Photos from Dharavi

May 20, 2014 at 15:18

I just can’t believe that a whole month has passed since our guests went back home. And during this time we have not been able to upload the photos from the Be the Local Tour in Dharavi, as we promised. Well, here it goes:

Crossing the bridge

Crossing the bridge over to Dharavi

Sorting plastic

Sorting plastic. A lot of work.

Puppies

Puppies. So cute!

Embroidery

Embroidery

Wall art

Wall art. So pretty!

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This man must hold the Guinness World Record in pottery. It was very impressive!

Mom and Maja

Mom and Maja

The original White House

The original White House

The gang

Walking tour.

Dyeing

Dyeing

Hot work

Hot work

Hope you liked the photos!

- Andrea

Syttende mai

May 18, 2014 at 14:35

Yesterday was the National Day of Norway, known to Norwegians as 17. mai or Syttende mai. This day is for Norwegians one of the best days of the year. It is the one day of the year when Norwegians will be most proud of their country. We will dress up in our best clothes, many of us in our traditional bunads, and we will celebrate Norway from morning until night. The day is usually started with a Champagne breakfast with friends, family or both, while watching NRK’s Syttende mai coverage on TV. The most amazing landscapes and nature are broadcasted, which just contributes to our love for our own country on this day. Then people usually take a trip to the local celebrations, where children, russ and others parade in the streets with flags and music. In Oslo the royal family waves to the parade as the people walk past the royal castle shouting ‘hipp hipp hurra’. After this Norwegians often gather for a barbecue or share a meal in other ways with family and friends. It is also known as the one day of the year Norwegian children can eat all the ice cream they want.

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17. mai in Mumbai

This year however, the celebrations were a bit different than Marius and I are used to. It’s actually my first Syttende mai away from home, but it worked out way better than I thought. Eli organized a lovely 17. mai celebration at the Waterstones Country Club here in Mumbai, and gathered 20 Norwegians for a great lunch with typical Syttende mai food like Norwegian sausages, potato salad, eggerøre, spekemat and ice cream. Even Idun ketchup & sennep, lompe and Twist was served. That’s amazing!

17. mai at Waterstones

17. mai at Waterstones

Gilde sausages

Gilde sausages

Waterstones Country Club

Waterstones Country Club

Enjoying the food

Enjoying the food

After the gathering, we were invited over to a lovely Norwegian expat home here in Powai, to continue the celebrations with with dinner and wine, and some really tasty Gulab Jamun for dessert! Then we went home to continue the Syttende mai celebrations with our friends back in Norway over Skype. It was great talking to them, and we really wish we were back home with them this weekend. But luckily we’ll see them in a really short time, and until then we have Skype!

- Andrea

Cricket at Wankhede Stadium

May 11, 2014 at 21:34

Right on Marine Drive in Mumbai, you will find Wankhede Stadium, the home ground of the cricket team Mumbai Indians. They have had a struggle this season, and for last years winners of the Indian Premier League – IPL, two wins so far simply isn’t good enough. We felt in the depths of our stomachs that this statistic was about to change, as we hopped on the train at Vikrohli Station and headed for Churchgate. Andrea and I had just bought our Mumbai Indians jerseys, and we felt like real Mumbaikars when we boarded the train southwards with our two good friends. They had been nice enough to invite us to the game, and had arranged for tickets with some really good seats.

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On the local train

The trip landed at 10 rupees per person, which is around NOK 1. Affordable in other words. We luckily missed the big crowds, and as such had plenty of room in the car. We mostly stood soaking up some cooling wind by the always open doors on the Mumbai local train. I have to say, few things give the “real India feel” (from a firangs perspective) like taking the train around Mumbai. It is like everything you always pictured.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, cricket, right? We jumped off at Churgate, like I said, and walked back up Marine Drive to gate 4 of the Wankhede Stadium. We had tickets on the Sachin Tendulkar stand in the northern part of the stadium. If you don’t know who Sachin Tendulkar is, just know this: Mention his name to a Mumbaikar and you will summon the biggest smile you didn’t think possible. He is the greatest cricket player who ever lived – or as simply put by Indians: He is the God of cricket.

We got there early to avoid the big crowds, a strategy that panned out well, as we were close to the only ones on the stand when we arrived. After a few cold drinks and a bit of pizza, we we’re ready for the match. We got a good view of both the pitch and of the Chennai Super Kings cheerleaders – total entertainment, as our friend so aptly put it.

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The view

After some things I didn’t understand, it was decided that Mumbai would bat first. And so they did. We looked on in excitement as they struck fours and sixes like their life depended on it. The cheerleaders cheered for each one, a little less like their life depended on it. Chennai forced six outs during the half, in which they played 20 “overs”. An over is basically a segment of six balls being “bowled”. It will always be bowled by the same guy throwing. That means the first half is done after 120 balls are bowled or the defending team manages ten outs. An out can be achieved in several ways. Firstly, it can be made by bowling the ball past the batter and hitting the “wickets”, or three sticks lodged in the ground. It can also be made by catching the ball after a bat without the ball touching the ground first. Thirdly, it can be made by throwing the ball onto the wickets while the batter is making his “run”. One completed run – both batters cross to the opposite side – is one point. If the batter strikes the ball out of the field, he is awarded four points, and if he does so without the ball hitting the ground first, he receives six points.

That’s about it as to what I understand of cricket, which I guess isn’t too bad. Anyway, Mumbai batted first and hit an impressive 157 points in 120 balls. Unfortunately, even though the suspense filled the air in the stadium, Chennai managed to get more than that during their last over, and was crowned victors.

Although disappointed after the loss, there was really nothing that could take away from the incredible atmosphere at Wankhede. We even got on TV, so our fifteen minutes of fame are up. It’s funny, because I guess nearly ten million people saw us that night, and I’ve had people I haven’t even met come up to me and ask if it was me who was on TV during the match.

Us on the TV screen

Us on the TV screen

We concluded our trip to Wankhede with a stroll down Marine Drive and a cup of chai from a one-armed guy serving from the back of his bicycle.

You really got to love India.

Best regards, Marius

Sunny days

May 8, 2014 at 10:50
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Playing cards in the park

Hi! Okay, so I haven’t updated in a while. I’ll blame the weather..? The temperature here is about 35 degrees Celsius now, but the “felt” temperature circles around 42. Going outside is like stepping into a bakers oven and it will leave you apathetic. The feeling I get at around +35 degrees here is in other words much the same feeling i get in -35 degrees in Norway. Of course, the heat is not excuse to sit inside in the air conditioning all day. As any true Norwegian would stress, there is no such thing as “too hot”! So we took a trip to the park the other day to play some cards in the sun. The sun, being a relative term in this sense, because we got about 5 minutes in before we were surrounded by a group of kids who wanted to take our pictures and show us some card tricks.

The days spent in the office are very good these days, and very productive, we’ve blasted through most of the obstacles on my project, and are quickly nearing a finished solution. I hope our customer will be happy! Luckily there is really good air conditioning at the office, so we bless our time there. And we drink all the mango juice we can get our hands on. It’s mango season now, and boy oh boy, do I enjoy it!

Fresh mango juice

Fresh mango juice

Best regards, Marius