Sweet Home Chicago!

Trip Start Jan 07, 2006
Trip End Apr 01, 2006

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Flag of United States  , Illinois
Saturday, April 1, 2006

Sunday March 26, 2006 -
Cindy and I had a good dinner last night. Me with my sushi, while she had some thai dish. I feel so sorry for her on her crutches - while we were at the Leela, we would get so much sympathy from the staff and everyone would offer her a wheelchair. It's hot and 89 degrees farenheit still. Last night - I noticed how it seems like the US is the last holdout for using the English System of measurement. We really need to join the 21st century and start using the metric system. Sure I know how to convert over to metric now that I've lived in it for 12 weeks, but once I'm back in the US I'll forget. Besides - here in Bangalore it's now 30 degrees Celsius just about every day! Tonight is my going away party at this nightclub called "Sin" - not much sinning that can go on - but it should be a good time. Oh, I actually did manage to get Cindy's PC going. I think part of it was she just had no idea how SLOW the internet can be over here - and it's easy for our US PC's to get locked up in a loop over too many clicks of the mouse. I saw a little family of Monkeys yesterday on my way home from coffee. It might have been my last Coffee Day experience close to where I've been staying. The next four or five days I'll be having Babu drive me all over. I did manage to order two pair of prescription eyeglasses for less than $200 - Ray Ban and Nautica frames, with all the bells and whistles I get back in the States. If I had ordered them from Lenscrafters, I would have paid $800 easily. I can't wait to see how they turn out on Wednesday or Thursday. Wednesday is my last day in the office here, as my transit day starts on Thursday. That's the day I get to move out and stay a night at the Leela to get back on a day schedule for my flight and get ready to return to the conveniences of the US. I'll be updating the blog tonight after the Going Away party - when hopefully I have some embarrasing photos to share. Coffee, and Duty are calling. Good Day.

Monday March 27, 2006
My last monday here in Bangalore. WOW. The party was very good last night. We had to change the venu from "Sin" - since it had been closed down for illegal dancing. So we had it at Enigma - which still had a dancefloor, and seemed to have DJ's - however there were some chairs in the dancefloor - and nobody would dance there. The food at Enigma was pretty good. I had a club sandwich before I went just to make sure that I had some food in my stomach before I went. The place reminded me of a bar that would be in an American bowling alley for all the wood features, kidney shaped booths, and artificial nighttime lighting. All the guys piled into one booth - and Kelly, the drivers and the ladies would sit in another booth. Poor Cindy just wasn't feeling up to it after having to hobble around on crutches the night before at Leela. But people ended up dancing in the wait station between our four booths rather than on the dancefloor. We took up like four huge kidney shaped booths with all Cambridge folks celebrating both how well we did on the First Group Claims review, and wishing me a fond farewell. So many of the Bangalore staff have asked me when I'll be back, and I tell them it all depends on when Kelly invites me back. I'm figuring I might get an invite in about a year or so, whenever there's been enough turnover that more trainees need time management training. I only have 48 hours to pull all my crap together here where I'm staying and go into transit mode! WOW. I have just about filled one suitcase with treasures - and I need to put my remaining survival gear into bags for Kelly and Girish to recover before I leave. This morning I had to start my computer in safe mode - just to get it going. Hopefully no nasty viruses or anything have invaded my personal blogosphere here and internet connection to home.
Well, hot water and duty are calling. Good Day.

Tuesday March 28, 2006 -
I should be packing. Or at least sorting some of the garbage I'm not going to be able to take home. Instead, I'm here putting a few final thoughts down for my last days in India. Only two days left of work before I go into transit mode - and I just have no motivation whatsoever to keep going. The mosquitos here are a nightmare. I swear I have at least six bites just on my right arm and hand that I can count. I managed to get on the internet this morning. Hopefully at the Leela I'll figure out how to use their internet for a final journal entry before I board the plane. What else to say? I've had a good time here overall. I've learned how hard it is to stay motivated on a night shift job. I've seen what a great staff Kelly has working for her. They really want to try hard, and are doing a very good job. The communication is a challenge, but the internet does manage to overcome most of that. It's going to be very strange going back to an experienced staff, that doesn't ask all sorts of questions at every minute of the day. Oh, yesterday I went to see my barber for my last beard trim and shave for $2 US. It was very nice, and I think he thinks I'm now a regular customer of his. Oh well. I won't be back until Kelly invites me. Or asks for volunteers again. Yes - I will volunteer for this again. It won't be 12 weeks. But it will be for 4-6 weeks, depending on what Dave will allow. Well - I'm blathering on here. I do need to shower and get ready for work today. I'll have coffee - and get in to work out my last few projects until tomorrow night. Duty and hot water are calling. Good Day.

Friday March 31, 2006 -
I'm in London Heathrow - after leaving Bangalore International. That was a scarey experience. I ended up tipping the guy who helped me with my luggage probably a month's salary with a $10 bill, since it was the smallest bill I had on me. But he really did help me through getting checked in with Brittish Airways. The mosquitos were HORRIBLE - and all flights departing Bangalore spray DDT throughout the airplane - which was weird, but understandable. The poor woman next to me was sneezing throughout the flight due to it - and when I openned my eyes after they sprayed, my eyes burned!
I've been meaning to put in here - please check out the pin map view which gives a more detailed map of where I've been. The pin on the map shows as though I've been in Dehli this whole time - but Bangalore is MUCH more SOUTH than Dehli.
I just tried to log into the BA wireless network - but I think I need a password. Oh well. Must remember to pack TWO sets of clothes for these trips if I get to go to Bangalore again. The shower was refreshing - but it would be so much MORE refreshing with clean clothes rather than sweaty stuff I've worn since Bangalore. I have ten minutes or so to jot down some thoughts. There were no hot guys or chicks on my flight here. They were all pasty brits - and I was looking just as pasty since with the spa treatments yesterday most of my tan has peeled away. Disgusting yes, but I believe in full disclosure. I just heard that my connection to Chicago is at Gate 11 so I must get going soon. I ended up leaving my tennis shoes in Bangalore - the dirt there just wrecked them, and my new FILA sandals are the greatest. I'm wearing them right now. I have a lot of cool stuff. I hope I get to go back and visit - I've probably said that enough, but the people in the Banaglore office are so good, and the experience of viewing how other people live really opens your eyes to how good we have it in the US. It also educates you in ways of coping with camper showers, power outtages, and mosquitos from HELL. I thought they were bad growing up in Minnesota, but my god! These mosquitos were horrible - and you just couldn't get away except in your bedroom when the AC and the bug plug was working.
Well, I need to power down, and get ready to find my gate - maybe pick up an Architectural Digest, or some other mag to look at during take off. Well - Duty Calls. I can't wait to see Dave and get comfy at home! Funny how when I'm around the English, my brit accent shows up. I'm not of biological brittish ancestry, but my Grandfather (who I never met) was right off the boat from Cornwall England. I just hope some of the movies on this flight are ones I want to see. Duty Calls - Good Day.

April 1, 2006 -
I am back! I am HOME. The flight back was good. I got home with more champagne and salmon in me than I ever have had. It's so comfortable to be home with NPR on the radio, and a kitchen table full of mail and junk that needs to be gone through. Today I need to get back into my saturday routine of cleaning the fish tanks, and going through mail, paying bills, etc. LORD I have so much mail - I guess there's like three piles here, once for Dad, one for me, and finally one that is BCBS and Medicare statements from Dad's last hospitalizations. So much work to get done here. The cats at home are FULL sized - even plus sized. They remember me, but they're still a little afraid of this stranger who smells like curry and red dirt. When I woke up I was SOOO Cold! It's like 75 in here, but it feels like it's 45 degrees. Yes, things have changed all over here - but Dave still is as cluttered as always. It's good to be home so I can impose some order on the mess that's all over here. We have to go shopping for groceries today, and get back into the rhythm of everyday life. I am taking monday off to recuperate. But I expect I'll be in the office on Tuesday. And tomorrow I can read the NY TIMES! Oh it's good to be home. Now you all know what a plain, dumpy old gay guy I've become. Chicago has so much, and I'm so glad to be home. Oh, and Daylight Savings time starts tonight - another reason I'll need an extra day to get settled in. Well, I am back, and this is my last entry. What can I say - I had a good time, and if I am invited back, I would like to go for 4-6 weeks. I have a feeling by the time Kelly is ready to have me back, they either won't need me - or there will be some change in the project structure where the training program will be more formalized and Kelly will have enough trained permanent staff on that they won't be recruiting volunteers for this stuff. I brought home 10 yards of Mysore Silk, which we will make into a window treatment in the dining room. I have three carpets which are being shipped, and right now are delayed in Alaska. I'm expecting they'll be here sometime next week. Two sets of glasses, three watches, three fountain pens (actually four but I managed to lose one somewhere in Bangalore). A beautiful Tibetan Mandala and a prayer rug, both of which Dave loves. Three mini (bigger than airline sized, but smaller than your normal sized) bottles of single malt scotch - Laphroaig and Johnny Walker Blue. Various little knick knacks - which we have too many of already - but very interesting and soon they will be blended into our home. I picked up a perfect duvet cover and pillow set which matches the Dove Grey in the bedroom. And I have such wonderful memories of everyone in Bangalore, Mamallapuram, Mysore, Pondicherry and Chennai. If there was no birth control - I have seen the future, and the future would be India. Lots of people - all with their agendas, rushing everywhere to get things done. We have the luxury of space, cheap power, pavement, good produce, and a unified language. Imagine if the people of Naperville all spoke French, while the people of Carlinville spoke German, and anyone in the city limits of Chicago spoke Swiss or Belguim? This is why so many people in India speak English - it's as though India was where the Tower of Babel were first built. Well, this has been a very productive and enjoyable trip, even for having been sick with bacterial infections three times, and I feel fortunate that's all I had. I coped well in Bangalore. Yes there were inconveniences - but I got over all of them. Well - duty calls. Dave and I will have another travel blog for the cruise to share that with all our friends. But we may only upload it at the end of the Cruise just to share our pictures from our honeymoon, so everyone can see what a great time we've had. So Good Day, and you'll hear from Dave and I soon.
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