Sunday, February 26, 2012

An Ordinary Sunday

Last Sunday started with fresh smells, dumplings and tofu twists, guess which was tasty.You could also get Jerry Fish and Arrested Vegetables, gansta style!Then we spent some time enjoying the wildlife, see if you can spot it.Then it was Engrish grocery shopping time at the Japanese grocery store. Did you know that cow ghosts go to Moominvalley, which also has witches?Can you imagine how upset Froggy is that he can't eat combover's snacks? And don't you hate it when you're eating and a fox steals your food?Here, the frog's trauma continues, this time agravated by a scary snowman, and the ever-creepy fox.Finally, exploring the depths of confusing Asian marketing is the face-hand, complete with hat, snacks, and rice triangle. Nothing could make me hungrier than these guys.Many other delicacies awaited. Mmmm, Crunky, leafy, palacious seaweed pick ups.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Flamboyant Florals

It all started out normally at the Bangalore flower show.
There was an abundance of flowers.Krista and I demonstrated our appreciation.Then Barry and the monkey showed us the way to the Pachcha Kathakali dude.
Then things started to get a little strange, starting with the vegetable pyramid.We met the original discoverer of Indian flowers, who started fading.
And the hidden hand goddess.Then the brain flowers started to melt and morph!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bangalore Lore

So have you ever been posting something, with witty jokes, when you had an unexpected work trip, and by the time you got back, you forgot how you'd planned to link the above shoelace picture to the below shoe-less one?
Coconuts! Bananas! What should be said here?This one is more obvious, because remembering rice is obviously a funny thing. Aaaaah, glutinous, bibimbap, goreng, pudding... I could spend some time at this place. However, the Hindu temples are more esthetically intriguing, as usual.
Barry declared his trip to India complete and his country count updated once he had a picture of decorated street cattle. Fair enough.
I think the decoro-truck is fancier, personally.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Singapore Airlines. No thanks.

I flew nearly as much last year as George Clooney, without having any flings with married women. I've found my local airline to be increasingly disappointing of late, to the extent that I've been impressed even with recent US flights! Here is a summary, and below is my tale of trans-continental disappointment.If you can sleep on planes, then your life is better. Better rest, less jet lag, and you will not realize that due to widespread electrical failures, your plane has turned back to London. Even when you go to the washroom and the water doesn’t work, you may be sleepy enough to not suspect that anything but foul odours are amiss. This unsuspecting bliss does not last, after the landing announcements, which make you think about how much you’ll miss people if you’re dead. (Editor’s note, this is selfish thinking, since evidently dead people don’t miss, and living people do).

It turns out that if you have electrical failures, you probably don’t know how much fuel you need to dump before landing, as far as I can guess. Though it felt very smooth, we blew 6 tires upon landing. When you (you being an A380 now, stay with me) do that, you have to stop at the end of the runway while the fire trucks check you out to determine the extent to which you’re on fire. You might think, oh!, you’re clogging up the runway, how annoying. But don’t worry, it’s after midnight, and normal un-burning, electrical-functioning planes don’t land at this time.

I’m seated in 77k. This is a good seat because it’s on the top floor’s smaller economy area, with only 1 person next to you, and an extra window area into which you can mangle your head for uncomfortable rest. It’s also further away from blown tires, so that seems good. However, it’s not always a good seat if you want to leave the plane in a hurry in unusual situations. It turns out that, after midnight, some of the gate bridges go to sleep, so that you can only exit planes from the first floor. Shocking airport secrets, no?

Time in captivity roughly as follows:
1) On plane waiting for bridge connectorator(45 minutes).
2) Locked into gate area waiting for manager of the 2 ladies in official fluorescent vests (30 minutes).
3) Locked into gate area waiting to be summoned for buses to hotels (30 minutes)
4) Waiting for bus (0 minutes).
5) Waiting to check into hotel (10 minutes).

Other important facts:
1) If you want to go from the gate area to the loo to wee (UK wording), you are escorted by 2 policemen with bulletproof vests and one important Man of the Loo. This, I guess, prevents rogue weeing (Microsoft tells me weeing is not a word, so is it weeation, or weeability?. The cleaners did not decide to skip/reschedule cleaning the only nearby washroom, so only 2 stalls are available.
2) The above time is not sufficient to obtain checked baggage.
3) The combination of British and Singaporean people are remarkably calm in the above situation. We carried on.

To my surprise, the hotels had been alerted to our impending arrival a full 3.5 hours beforehand. That is, before I even knew we were turning around. So I assume that the manager and connectorator were stuck in the tube – the Piccadilly line had delays today and many days.

The luxuries of the Heathrow Sofitel are as follows:
1) A mini-bar, which contains water in plastic bottles so that you can fill the oceans while drinking tap water. (Editor's note: I not longer know what this means, but it seems like it should be funny.)
2) A comfortable bed in which you can sleep for 2 hours wearing your jeans and hoodie
3) A 24 hour room service menu with at least 2 vegetables on it, but only breakfast is offered by the airline.
4) Coffee-bits in little baggies, made for spacemen without taste buds.
5) Most importantly, free toothbrush delivery upon request! Mouth fermentation halted just in time!

Luckily, I have gold status, I should be rebooked on an Eastward-bound flight imminently, yes? Singapore Airlines is the best in the world (as rated by business men who like the flight attendant dimensional requirements and costumes uniforms), no? Helpfully, rather than have the Singapore reservation team help during their daytime, we have to wait for the UK (read unionized) reservation desk to open then attend to my every need. Well, I only have 1 need, and it’s now been unaddressed for 8 hours. Flights are leaving as we speak, are they all going west?

I asked at the front desk, and they said there will be a man there "soon" who will "answer all of our questions". Which is funny, because many of my questions are about my career and what I should do with my life, so this guy must be a big-time expert. I don’t have much time to prepare. Barry wants me to ask about the market value of his house and about his sports injuries, but they didn’t say they could answer other people’s questions, so that will also have to be one of my questions.

Anyway, they also said there are 2 buses taking us to 2 flights, and the first bus leaves at 9. (It is now 7:40). I will get my loiter on in order to improve my chances.

As I enter my delirious/weepy phase of fatigue, I have my final blood sausage and protein-bits breakfast. It was medium out of 10. I wonder if the oil oozing out of said sausage is actual cholesterol from the animal once owning the blood. Yes, I have deep early morning thoughts.

The following things happen to me when I’ve had not enough sleep/oxygen/grooming products:
1) Parts of my finger nails start peeling off, leaving DNA evidence anywhere I’ve been.
2) Individual hairs give up their grip and stick to my hoodie.
3) My feet attempt to double in size and must be locked tightly into my shoes.
4) My under-eyes turn a deeper shade of violet than usual.

It turns out that the man has no answers. He also has no uniform, no computer, no phone, no passenger information and offers only highly lame excuses. He tells us to be patient, as if we haven’t been for long enough. Evidently it takes over 9 hours to get even the first passengers rebooked because they have connections to New Zealand (yes, that’s what he said). Many Singaporeans seem to accept this. I, however, have seen entire airports of flights rebooked faster than this via crappy US airlines. The Singaporeans next to me are hypothesizing about the A380’s malfunction. While I also did so above, it’s annoying when others do.

I am now waiting in the hotel lobby seeking Information from the Man Without Answers. He has been joined by a Woman Without Answers. They both wear schleppy grey sweaters.

Due to lack of lobby loitering space, I’m sitting at the edge of a fountain made of cold granite. The woman next to me has forgotten it’s a fountain and let the corner of her newspaper fall in. A “Brains SA Gold” beer ad is saturated.

I am looking for the bright side which includes:
1) I did not die
2) I found deodorant in the gift shop and it’s plane-friendly sized.
3) I am relatively well equipped in my scarf and hoodie despite my lack of luggage.

A very exciting development occurs and they call people for the first flight. All of 10 names, most of whom are not waiting in the lobby and all of whom aren’t me. At this rate it will be 9x50 = 450 hours before everyone gets to board the sacred shuttle buses. In my excitement I somehow got some of the paper on which I’m writing caught in my teeth and it causes pressure.

I am now asking existential questions like:
1) Has a flight never been cancelled before for Singapore Airlines?
2) Have all other Europe-Asia flights also been cancelled?
3) Do they perhaps have a lesser known secret labour strike going on?
4) What’s with the grey sweaters?

I’m in the hotel allocated to business class, gold status and babies, and yet even the former isn't rebooked yet. Signs of anarchy are beginning to show, so I wonder what it’s like in the tier 2 hotels.

After confirming twice that the airline will call/sms my mobile with flight bookings, they don't. Instead, they email me one booking, only to email me another for 7 hours later. That means I waited 10.5 hours for a booking, and a 20.5 hours overall delay. I waited in line-ups for 4 of those hours, so that sped up the time. I’m told where to stay though it’s check-out time, I need food, clothing and sleep, and am bordering on delirious and hysterical.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Bangaluru Streets

While shopping in Bangalore, we drank jars of honey to keep our shopping energy up.
You can buy everything on the street in Bangalore, especially old IT books. I'm sure there's something funny to say about old IT books, so please think that now.
Peacock feathers are readily available, as is a wide array of food.Below is sugar cane juice, which comes in a very tasty and unsanitary combination.The sari fabrics are always appealing, although I haven't found enough decorating uses for them yet.
Similarly, the creepy deity stickers/fridge magnets are tempting, but with limited uses.
To shop, you have to look high and low.
And be careful that your legs don't dissolve into whiteness as shown below.Also confusing, this store sells return gift items. Maybe we need these?At last, the snack jackpot, with items such as Bingo Brands, Mad Angles, Full Toss tangy pickle and Parle's Masala Masti! So much deliciousness!