahead of myself because with a 12 hour layover we bee-lined out of Cloud City and into the Oasis of the Middle East: Dubai.

Those of you living in India will appreciate our first stop of the day: McDonalds! I ordered a Big Mac combo that consisted of what was probably the best Big Mac ever constructed. YUM! Living without beef for half a year (except for wonderful trips to ACSA courtesy of the Duke and other such benevolent friends with memberships) will leave a girl with a Mac Attack Craving the likes of which are rarely seen.

A few cool observations about Dubai versus Delhi. Or, the Battle of the D’s as I have decided to call it.

• Dubai drives on the US side of the road, which actually kind of threw me at first. But here’s the weirdest part: people actually drove on their side of the road, in their own lanes and without using their horns every few minutes. It was most disconcerting.

• Ugly architects need not apply. The buildings here are beautiful works of art. Skyscrapers with lotus blossom pinnacles and architectural details that reflected the movement and colors of the sea were only the beginning. What seemed like a concrete sail marooned on land was actually a hotel. The regal place just down the road was a freaking day spa. What a town?!

• Word up to my Canuck-ian readers: I had a white hot chocolate at Second Cup after lunch. A taste of home in the desert!

• A few moments of weirdness were had when we realized that there was nobody knocking on our windows asking for money. The lack of beggars was a pleasant diversion.

We don’t want to be Delhi haters but this, for me at least, was my first foray out of that town since our arrival in late summer. I love our home and friends here but traveling is always about noticing the differences and appreciating changes. It’s why we travel: why go places if you’re not going to enjoy the small and big changes that surround you.

For dinner we mozied over to the Hilton. We started off with drinks by the pool with our new friend the Desert Snowman. (Truly a weird sight.) Then we wandered upstairs to the Pan-American restaurant for more drinks – this time accompanied with salsa and chips. Hubby’s salsa is way better but it was an ambience thing.

Then things went downhill… at least for me. We went to this fabu Italian place in the hotel for dinner. Where, despite having what looked like heaven on a plate I could hardly eat a bite. Dammit! Hubby, of course, was not suffering a migraine and ate his bolognaise with relish and is still going on about how good that dinner was. Life is very unfair. Damn him.

Dubai at night is what Vegas might look like if it had way more class, less strippers, and no casinos. If that makes any sense.

Anyways, we made our way back to Lando and his Cloud City via taxi and spent our remaining hours in Dubai shopping at the Duty Free and talking about how great Christmas in Mauritius would be for both of us. (And not just because I think it rhymes.)

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Better Late than Never

Happy Christmas to our friends and family all over the world!!!!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Your Santa Name

One of the lovely ladies on ECfans found this amazingly amusing site. If you scroll down to the bottom and type in your name you’ll find out the name by which Santa knows you.

I copied the following explanation from the site:

Everyone has a special, secret Christmas name.

It works like this: When we are born, Santa needs to know who we are and where we live.

Because we all use so many different languages and have different names it gets really confusing for poor old Santa Claus.

So, just before the Stork delivers us, all of Santa's little helpers - like the elves, pixies, goblins and fairies - gather round and select a name for us and that's the name Santa remembers.

Your favorite blogger (and that had better be me!) has the new name of Happy Chocolate-Gnome. This thing knows of whence it speaks. After all if chocolate were a food group I’d be the healthiest chiquita around. Sadly it’s not. And saying that it’s milk chocolate and therefore belongs in the Milk and Milk Products category is evidently wrong. Stupid food pyramid!

So, what’s your super-secret Santa name?

Midwest Memories

I’m still being rather melancholy today, I’m afraid. Don’t get me wrong, we’re enjoying ourselves here in Delhi. We’ve found new friends and are settling into our daily lives here a little more every day. But it's not going to make us forget our lives back in the States. We still miss all of our friends back in the US.

The guys from ACES went out on what seemed like an awesomely good pub-crawl this past weekend. I can honestly say that there are no people like those guys anywhere on the planet. Y’all are the best. UIND will be starting soon so I expect you all to transfer here. =)

My friends from the office are also very missed. =(( The gossip, the friendships, the lunches at Casa (which I really don’t think would survive without us), dinner at E’s (ever fun since we get to wonder if the food will be cooked this time), the everything. You guys have no idea how much I miss going in everyday and seeing all of you. Although I miss you all everyday, it’s even more this time of year when friendships and families are so important.

OK, I’ve rambled on here more than usual. Suffice it to say that we miss you all and raise a glass of Yuletide joy (aka Champagne) in your honor.

To our friends and family around the world
almost Christmas!!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Almost like Christmas

I can say with little doubt that everybody who knows me in the real world knows that adore Christmas, Christmas time and basically anything involving this time of year. I’m normally the one singing carols as I wander not only around the office but even down the street. Shopping for friends and family becomes my favorite sport for most of the month of December. Best of all is the food this time of year: it’s always yummy and there’s always lots of it! Christmas rocks.

Unfortunately it doesn’t really feel all that much like Christmas around here. Delhi, although chilly, isn’t snowy. The stores and homes aren't bedecked with Christmas lights and Santas on the lawn. There are no Santas in the malls (what with the complete lack of malls except in Gurgaon) and no general feelings of hustle and bustle that one associate’s with December.

Before you all yell at me I realize that Christianity is not the religion of choice here. So I’m totally in the minority celebrating that holiday. As a result I’m not really feeling Christmas-y. *sigh*

I’ve been to holiday themed parties... in fact I co-hosted one last Saturday that was trés, trés fun! (Note to my fellow host: DC you rock! She did literally everything to prep this party and deserves all the credit for how well it turned out.) We saw some great friends, nibbled on yummy food and sipped on everything from buzzed up hot chocolate to Champagne cocktails. Best of all though was just getting all of our new friends together for the occasion.

But a few hours Christmas just isn’t the same as the inundation we get back in the Real World. When friends become family and the warmth of the season isn’t about central heating (although it helps!).

Enough of being maudlin… Who’s up for some Christmas carols?!

Deck the Halls with boughs of Curry Leaves
Fa la la la la
La la la la!

‘Tis the season to eats lots of Jelabi
Fa la la la la
La la la la

Don we now our Salwar Kameez
Fa la la
La la la
La la la

Why am I the only one singing here?! Don’t make me sing the famous rap song by Stray Cowy Cow “Pop it like its Dilli Haat” or we may all live to regret it.

Friday, December 16, 2005

World's Greatest Niece

Happy Birthday to my little niece, E!!!

We miss you and send all our love.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

I’ve Been Here Too Long

I was recently reading a thread about living in India on one of boards that I frequent. The thread was a listing of ways to tell if you’ve been here too long. Let’s just say that I’m in trouble. So here are some of the highlights from that thread plus a few new ones of my own.

You know you've been in India too long when...

1. You start speaking in the passive voice. “I am thinking that you are correct.”
2. Instead of humming the new song by Madonna you’re singing the latest Bollywood hit about Neal and Nikki.
3. You know what vehicle is coming down the street by the sound of its horn.
4. You call your family back home and they don’t understand your English.
5. You start using the head bobble correctly. (BTW, if you hear rumors spread by Hubby that I’ve been doing this… they’re lies. Or something…)
6. You start to use Indian-English in actual conversations. "This is my Britisher friend from London."
7. You say, "yah yah" in conjunction with the head bobble. (Instead of the usual yeah or yes.)
8. You start arguing with the Tuk-Tuk driver over 10 Rupees.
9. You start thinking of how much things cost in terms of Rupees rather than dollars.
10. You swear you can see cockroaches even though you haven't. (I swear I hadn’t been drinking and it was crawling up the wall. I swear!)
11. You actually know a little something about cricket. (I am working very hard to get rid of this knowledge!)
12. You realize that when the electrician says that he’s going to arrive at 10:00 he actually means 2:00 in the afternoon.
13. You are no longer frustrated by the fact that nobody can tell time and just accept it as a natural course of Delhi life.
14. You find yourself eating with your hands regardless of what ethnicity of food you’re eating. (Fetuccini Alfredo tastes better when you use your fingers.)
15. You’re fine when you eat Indian food but rich American food suddenly gives you a severe case of Delhi Belly.
16. You get ready to board the plane to Delhi after your vacation and tell people that you’re going HOME.

Please feel free to share any others indicators that you think up. Starting a blog about living in Delhi is not an indicator! (I think...)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Driving Miss Typ0

There I was I was sitting, per usual, in Red’s back seat (that’s the car’s name, BTW) reading a book and wondering how long it would take to get to the Hyatt when I saw the weirdest thing. I saw a yellow Volkswagen Bug with left-hand drive. Both my driver and I looked at it for a moment and shared a puzzled look. Why would anybody feel the need to import a wrong hand drive car here? That's really lame.

As I contemplated how long until the snazzy car got stolen, scratched and dinged up I got to thinking about cars here in Delhi. You can actually tell a lot about a person just seeing them in a car struggling to get through a roundabout.

So to that end, I’m going to share with you some of my deep car thoughts. Or as I dubbed it: “What people think when they see you in your New Delhi car.” (For the record, this had a way better title when I was sitting the car four hours ago.)

The Expat Outsider: Sitting in the back seat of my car while my driver takes me around Delhi.

The Suicidal Expat: Sitting the front seat while Hubby drives.

The Embassy Expat: Drives car with blue CD plates

The Overpaid Expat with a Family: Drives a Qwallis or SUV

The Way Overpaid Embassy Expat: Drives a yellow imported VW Bug with left hand drive and CD plates.

The Been here too long and you’re now jaded Expat: Senses the beggars and touts near the window and simply gets rid of them with a distracted shake of the head… Without ever looking at them.

These new observations inspired other observations…

• The most important safety feature in an Indian car: The Horn
• Second most important safety feature: High beams, which appear to be the only lights that work on most cars at night here. “I Wear My Sunglasses at Night” is no long a song: it’s a way of life.
• Best hotel feature: all the hotels here have free valet. This always reminds me of that line from “Clueless” where she’s supposed to be learning how to parallel park: “What's the point? Everywhere you go has valet.” Cher was so smart!

Oh and I almost forgot our final category of Expat car owner:

Q: What do you call an Expat who cries and goes into a panic swearing their day has been ruined just because their driver called out?

A: Loser Delhi_Typ0 Expat who should learn to drive on the wrong side of the road or just learn to buck up.

(As always, please feel free to disagree with that sentence.)

(Seriously! Disagree with it already!)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Choices We Make

Despite the fact that tonight was a blissful “Becker”-free night I still couldn’t bring myself to watch the crap on TV. I know that you’re all shocked at this idea since it is a well-known fact that I can and will watch any crap that appears on my television at any hour of the day. Please I am one of the only three people who watched the short lived Medieval set Fox TV series “Covington Cross” back in the early ‘90s. I love television. But I couldn’t bring myself to watch "all new" three year old, crappy Indian TV this evening.

So I perused my bookshelves. In an odd first move, I checked out my serious books… for about 2 minutes. Realizing that reading about people’s organs liquefying in “The Hot Zone” or rereading the biography of Mick Foley were both not really up my mental alley for the evening I moved into the guest room. There I checked out my perfectly alphabetized and organized collection of books that I actually read: you know the trashy romances. Now I know you know that these are my “literature” of choice. (Hubby, the quotes around the “L” word for you.) But even the thought of reading about the perfection of love during the Regency era didn’t hold my attention for long.

So after making some KD for dinner I turned to my DVDs. That left me with the narrowing down process, which meant that I was going to have to make a decision. Dammit I hate making decisions. *pout*

Feeling contrary, I started at the end of the alphabet. Was it a Xena evening? While I love watching the Battling Bard it didn’t hold any allure. I have several musical-esque films I could have watched. One of these would have been ideal since I always sing along with musicals and can’t do that when Hubby is in town. I continued along the list of DVDs and contemplated Disney movies, action movies and even “Jackass the Movie.” That’s how desperate I was entertainment.

That’s when I realized what day it was: It was Rex Manning Day!!! That’s right i wanted to “say no more, mon amour!” It was time for a walk down memory lane with Liv, Renee and the rest of the gang at “Empire Records!”

I mean, seriously, who put the soundtrack together for this movie? Whoever you are, you’re a freaking genius. The weirdest thing about this movie is that it totally reminds me of my days working at the Central Library… Except that the movie has better music.

Memories brought on by movies. Life can be so totally OK sometimes. =)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Bliss thy name be Chocolate

Hubby and I have what we refer to as the “rotation.” What that basically means is that we enjoy going out to dinner (and having it delivered) but only go to a dozen or so places to actually eat. So that you don’t think too ill of us, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursdays we always cook our own dinner. (I won’t point out that this is because Maria, the housekeeper, will come in and clean our dishes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I’ll just let you think that we enjoying cooking but have a weird schedule.)

But when we do finally go out we have a few places we always go to. These of course, are the places that many of the other expats go to. Lizard Lounge or Kylin on a Friday night if we feel like drinking. Moshe’s or 360 on Saturday if we want a nice sit down place.

But we’ve gotten bored with the rotation. I wanted a new obsession so I asked around about a nice place to have lunch. Person after person said the same thing, in the same reverent hushed voice: Choko La. This was evidently a fairly new restaurant/café in Basant Lok that specialized in chocolate. Having heard my favorite three syllable word I quickly ushered Hubby there for a birthday lunch.

We sat down in the nicely designed café and perused the menu. I naturally went to the beverages first which turned out to be more complicated than advertised as they had at least 5 different types of hot chocolate. I asked for a recommendation and awaited my chocolate potion.

OH MY GOD!!! For those of you who have heard my Soup stories from Namibia… This hot chocolate goes on the same list as the Soup. Devine. Delectable. Sinfully perfect. I seriously can’t tell you enough good things about the hot chocolate I drank. The food on the hand was rather blah. But did I mention the hot chocolate?!! Bliss. Sheer bliss.

So next time you’re bored and in need a warm drop of ambrosia head to Choko La for some serious chocolate ecstasy.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I Love You

Today is my husband’s birthday.

Happy birthday, sweetie!

You are the very best thing that ever happened to me.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Oh Blessed Warmth

I woke up this morning and in a fit of randomness flipped the TV to CNN World. I listened half-heartedly to articles about Richard Branson’s latest whim, the Middle East’s latest insanity and a bizarre headline that seemed to imply that the US was the only member of NATO. Stirring my hot chocolate and wishing that I had whipped cream to improve the richness of my breakfast beverage the anchor started to talk about the slightly chilly weather in the US.

The wimps in the Midwest are complaining about the seasonally temperate weather in the region. So what if the thermometer says that it is below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. So what if a snowstorm is sweeping across most of Southern Canada and the northern states in the US. You people are wimps!

Oh, who am I kidding? You are the strong people I long to be; the people I used to be. For I am now a weak, weak woman. I give into the temptations of chocolate. I bow to the superior will of my credit cards while shopping. And now I gave up and gave in on the space heater front.

I used to revel in the chilly weather that begged me to wear sweaters and heavy winter coats. Matching scarves, hats and gloves to my jacket of choice in the winter was a joy. Walking through the pristine white fields of snow to dig my car out in the morning so I could get to work… Never mind I hated the driving and shoveling part. But I did love the walking in snow part!

Now I live in this wonderland of warm weather called India and I’m shivering just because the thermostat says that the weather has is now under 15 Celsius. Last night Hubby and I bought two space heaters. That’s right: TWO! I’m a double wimp. *sob* We’ve turned into feeble shades of our former selves who warm their hands in front of electric gadgets. If I keep this up, they’ll take away my Canadian citizenship due to the freakish inability to stand the cold.

If I cared about my pride, I’d turn the damn things off and deal with the chill. But I think that we all know that’s not going to happen any time in the next month or so…

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Why Nairobi is Better than Delhi

By Special Guest Blogger Hubby

Well, I suppose it’s time for another guest blog, as I have been asked nicely to provide perspectives on my trips outside of Delhi. Fair enough. Anyways, I spent a week in Nairobi on a business trip during the last week of November; it is mainly my own sloth that has prevented from guest blogging sooner.

So… Nairobi. Well, for starters, there’s not a lot of difference weather-wise right now: warm days, cool nights, just like Delhi in November. The only difference is that it is always like that in Nairobi, whereas here we have to grapple with 100+ temps starting about April, so I’m told (we’ll find out soon enough). But that’s where the similarities end.

• Traffic: like Pakistan, it keeps to its own lane for the most part in Kenya. When it moves (which is about half the time), the average speed is about 150 km/h. Advantage: None.

• Food: OK there’s lots of Indian food in Kenya, from the large Indian population there. But there is MEAT and LOTS and LOTS of it. We went to a Brazilian BBQ that was downstairs from the hotel, which was all-you-can-eat everything: chorizo, beef (!!), ostrich, chicken, springbok, camel (really good I might add), plus a salad-bar, good drinks, desserts. Coming from my standard lunches of dal and aloo (potatoes for the uninitiated), this was a really nice change. Advantage: Kenya.

• Drink: Tusker in Kenya, Kingfisher/Castle in Delhi. Both pricey. Advantage: Toss-up, probably slight edge to Kenya since there’s more draught beer there.

• Security: A minus point for Nairobi. Security is intense. There is razor wire and high walls everywhere. On the building next to the hotel, you could see barbed wire on the roof itself from the hotel restaurant. When asked why you would have such a thing, I was told that thieves stole computers by cutting a hole through the non-secured, corrugated roof from another business a few months back. Hmm. I was also told about houses having panic rooms and panic rooms within panic rooms (think the Jodie Foster movie, but I don’t think the rooms are as modern as those). Advantage: Delhi.

• People: very friendly in Kenya. They are in India also, but it’s just a little more laid back in Nairobi, security notwithstanding. Advantage: Kenya.

• Shopping: THEY HAVE BIG SUPERMARKETS IN KENYA. BIG BIG SUPERMARKETS WITH EVERYTHING!!!! And, as an added bonus, they have good coffee in Kenya, as judged by the 2 kgs sitting in our freezer. Advantage: Kenya (double points here).

So does that mean we’ll be hopping on the next plane to Nairobi now? Probably not, but maybe someday in the future, we could be blogging from there.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Day in Delhi

I know that you’re all dying to know what I do all day. (That was your cue to look interested and nod!) I was going to write about Monday but I spent the entire day trying to get a hold of our landlord to fix some problems around the house. So basically a blog about Monday would have involved me knitting, reading, watching TV and dialing and redialing the number to my landlord’s office. So I nixed the Monday plan.

I then turned my thoughts to Sunday. It was, by my new bored-out-my-skull-most-days standards a pretty good day. Hubby woke up early to play soccer so I sat in bed and read a trashy romance by one of my favorite authors. See, it’s already noon on Sunday and we’re only a few lines into this thrilling paragraph. I took a cold shower. (Dear Santa, this year all I want for Christmas is enough hot water on a daily basis to take a shower that lasts longer than 3 minutes. PLEASE! Please?)

Then we went shopping and ate cold, over cooked food lunch. We finished the day by having Hubby cook Jambalaya for me. Hubby is such a great cook. But that was kind of boring and I believe that I’ve already written about what a fantastic cook my Sweetie is now that we’re cooking with gas. (Lame joke, sorry.)

Shall I write about today? (Ok, since you insist!) I went to meeting for the Organization. My current pissiness about a post-meeting conversation shall not be discussed at this tine. Grrr. Arrgh. What the hell?! I miss two days and suddenly I’m a slacker? I was there for every other freaking day! (Oops, we weren’t going to discuss it, were we? Sorry.)

Onwards and upwards… I then went to the Delhi Network holiday luncheon. I love the DN and have met many of my Delhi friends through this organization. Ok most of my Delhi friends. That’s why when people at certain Organizations (that I have carefully not mentioned by name) ‘dis the DN I get mad. These women actually took care of me when I got sad, laughed at me when I was hung over and asked me to join them in friendship. I honestly can’t say the same for the other Organization at this point. Pathetic, huh?

Anyways, I am currently watching Buffy with my feet up on the couch and a glass of Fanta (not Fantica!) sitting on the table beside me. It’s beyond chilly in my apartment as I sit with my computer on lap to keep me warm. All in all Tuesday has been a good day.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my attempt at sharing a day in the life of your favorite Delhi Typ0. And I hope you realize now that I really am the world’s most lame human being. (That was your cue to disagree!)

Monday, December 05, 2005

More Weird New from Typ0

I have some good news and some weird news. As always, we’ll start with the good news. My Amazon order finally arrived. All the DVDs and books I ordered appear to be in good shape and I’m happily watching Titanic and reading a new trashy romance between blogs. Life is good. (Even if it did take a month and a half to arrive.)

On the weird front… You’ll recall that I posted earlier this week that I was no longer a fan of that evil thing called alcohol. Well, Hubby and I and a friend went to a local bar for drinks Saturday evening. The plan was for the boys to have a few drinks (pop for me, please) and a bite to eat before a party we were attending.

So we arrived at Punjabi by Nature around 7ish and headed up to the 2nd floor via the elevator per usual. We frequent this place fairly regularly so we knew which seats we wanted to bag as we headed left from the lift. That’s when the waiter saw us. “Oh Madam, welcome! Sex on the Beach, yes!”

Now I realize that we’ve been to Punjabi at least once or twice a month but we’re not there every week by any means. Yet they knew my face well enough to recognize me and my new drink of choice. You’ll be pleased (and no doubt shocked into temporary sobriety) to hear that I declined the vodka based drink and asked for a fruit drink they were well known for. As I prepared to order my second round the waiter insisted again, “Sex on the Beach for madam, yes?”

By this time, the boys were in stitches laughing at me. They told me to give in but with a strength of will rarely seen I declined and enjoyed another fruit juice. Later when we arrived at the party everybody tried to give drinks and was shocked to hear that I was only sipping on glasses of Pepsi.

So now I turn to you, dear friends and readers, am I such a lush? Do you all think me incapable of going a day without drinking an alcoholic beverage?

On second thought… please don’t answer that.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Drinking is Bad

I don’t want to elaborate a lot on this one. Children: don’t ever, ever drink alcohol. It is very bad.

Now if you’ll excuse me I need to go lie down again because the room is spinning and I seem to feel slightly seasick. I just wish I were at sea and not sitting on the couch…

Alcohol is BAD.

PS It is way to bloody cold in this country!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Birthday Wishes

I want to wish the happiest BDay to our friend the Duke!

Have a great year!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Typ0’s Internal Dialogue

In a not completely unshocking turn of events my package from Amazon *still* hasn’t been delivered. To remind those of you who are new or have forgotten, I placed my order well over a month ago. I am not frustrated. I’m not angry. I’m not even bitter. (Ok those last three sentences may have been lies. But I’m trying to subdue the emotions so I still get credit.) In any case, I’m not blaming this on India (whom we all know still has it out for me!) and am trying to take this in stride. I’m learning patience. (Ok that last part was a lie. But I’m trying!)

My lack of books and DVDs, of course, is the good news. (Darn sarcasm gene just won’t take a break!)

Due to the fact that the mail service in India is *slighly* unreliable (by which I mean that it’s a big, non-working joke) Hubby and I will be unable to send out Christmas cards this year. We realize that we’ve never bothered… had time… Darn it, there is no way to gloss over our cardless past. At least this year we have a semi-good excuse. And we feel bad about it. (Sort of. )

Anyways, that was the bad news.

So as not to end this on a typical Typ0-is-being-a-sacrcastic-git note I’ve come up with more good(ish) news. I've even decided to turn off my internal dialogue of sarcasm for an entire pargraph. (Yup! We went with an external dialogue of sarcasm instead.)

The even better news is that “Becker” wasn’t on this week. Is this just a temporary reprieve because I am being rewarded by the Higher Powers for not being too, too bitter about my lack of package from Amazon? Is the evil demon of bad acting that is “Becker” doomed to return next week when the Powers realize that I really am bitter? The sad truth is that I don’t know. I’m just willing to grasp onto this sweet joy of the “Becker”-free week.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Damn It’s Cold!

I live in New Delhi, India. I live in a country known for being wickedly hot. That said: I am so freaking cold right now it’s not even funny! Nobody told me that India was cold. I didn’t plan for shivering weather.

It’s warm enough during the day that a light, if long sleeved shirt, keeps me nice and warm and toasty. Right now; however, it is almost seven in the evening and I’m sitting in my living room trembling from the chill. My feet are encased in slippers and I’ve wrapped a wool shawl around my shoulders to ward off the worst of the cold.

I brought a few sweaters but I figured that they would be for those times that we visited Canada or the US during the winter. You know: went to a cold country during a cold season. Not for wearing in late November in India.

Fine, I admit that I may be overstating the cold a *tiny* bit. But I’m in India for Pete’s sake! It’s supposed to warm. Most people here seem to have small space heaters for their homes: one for the living room and sometimes one in their bedroom. But I refuse to give in and buy a space heater. I don’t live in a cold country so I don’t need help keeping warm. My shivering will do just fine, thank you!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Vous n’m’avez jamais vue

I attended a live mini-concert recently that reminded me how much I enjoyed the music of Edith Piaf.


Allez, venez, Milord!
Vous asseoir à ma table;

Il fait si froid, dehors,

Ici c'est confortable.

Laissez-vous faire, Milord

Et prenez bien vos aises,

Vos peines sur mon coeur

Et vos pieds sur une chaise

Je vous connais, Milord,

Vous n'm'avez jamais vue

Je ne suis qu'une fille du port,

Qu'une ombre de la rue...

Pourtant j'vous ai frôlé

Quand vous passiez hier,

Vous n'étiez pas peu fier,

Dame! Le ciel vous comblait:

Votre foulard de soie

Flottant sur vos épaules,

Vous aviez le beau rôle,

On aurait dit le roi...

Vous marchiez en vainqueur

Au bras d'une demoiselle

Mon Dieu!... Qu'elle était belle...

J'en ai froid dans le coeur...

Allez, venez, Milord!

Vous asseoir à ma table;

Il fait si froid, dehors,

Ici c'est confortable.

Laissez-vous faire, Milord,

Et prenez bien vos aises,

Vos peines sur mon coeur

Et vos pieds sur une chaise

Je vous connais, Milord,

Vous n'm'avez jamais vue

Je ne suis qu'une fille du port

Qu'une ombre de la rue...

Dire qu'il suffit parfois

Qu'il y ait un navire

Pour que tout se déchire

Quand le navire s'en va...

Il emmenait avec lui

La douce aux yeux si tendres

Qui n'a pas su comprendre

Qu'elle brisait votre vie

L'amour, ça fait pleurer

Comme quoi l'existence

Ça vous donne toutes les chances

Pour les reprendre après...

Allez, venez, Milord!

Vous avez l'air d'un môme!

Laissez-vous faire, Milord,

Venez dans mon royaume:

Je soigne les remords,

Je chante la romance,

Je chante les milords

Qui n'ont pas eu de chance!

Regardez-moi, Milord,

Vous n'm'avez jamais vue...

...Mais... vous pleurez, Milord?

Ça... j'l'aurais jamais cru!...

Eh ben, voyons, Milord!

Souriez-moi, Milord!

...Mieux qu' ça! Un petit effort...

Voilà, c'est ça!

Allez, riez, Milord!

Allez, chantez, Milord!


Mais oui, dansez, Milord!

La-la-la... Bravo Milord!

La-la-la... Encore Milord!... La-la-la...

(I apologize for the lack of correct accents. They didn't translate well into Foxfire.)

Saturday, November 26, 2005

I am so embarrassed

My pride in being a Canuck is rivaled only by my pride of being Mrs. Hubby. He may not be a Canuck but he is wonderful. I hum my anthem in French and eat poutine with zeal. I prefer Harvey's over Burger King and Blue over Bud. I am Canadian!

Today; however, I was forced to step back and blush along with those from my strong maple leaf bedecked land who retain their sanity. (I was going to say the sober ones but that would only leave me with 10 people this upped it to at least 16.) In a sadly public venue one of Canada's former Defence Ministers went off the really, really deep end.

I think that my favourite part of the article was this little gem of a quote:
Mr. Hellyer went on to say, "I'm so concerned about what the consequences might be of starting an intergalactic war, that I just think I had to say something."

My people stand strong today knowing that our former leaders are trying desperately to keep us safe from ET.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Yankee Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our friends and family back in the States!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Shopping: Delhi Expat Style

Expats in Delhi seem to be a breed unto themselves. Or at least the ones I’ve met thus far. As far as I can tell, Hubby and I are some of the most normal people in Delhi. How scary is that?

The Delhi Network is one case in point. I went to the monthly meeting last week and received the monthly newsletter. One of the topics in the newsletter was advice on buying and cleaning your gems. Yup I said gems. I immediately pointed out how utterly ridiculous this was. Everybody looked at me like I had two heads and spiky horns. They thought I was nuts and told me that buying gems was good way to spend a few hours and that if I hadn’t done it yet then I was a freak. Ok they didn’t say the last part but it was definitely implied.

I’m sorry but I don’t own “gems.” I certainly don’t go out looking for the perfect emerald and deciding on the ideal setting for it and the matching diamonds that I got a steal from the same gem merchant. Go figure but I’m more normal than that. That said I’m willing to become less normal and join the gem buying revolution.

Assuming of course that Hubby doesn’t kill me first.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Wandering the World

By now you’ve probably noticed that we’ve been wandering Delhi more than the world. I promised more than that in the blog title and I want to deliver the goods to you my faithful readers. Here’s the problem though: I’m stuck in Delhi whilst Hubby wanders throughout the globe.

Hubby’s Travels in 2005
Sri Lanka

Typ0’s Travels in 2005
Sri Lanka

Ok the last two are later in the year but you get the picture. I’m stuck at home while Cutie Pie racks up those frequent flier miles and sees just how cool a world we live in.

So here’s my plan: in 2006 I’m going to get my travel on! I’m going to become Hubby’s cuter (chubbier) shadow and join him on some of his cooler ventures into the global community. Then I’m going to return here and share the dirt with you!

What do you think of the plan? Too ambitious? Too tacky? I know it’s going to be too expensive. But these are the sacrifices I’m willing to make for you, Reader. You’re that important to me. (Or something.)

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Great Knitting Wonder

The knitting business is starting to pick up. No, I don’t have a business. And no, I still knit so slowly that turtles are starting to challenge me to races. But my lack of skills… err… fame is starting to become well known here in Delhi. Scary huh?

Every Friday I go to my knitting group out in Gurgaun where this week I finally finished the scarf I gave Hubby for Christmas ’04. It will now be his birthday gift. =P My Thursday knitting group is currently on hiatus until the new year since everybody is super busy with things that that don’t involve me. (How rude!)

Later this week I will be conducting not one but two knitting workshops. Yup, for reasons that defy logic people have asked me to teach them to knit. Me who invented her own cast on. Me pretty much invented her own knit stitch. (Rumor has it that it’s either a purl or a backward knit. Ooops!) But who am I to say no to willing students.

I’m even thinking that I may start my own weekly knitting group. The Goddess Typ0’s Knitting group. It has a certain ring to it, don’t you think? Well, we can work on a name later. =)

Happy Knitting!!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Is it Supposed to Hurt?

My move to Delhi has warranted many firsts. My first time living in a developing country. My first time making Gold Status with an airline’s frequent flier program. My first time having curtains made and hung to order for my home. On Saturday I added another first to that list: my first ever massage.

Earlier this year I discovered the bliss of the facial. For you boys reading basically a facial is me paying somebody to buff, moisturize and mold my face. Done right it should also include at minimum an arm massage and leave you wishing you could spend the rest of your life with your facialist. I always left my facial looking, and more importantly, feeling years younger. (I also always felt the need to shop for frivolous things after a facial. Weird.) The three or four I’ve had were blissful experiences that made me wonder why I waited almost thirty years to enter a spa.

Saturday morning, my friend called me and asked if we were still on for spa day. Sure why not! We arrived at a really nice women’s only spa in Mulcha Marg that was a slice of civilization in the midst of the chaos of Delhi. We initially booked for one facial and one massage: each of would have one or the other. At the last minute my friend suggested we both have massages. Cool! I’ve never had a massage and it sounded like a cool idea. I am a naive little blogger.

Despite my discomfort with the whole “naked” part of the massage I hopped up on the table and put my head on the towels that my masseuse, Evilina, had arranged for me. Then it started: the pain. The agony. The massage.

I’ve always carried my stress in my back. It’s not like my back is doing anything else! So when Evilina began to massage my back it initially felt nice, the way you assume a massage is supposed to feel. But then she started grinding her thumb into my back and I actually cried out in pain. “Too hard? No, you have knot.” I may have had a knot but if she kept that up I soon wouldn’t have a back.

Over the course of the next hour she ground her thumbs into my back, legs and arm muscles. My cries of pain were ignored and treated with looks of disdain. Don’t get me wrong, some of the time it was nice and relaxing. But a lot of the time it hurt.

When we left the spa I asked my friend point blank, “Is a massage supposed to hurt?” She looked worried and said that it wasn’t. Oh. I put the pain my back aside and we left for an enjoyable lunch at a local wine bar. A few glasses of wine later and the sharp pains in my back hadn’t disappeared but I cared less. Even waking up in pain the next morning didn’t deter me from contemplating my spa future.

You see, after much introspection and despite my time in traction I have decided to give it another try. If it wasn’t supposed to hurt it must have been a fluke. I hope.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Harry Potter Mania

So I went to see GOF on Friday night. WOW! Amazing! Spectacular! I know that most of you say that I write in exclamation points and superlatives too often but in this case it’s warranted. The movie was almost everything that I could have hoped for. A 3 star effort for director Mike Newell’s first foray into the world of Harry Potter.

I won’t post plot points here since most of you have either read the books or read other reviews that have already told you the story. Besides, as Hubby puts it the plot of all the HP books is that Lord Voldermort threatens Harry’s life and then Harry has to find a way to survive. Unlike in past forays into the world of HP; however, this time Harry is on his own. When push comes to shove his friends aren’t there next to him.

That was the problem with this movie. In the book his friends help him prepare for that final confrontation by learning and practicing curses, counter curses and the like. In the movie it just sort of happened: Harry doesn’t seem to prepare for any of the competitions at all. In fact, his success in all of them is due to a bit of serendipity and others giving him the answers. Harry has survived to star in six books because he works as part of a team. Buffy didn’t make on her own: the Scooby’s helped her. Harry’s friends are his Scooby gang and this movie minimized the importance of that fact. No wizard is an island, not even the Boy Who Lived.

As a fan geek there are definitely things that are missing that I wish could be put back in. Events and ideas that I feel are key to GOF and the entire HP universe. If you’re fan geek like yours truly, shoot me an email and we’ll debate the missing gold (How will the twins start up their shop now?) Dumbledore’s sudden mean streak (What was with him pushing Harry?) and the lack of important revelations. (Karakoff, half-giants and animangi come to mind.)

Basically this was a great movie. The Weasley twins began to show the spark that will make them part of the greatest scene in the next movie, OOP. And Snape and McGonagal were unexpectedly some of the wittiest characters in the movie, often providing the best physical and verbal humor. Despite the over use of special effects the Harry Potter series is proof that a good story is its own reward. Whether you’re a fan geek like me, or a friend being dragged against their will like Hubby; you’ll enjoy this magical movie.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Great Expectations

Guess what I’m doing tomorrow? Come on you get three guesses. No, I’m not going to finally get a job. Hardry har har har. Next guess from the peanut gallery? No, my sarcastic friends, I’m not going on that much needed diet. Anybody have a serious guess here?

Fine I’ll tell you:

I’m going to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire!

Yay! *bounce*

That’s right, even though I live about a five-hour plane ride from anything resembling civilization. And even though I don’t have enough hot water at any one given time to both wash and condition my hair. I can still see GOF (as we fan geeks call it) on opening night! How cool is that?!

Stay tuned on Saturday for my review of what is sure to be an awesome movie. (Eek! I can’t wait! Yay!!!)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Small Miracles Part Two

In previous blogs, I’ve mentioned how after three and half months of living in Delhi Hubby and I still hadn’t cooked dinner in our own home. Well, Hubby made an amazingly yummy salsa one night but that was the extent of our forays into the kitchen.

The problem wasn’t know-how. We have lots and lots of cookbooks. (Although none written by my mother. Hint. Hint. Hint.) And it wasn’t lack of talent. Hubby is a phenomenal cook: from simple falafel dinners to Ethiopian Stew he’s practically a professional chef. Although I don’t have Hubby’s skills, I do enjoy putting together a nice Sunday dinner of a wild mushroom risotto or the like. It wasn’t even a lack of desire to cook. We are both so sick of restaurant food; and so desperate for a home cooked meal we were only a week or so away from begging friends to use their kitchens.

The sad problem, dear reader, was that we have a gas stove and nary a drop of gas to get it lit. *sigh* This is a problem that, after living in our apartment since early August, has finally been resolved. Yay!!!

Yesterday, after weeks of promises the gas guy finally arrived. He hooked us up and now when I turn the knob on the stove I get a snazzy blue flame. Now, like my Neanderthal ancestors of yore, I will turn raw meat into dinner over the flame of life.

So if you’re in Delhi on Sunday night, give us a call and you join us for a dinner of pasta with Mario Sauce, bruchetta and maybe even a home made carrot cake. Let the cooking begin!

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Delhi Zoo

Driving around Delhi can often be akin to enjoying an Indian Safari. Wild animals usually found on farms or zoos wander freely in the streets of this major metropolis. When I say streets please note that I mean the streets where people drive not some special roads designed for livestock. Car filled streets with wandering cattle.

Hubby and I have a term for the most common animal seen on the road: RCS or Random Cow Sighting. When we first arrived back in June it was a random event. We were awed by the weird cows that wandered out in front of our car. We smiled indulgently when a small herd of them stood in the middle of the road and seemed to almost wait for the traffic to thin out enough to cross to the other side. But they became less random and more of an everyday occurrence.

The bulls have been known to gore people who get too close. It actually happened to the driver of a friend of ours. Not fun or pretty we’ve been assured. When the cows started to over run some of the more popular roads the government tried to intervene: they offered a cash reward of 2,000 Rupees for every cow that was delivered to the city cow depot. It was a nice week. I’m positive they let all the damn cows back out since the problem seems as bad as ever.

Lo betide the person who accidentally hits one of these menaces. Remember the cow is sacred here. No eating beef and definitely no running it over to create dinner.

Less common but no less weird, are the random camel, white horse, and elephant sightings. These are slightly more common now that it’s wedding season and its traditional for the bride and groom to arrive at the wedding atop one of these creatures. The drivers of these animals are usually quite responsible and keep them to the side of the road so they can’t be hit.

Our final animal menace is the street dog. Not cute fluffy puppies sitting in yards and growling occasionally. These are rather mangy looking dogs that look like they adopt fleas to keep them company on Friday nights. The number one rule of Delhi Dogs is to avoid them. This can be difficult since they’re everywhere from the expat hangouts like Khan Market to local dives like INA Market.

So next time you’re at your local zoo gawking at the caged animal; or you’re visiting your friend’s farm and wishing that you hadn’t volunteered to help during the harvest season remember Delhi. You can see all these sights for free just by remembering to wake up and walk outside your front door. Only in Delhi.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Dreaming of a Hot Shower

I hate to give you mental images that will keep you awake with horrible nightmares for weeks but it can’t be helped. I love taking long, hot showers. Hubby calls them my Three Act Showers. You know the ones: five or ten minutes of standing under the water letting the pounding stream of water massage you into something that resembles a human being. Then you shower in the many, many stages that allow you to continue enjoying the hot water. Rinse and repeat anybody?

These were my weekend showers back in civilization. I dreamed of Saturday morning so that I could enjoy this thirty plus minutes of heaven. During the week I was lucky if I managed five or seven minutes after I had finished hitting snooze for an hour. But on Saturdays there was nobody rushing me. I could sing all my favorite songs from Les Miz and Disney movies and nobody cared. The Three Act Shower is the height of living in the civilized world.

Damn I miss it!

Each of the three bathrooms in our apartment has hot water heaters that must be turned on at least 20 to 40 minutes prior to actually showering. A quick flip of a switch before you eat lunch… err breakfast… and you’re supposed to be set for a shower. Of course, if you enjoy showers that last more than three minutes then you’re in the wrong place.

The guest room shower is good for at least five and a half minutes if left heating long enough. The only problem is that the guest room is on the main floor and we’re on the second. The master bath water heater doesn’t work at all and the shower we use only gets about three minutes; one of which is lukewarm. *sigh*

I have been reduced to taking ice cold showers lasting no longer than it takes to get clean and then hopping out. The true lameness of my pathetic existence is lies in what I’ve been asking Hubby to give as a pre-Christmas gift: one night in a hotel here in Delhi. I’m so desperate for a hot shower I’m willing to pay obscene prices for the privilege.

I am almost positive that Heaven has a shower with an endless supply of hot water. Heaven and the Taj Mahal Hotel.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Shoe Gods

I took Hubby out and about today and I discovered the weirdness that is shoe shopping Delhi. We wandered past the outdoor shoe “boutiques” and into the main part of GK1 M block in search of that elusive and endangered quarry: the cute shoe.

For the most part cute shoes come in three varieties here. First you have the really god-awful shoes. The GAS have sequins and sparkles glued and sewn all over them in unattractive patterns. They’re incredibly popular here for whatever reason. *shudder* These come in two height choices: hooker heels or so flat you can feel the pebbles on the ground. After convincing Hubby that I was not a stripper and didn’t require shoes with clear 5-inch heels, I moved on to the next shop.

Store number two had yet another selection of shoes fit to be worn on the Corner. Right when we were about to leave; however, the sales guy showed us type number two: the thong song shoe. I realize that a goodly number of women all over the world love these shoes. For those of you in the dark about thongs I’m not talking dental floss between your butt cheeks; I’m talking about dental floss between your toes. I find these shoes really uncomfy and not just because I have hard to fit feet. Besides, I read this incredibly gnarly article in British Cosmo over the summer about this girl that got really sick because of thong sandals. No thanks!

After perusing the collection of shoes at stores three through five I finally realized that shoe type number three was the slightly ugly shoe. *sigh* These are the shoes that don’t have sparkles and aren’t thongs. They have a nice low-ish heel and a strap that goes across the top of my foot. I have a super cute pair of shoes like this that I got in Toronto over the summer (Thanks Mum!) but couldn’t find even remotely as cute here. Bummer huh?

Deciding that it was time to bite the bullet and at least try on the cutest of the Type Threes I turned to the stalker… er… sales guy standing a half a foot away from me. I showed him the shoes I wanted and gave him my approximate shoe size. That’s when he looked to heaven and called out to God. Ok, so I’m exaggerating a little.

All the shoe stores here have these holes cut in the ceiling. No back rooms of shoes here: it’s a person sitting in the heavens throwing boxes of shoes down to the plebes. After almost getting clocked by a falling box, I sat myself down and watched the show.

The sales guys called up in Hindi what size they wanted while waving the shoe of choice around frantically. The person in ceiling would magically find the shoe in a matter of moments and the down the box would float into the hands of the correct sales guy. Very occasionally a box would be thrown back up, but not often. It is a floorshow not to be missed when you visit.

The weirdest part was: I never saw the great Shoe Man in the Sky. Men called out. Shoes fell to earth. It was a very surreal experience; not unlike visiting Sacre Coeur or the Blue Mosque. Ok maybe it was a little different… But not much! Shoe shopping in Delhi is truly one of life’s great mysteries.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Rememberance Day

In Flanders Fields
by: John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

India Does it Again

I believe that I’ve commented before on the phenomenon that is India’s ability to know when I have plans. Well India struck again! *pout*

The new driver called out sick today. This is actually a rather impressive upgrade from the previous driver who didn’t call when he decided not to come to work. Of course, he also just stopped showing up. Hopefully this isn’t the first step toward Driver Number Five. *sob* I really like DN4: he’s a nice guy and an incredibly safe driver. But once again, I digress.

I recently joined (got seriously horn-swaggled and conned into) joining a women’s club here in town. A brief clarification: I joined of my own free will. I agreed to help out by working on their newsletter of my own free will. I attended the board meeting this week of my own free will. That’s where the con job started: the current Newsletter Lady announced that she was escaping Delhi in a month or two. Not to fear though, she had found her replacement. That’s when she pointed at me. When did I go from volunteering to help out to agreeing to run the thing!? So I ended up spending most of my week at the Organization’s office and it’s actually been fun. I’ve met people that, after I fix and tweak them, might actually be cool. j/k

One of the other club’s I joined, the Delhi Network, meets once a month. (Next week in fact!) This club has all sorts who attend and I’ve found several fun people during the meetings. It was through this club that I met my knitting groups, which have been a weekly source of fun and something to do. In yet another in a series rather lame attempt to make friends in Delhi, I randomly called up one of the women I met at the DN and arranged to get together to do lunch. Lame but successful it would seem.

I think I’ve laid the groundwork for today’s schedule: lunch with my DN friend followed by working at the Organization for a few hours on this month’s newsletter. And now I have no driver for the day. I must be the luckiest girl in Delhi… or something.

After canceling lunch I sat down to figure out how to get out of going to the office… to no avail. *sigh8 I need to get a three wheeler (tuk tuk) to the office and hope that I don’t get eaten to death by the mosquitoes on my way. *double sigh*

How is that India knows when I have plans? Why does India hate me so much that it has to wreck my plans on such a regular basis? What sacrifice do I have to make to stop this endless stream of TYP0 directed meanness?

Ok enough of me feeling sorry for myself. It’s lunchtime and I’m hungry. Plus I haven’t seen Rashid from McDonald’s in almost a week. Hmm…

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Live in the Moment

I found this picture while looking at various blogs on the Internet. I don't know who the person is or even where the photo was taken. A beautiful if slightly chilly day spent on the beach. Did the man climb down those rocks or was there a path? Did he want to scare the birds or was he paying tribute to their freedom?

The man just seemed so free and happy that I had to post the picture here and share his bliss with you.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Springtime Shawl

This is one of the few knitting items that I've actually managed to finish. I've included the pattern because I didn't know what else to write about today. Enjoy!

Size 12mm needles
5 balls of Malizia by Estelle Premium Collection

Pattern Notes:
This pattern requires you to wrap the yarn around the needle twice, as if to knit, on several rows. Whenever this is done, you end up with 2 loops for each stitch rather than one. Instead of 36 stitches on the right needle, you will now have 72. This stitch will be described as Yarn Over (YO).

Cast on 36 stitches
*R1 Knit all Stitches
R2 YO each stitch (Remember you should now have 72 stitches on your right needle)
R3 Knit each YO stitch together. (You will end up with 36 stitches on your right needle)
R4 YO each stitch as in R2
R5 Knit the first loop of each of YO stitch and drop the second. (You will end up with 36 stitches on your right needle)

*** Continue pattern from R1 through R5 until ready to cast off.

Cast off as follows:
R1, R2, R3
Cast off loosely.

To finish:
Weave in ends.
Cut 22 strands of yarn each to 40 inches. Fold in quarters and attatch evenly to the ends of the shawl.

Final Notes:
I used four balls to make the shawl and used the 5th for the fringe. If you wish to make the shawl longer, cut the pieces for the fringe first. You can then use all of the excess 5th ball of yarn for the body of the shawl.

Monday, November 07, 2005

And They Call Me Crazy

Crazy Washington Post Blog lady is at it again. Seriously she has no sense of reality whatsoever. First it was like she was visiting a country that wasn’t India. Now it’s like she lives full time in a country that isn’t America. Her most recent blog is about cell phone usage in the States versus “mobile” phone usage here in India. Let’s break down her blog insane idea by insane lack of idea.

Crazy Lady believes that nobody in America has ever heard the term SMS used to describe text messaging. Now maybe it’s because I had first hand experience, what with my actually owning and operating a cell phone in both countries, but I knew that. It’s also written right on your cell phone bill. Granted, few people can actually read those things but that’s hardly the point – it’s there!

She goes on to make fun of Indian English (please don’t get Hubby started down that road) and then uses the term “acronym-cum-verb.” People in India use the term “cum” to join any two words to make them a single compound-word. A few examples for you: server-cum-bearer (housekeeper), atm-cum-debit card (I have no idea since these are synonyms.) Don’t mock something and then not realize the irony of your own Indian-isms.

One of my favorite parts of the Insane Blog is the amazing idea of using your cell phone to vote for your preferred singer on American Idol. AT&T Mobile, now part of Cingular Wireless, back in the States should really try this idea out. Oh wait they did. Even Jim Cramer, in his book “Jim Cramer’s Real Money” notes that his daughters’ friends voted on AI using their then AT&T Wireless phones. (Hardcover pages 60-61) Jim Cramer is the good kind of crazy and even he knows that you can text-in your vote on these shows. Maybe Crazy Blog Lady (CBL) doesn’t have a television back in her cave in D.C.

Show of hands: how many of you wonderful readers have a downloaded ringtone onto your cell phone? (Dad that would be the weird song that that sounded the first time you tried your new Motorola.) Exactly! Everybody downloads ringtones in the real world! In CBL’s world she has to fly all the way to India to hear a downloaded ringtone. Ok, it was a weird Hindi song (Salaam Namaste maybe?) but it’s just a downloaded song. I get text messages on my cell phone twice a day telling me about this “phenomenon.”

India a crazy-cum-wonderful country that has mobile phones. Thank god I moved halfway around the world to find out about this new innovation!

An All-New Episode of Blog

One of the toughest parts about living in Delhi has been the television. And before you start on me, I realize that I’ve waxed poetic (and not so poetic) about this topic numerous times. But it’s an important issue! You all know how much I love my TV.

Take Gilmore Girls for example. Rory dropped out of college since I’ve been here. She and Lorelei aren’t even talking to each other. *sob* How am I supposed to maintain a good relationship with my mother when the best mother/daughter team ever is on the outs. *sniff* Not to worry though, they actually show GG here. Of course, we’re still on season one (!!) but its something.

How about Amazing Race? I miss coming into the office on Wednesday mornings and calling my friend, D, to break down the amazingness of the previous night’s episode. Not only can I not call D to discuss the show, but all the amazingness is gone. Arguably the best reality show ever conceived; AR jumped the shark without me there to guide it. *doublesob* That said, the current season of AR is actually shown here as it has a HUGE following. What you get on Tuesday night I get on Thursday. That’s more current than some of the news on CNN World.

Smallville is another show that desperately needs me around to guide it. Aquaman was the freak of the week recently. That’s just sad.

If you’re wondering how I keep up with all my TV shows thank the Internet. I read all of the spoilers (preshow) and break downs (post show) online so that I can be as up to date in the lives of the survivors on Lost and the “ladies” of Wisteria Lane on Desperate Housewives.

A note about those two shows. I refused to watch them when we lived in the States on the grounds that I don’t follow trends I start them. Big words for a girl stuck to choose between an all-new Becker or an all-new Lost. I think that we all know that the former is never, ever going to be watched in this household. (Barring of course the Apocalypse of which my watching Becker would be a sign.)

TV is a great medium. Of course, if the medium truly is the message then I’m in big trouble. I think that I’ll go find a good book to curl up with. And maybe if I’m very brave I won’t even have the TV on in the background. Nah!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Small Miracles

We finally cooked last night!

A few clarifications regarding the previous paragraph: Hubby was the one in the kitchen. And we didn’t exactly cook but we (he) did create food. Very yummy food if I may be so bold.

Making anything with fruits and vegetables here is what I might politely describe as a pain in the a$$. First you chop up your veggie of choice. Then you dunk it in the chlorine and water solution to soak for 30 minutes. You’re not done yet unless you like the taste of the local swimming pool. Now you need to rinse off the veggies. Please note that you must use either filter or bottle water for these steps as tap water may be worse than the problem you’re trying to fix with the bleach solution.

After all the chopping, soaking and mixing we finally had an extremely tasty and home made salsa to enjoy. Hubby, ever the attentive and perfect husband, prepared the terrace (only two matches to light the mosquito coils!) and we sat out and enjoyed our salsa. To accompany this fine taste Hubby imbibed in a bottle of Castle beer and I sipped at my Ceres and raspberry vodka.

So next time you think to accuse that we still haven’t cooked here in Delhi just remember today’s blog. We may not be able to use the stove yet (damn gas people!) but we can still put together a mean treat.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Delhi the Beautiful

Every so often I look around me and notice that Delhi isn't really all that bad.

The people who put Delhi together wanted a city that was beautiful to the eye as well as the spirit. The photo to the left was taken back in June near the Gandhi Smriti. Does this look like a developing country to you? Me neither.

Beautiful trees showing off more shades of green than a flock of peacocks line almost all the major roads here. Shabby buildings are almost hidden by the intense grandeur of foliage that shades the dingy streets of Delhi. The odd brown and grey squirrel can be seen hopping from branch to branch. Hubby says that they're actually rats but, romantic that I am, I prefer to think that they're squirrels.

The tree to your right grows in an unassuming corner of the gardens at the Nehru National Museum. I admit that I'm a bit of a tree nut but you must admit that the knarly bark of this wizened tree makes for a beautiful spot to lunch under.

Don't get me wrong, Delhi can be ugly. There are days when I want to cry when I see the beggars on the streets that come up to my window asking for a spare Rupee. Children with missing or broken limbs tap on my window each day; their plaintive expressions tearing into my heart.

One of my favourite streets in all of Delhi is Niti Marg. It borders the back of some of the larger embassies on one side and Nehru Park on the other. During the day this street reminds me a lot of Mississauga for some reason. Mississauga but nicer. Just a few blocks away at the intersection of Africa Avenue and Ring Road are some of the most persistent beggars in town... and the ones that most often break my heart.

Yes, Delhi is beautiful city but hides a sad underbelly of poverty.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Battle of the Mosquito Coil

Have you ever bought those coil things that are supposed to repel mosquitoes when you’re outdoors? They’re really easy to use: you light one end and then it smokes for hours and hours and keeps the evil minions of Satan (aka mosquitoes) away from innocent angels like me.

Have you ever tried to light one of those mosquito coil things? It is incredibly difficult. Or so Hubby would have us think. After all it took us two good hours to light one today. Two hours, one box of matches and a dozen or so curse words later and the coil is an ashy pile of stuff that doesn’t repel anything.

I love Hubby; I think that we all know that. But he’s not the handiest guy to have around. He did buy me a box of Jelabi today, though. He’s cute like that. He can buy me Jelabi but he can’t light a mosquito coil. Everybody has their strengths and lighting matches just isn’t Hubby’s.

The ongoing battle of Typ0 versus the mosquitoes continues. I will win the war… Someday.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

For Whom the Bell Tolls

It’s practically a requirement that if you’re an expat in Delhi you’ll have at least one if not more people working for you. Most people have their help live in quarters attached to their own apartments. That’s just a bit too close for my comfort, thank you. I’d give you horrible mental pictures and examples about my walking around naked but I can’t afford to pay for all the therapy you’ll need if I go down that particular lane.

Last night Hubby and I got a glimpse into what people who don’t have our inhibitions do with their servants. Before I paint this portrait of domestic life in India, I need to remind my friends at CW about the lovely parting gift I was so kindly presented: the crystal bell. The jest, for the rest of you, was that I would use the bell to call my servants. Now on with the story…

I spent last night with a local (non-expat) couple we’ll call Mr. and Mrs. R. I should note for the record that they’re very nice people who have taken me under their wing and treated me beyond well. Tuesday being Divali, we began the evening with fireworks on the terrace. Who set off all of these highly dangerous fireworks: the houseboy, Ramma. He almost got clipped several times but we four had a lovely time watching the results of the pretty pyrotechnics.

Later in the evening, as we sat enjoying drinks that Ramma refilled whenever Mr. R called out to him I noticed something. The room had been beautifully decorated for the holiday with lit candles in every nook. As I beheld this lovely scene I noticed that one flicker was a little higher and more evil looking than the others. Yup, one of the tea lights had gone berserk and was about to set the apartment on fire. Not to worry, dear reader, we called Ramma to put out the flames.

Later as sat down to dinner I noted the small gold bell sitting on the table next to Mr. R. I ignored my curiosity and continued to eat the amazingly yummy dinner. Before long we required more Palau since Hubby had eaten enough for 3 starving children and was still hungry. Mrs. R called for Ramma who couldn’t hear her as he was doing dishes in the kitchen. Not to worry: we rang the bell. A melodious tinkling sound or two later and Ramma had fixed the rice problem.

When the dishes needed to be cleared we skipped the calling out part and went right for the bell. Dessert time? You know what to do: ring the bell. More Indian Cotton Candy sweets for Typ0: ring the bell.

Please note that I’m not condoning this behavior. But I’m not saying that the R’s are bad people either: they’re not. They’re highly cool people, thank you. I just wanted to share this story of the bell and its many uses. And leave you, dear friends, secure in the knowledge that should anything dangerous need to be done; we’ll call Ramma.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

It's Tuesday and that means...

Happy Diwali!!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Things I Miss about Home

Driving myself somewhere just ‘cause.

The many flavors of Ben and Jerry’s.

The many, many varieties of fast food available to me at the drop of a craving.

Access to a bookstore that carries books that I might actually want to purchase.

A place to have to go when I wake up each day.

Supermarkets. ‘Nuff said.

The ability (should I choose to exercise it) to walk outside without getting bitten to death by mosquitoes.

A police force that looks like it might do more than take a nap when things happen.

Seeing “Must See TV” without a five-year lag.

A world where Becker has been cancelled and replaced by good fare like Alias and… Hell, anything is better than Becker.

Two words: Mexican food!

A stove and oven so that I can cook actual food for my husband’s dinner. (I cook occasionally thank you very much!)

Being able to order and eat veggies anywhere I go.

Being able to use tap water to brush my teeth.

Earning money that I can call my own.

All of our friends!! (That’s you guys! No! Not you in the green, the rest of them. Sheesh!)

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The New ‘Zicco

When Hubby and lived in DC my favorite restaurant was this divine Italian place called Il Pizzico. Whenever we were going out to dinner, Hubby would ask where I wanted to go and I would always respond, “’Zicco!!!” (With all of the extra exclamation points.) The last time we ate there before we moved they called us regulars. It was one of the greatest moments of my life. A regular a ‘Zicco; it doesn’t get any better than that!

When we lived in the Midwest my heavenly place of choice was called Radio Maria. Radio was an eclectic fusion place that never had an off night. The menu was full of hits from top to bottom. The service was always on point and as a bonus their wine selection was always well priced.

Since arriving in Delhi I have been looking for a new favorite restaurant: a place for hubby to take me when the days got tough and I was sick of delivery food. Hubby’s old boss F introduced us to a surprisingly good, semi-Italian restaurant called Moshe Oliva. Hubby found his favorites immediately and after a few return trips so did I. Of note is the goat cheese appetizer that melts in your mouth. It was good but it still wasn’t a ‘Zicco.

Last night we kept the driver on late and had him drive us to MG Road in Gurgaun. Which is to say that we went quite far out of our way. We drove for what seemed like an hour until we finally happened upon our destination: Tonino. A rather pricey Italian restaurant of some repute my only hope was that it would be good enough to warrant the trek out to Gurgaun.

As we walked in we were greeted by the sound of a live string duet (violin and cello) that played everything from “Swan Lake” to “America the Beautiful.” After ordering drinks we were presented with a menu that boasted options from lamb stuffed ravioli to chicken scaloppini with mushrooms.

We started with bruchetta that melted my senses. I followed that by a rather risky choice: Cesar salad. This was a risky choice because one should never ever have salad in Delhi unless you want to become sick several hours later. It was worth the risk. From there we moved on to a lamb bolognaise for me and a woodfire pizza for Hubby. Again the chef had achieved the impossible: I forgot I was in Delhi and merely wanted to continue my sublime decent into culinary bliss. Dessert was nothing less than a dream of dark and white chocolate.

Pink is the new black. Vodka is the new cider. Delhi is the new DC. And Tonino is the new ‘Zicco!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Baby Corn is Stupid

Yeah, I said it! Its stupid and serves no real purpose. Corn should be big. I should want to slather butter and salt on it and munch away. I should require little pointy things (also shaped like corn) to stick in the sides because its too hot and yummy to eat properly with my hands. It should not come in mini form!

Can you tell I’ve been holding this in for a while?

Here’s the thing; everything here comes with baby corn. Lest you think I’m exaggerating I have perused some menus for proof: pizza with baby corn, veggie pad thai with baby corn, paneer pizza (a gross thought in and of itself) with baby corn, peas pulau rice with baby corn. It’s freaking everywhere!

Hubby keeps saying he’s going to order a bc pizza one of these days just go get my goat. That will be the same night that tall, blonde and cute sleeps on the couch. (The guest room is for people I *like*.)

So join me, loyal readers, in boycotting baby corn. Unite with me and eradicate this blight upon humanity known as baby corn.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Joys of Delivery

You may or may not have heard that Hubby and I still have no gas with which to cook. Part of that same rumor is that we’ve been eating out more than any two people on a fixed income should. I am neither confirming nor denying these rumors. Instead I am going to tell you about my newest friends: the delivery boys.

The Dominos guy is really nice and always arrives within 30 minutes of my phone call to his bosses. He brings me yummy pizza and sometimes throws in a free 500ml of coke to make me happy. (OK there was a deal for that at the time, but he handed them over and that makes him my Hero.)

The Chinese and Indian delivery food guys are always very fast. They also bring food that gives Hubby the trots. For some reason we keep calling them. We’re not normal. Or sane or that matter.

The new delivery guy in our lives is the McDonald’s boy. We had McD’s delivered last night for the first time. I had an American style McChicken that was quite yummy. The French fries weren’t hot any more but were still really good and tasted like home. Hubby had a McAloo burger - plain. McAloo is basically a potato samosa and tastes surprisingly good. I should note that for our two burger-like sandwiches, two large fries and 2 500ml cokes we paid $4.50 including tip for the delivery guy.

We can’t order Big Macs here but they have some weird chicken thing that looks like a Mac. I’m too scared to try but you’re welcome to it when you visit. There’s also this super freaky chicken curry in a puff pastry that looks NASTY! No, seriously it looks super freak nasty. Just say no.

McDonald’s delivery guy will soon be part of our delivery boy family that visits every week. Now if only there was a liqueur delivery boy life then would be good…

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Happy BDay, A!!

Happy Birthday to my big brother!!

You’re old. I’m not.

Have a great one!

Battle of the Blog

I woke up rather early this morning due to the evilly itchy swarm of mosquito bites on my feet and ankles. I plodded downstairs to sit in the living room with Hubby and watch Monday Night Football on ESPN. He sipped his Tim Horton’s coffee and I nursed my Tim Horton’s hot chocolate. If the ads on TV hadn’t been in Hindi (and the fact that it was Tuesday) we could have been in any city in the US. That’s when it happened.

Hubby was reading his email and noted that our friend C from Illinois had written. I happen to love C and was eager to hear what he had to say. Turns out that our *former* friend thought that I had competition in the India blog department. To that end he provided a link to a Washington Post journalist’s diary about her current trip to India.

I’ve read the blog: it sucks. I encourage you to read this woman’s insanity and come to the same conclusion as I did. Or you can just trust my opinion and decide that she’s a raving lunatic because I said so. I personally recommend the latter option.

This woman’s insanity began with her very first entry, which mentioned that there are no microwaves to be had here and that you can’t get Pringles in any of the shops. An odd assertion since Hubby’s tube of regular flavor Pringles are sitting atop our microwave.

In another entry she observes how expensive Delhi is. Is she in Delhi, Ontario? She recounts an experience buying a shirt in a Delhi mall for $30. Why the devil is she paying that much when she could go down to Connaught Place and get the exact same shirt for under $10. Assuming she can bargain even slightly she should pay half that.

Loco Lady also discusses how she felt bad for the beggars and gave them money and food. She gave a cookie and fifty cents to the people at one traffic light. If I gave even that little to every beggar who scraped at my window as I drove each day I would easily spend over $100 each month. Easily.

She wrote about the demise of people getting together at a person’s house for drinks before going out. To this assertion I can only apologize to the people at the Duke’s house who got together for one (or four) drinks on Saturday night before the football party.

Also mentioned was how she paid an incredibly high cover charge to drink imported beer at a local club. First off there are so very many bars and clubs in Delhi that don’t charge a cover that to pay one is fairly ridiculous. Then we have paying $7 to drink Corona. Why would anybody drink Corona? That’s really the biggest issue at stake. Not to mention that my frou-frou drinks don’t cost anywhere near that and they taste good - unlike the Corona.

After evaluating Crazy Lady’s blog I have been forced to forgive C in Illinois. He obviously thought that her ramblings were comedy and was merely encouraging me to add more humor to my own daily thoughts. I'll work on it just for you, C. =)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

It’s Update Time Again

Number of orders I have placed on Amazon to be shipped here: 1

Approximate number of days until the Amazon order arrives: 35

Mosquito update: Can’t update this right now: too busy itching my legs, ankles, feet, toes and fingers. I loathe mosquitoes.

Maid count: We’re still on number three and she’s amazing!

Driver count: Due to several issues including drinking on the job and failing to show up for work we just had to let #3 go. Hopefully we can hire number four soon.

Brave moments in Typ0 history: I not only took a tuk-tuk all by my self I even socialized with women I didn’t know and was vaguely pleasant to them.

Favorite Beverage: Hubby invented Fantica for my alcoholic pleasure. It is 1 part vodka to 3 parts orange Fanta. Yummm! (Please did you think I’d actually list a drink not containing alcohol?!)

Number of times we’ve cooked in our lovely kitchen: Next question please!

Amount of time spent at Jelabi store: They put something addictive in them. It’s totally not my fault!

A word to the wise: If you see a pink elephant in a room. Don’t mention it. No seriously, have more couth than your favorite blogger (moi!) and don’t mention the elephant in the room! I’m sorry, Buddy. =(

I thought the Geneva Convention prohibited this: “Becker” is on TV tonight.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Break In

Yesterday I had a bit of a fright. I also had a bit of a break in here at the apartment while I was at home. Before you start freaking out and calling, I’m Ok and it may not have been quite as bad as I first feared.

I was sitting on the couch watching an all-new “Smallville” from season two. All of a sudden I heard the big, heavy main door downstairs slam shut. The door cannot be closed quietly and always slams. Normally it’s a nice happy noise that tells me that Hubby is home. But it was ten in the morning and Hubby was at a conference downtown. This was not a happy noise.

I inched toward the first floor door to see if had imaged the sound. Nope, not my imagination or a hangover: I heard voices on the other side of what now seemed like a rather flimsy wooden door. I heard them pass my door and head toward the second floor. Since our apartment is on both floors and we’re the only ones who live beyond the big, heavy door my worry factor started to rise.

I bravely (read: stupidly) threw the door open and called out, “Who are you and what are you doing here?” They held up some tools and talked to me in Hindi. “I don’t understand you. English! What are you doing here?”

I did need some work done upstairs but hadn’t yet called the landlord to advise him. I knew that Hubby hadn’t called Sharma, which meant that Sharma hadn’t sent these two men. Worse than that, they had keys to my apartment and could get in again whenever they chose.

I pressed into the hallway and repeated my questions, “Who are you? How did you get in here?” They pointed down the stairs at the front door and repeated something in Hindi again. “I don’t understand you. Please, how did you get in? You didn’t ring the doorbell!”

I think I must have been more intimidating to them than I thought because as they continued to blather on in Hindi they scampered down the hall and left. The fact that they knew how to maneuver our complicated lock mechanism downstairs was telling in and of itself. But at least they were gone.

I immediately called Sharma, the landlord’s Guy Friday, and told him what happened. “Who else has keys to my apartment?” I questioned in a vaguely hysterical voice.

Sharma is a stand up guy: he told me to sit tight and he was at my door in nothing flat. Like a police investigator, he had me walk him through what happened pausing only to have me clarify certain points. He asked me to describe the two men which actually led to the first funny moment of the ordeal when I tried to describe their age and build by comparing them to Sharma and his assistant. Luckily they were amused by my attempts not to offend and played along. It was really rather amusing.

Having summed up the salient points, Sharma turned to his assistant and declared that a new lock would be installed right away. He also arranged for temporary security measures while we waited for the new lock to be installed.

Before he left, Sharma also took care of the smaller issues I had around the house. He gently berated me for not bringing a few of them to his attention stating that whenever we needed help we were to ring him immediately. Handing me a schedule of when the maintenance issues would be handled he left promising that he would do everything in his power to make sure that we never had a “break in” again.

A few hours later, the bell rang again. I looked out the window to confirm who was there. Seeing Sharma wave at me I padded down the stairs to let him in. Like the detective I had mentally accused him of being, he flipped open a small notebook and smiled. “I found out what happened.”

It turns out that they were former servants who were scheduled to come in and change the filters every few months. Sharma then handed over the keys that these alleged former servants had used to get in the apartment. He assured me that the situation had been dealt with and that the gentlemen would never, ever be back.

So as you see, I only *kind* of had a break in.