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It’s getting warmer

March 23, 2014 at 06:48

That’s for sure. When we first arrived in January the weather was just right – not too hot and not too cold. It was like a good Norwegian summer, with the sun shining and a little soft breeze. Now that we’re at the end of March it’s a different story. The tempratures are over 30 degrees, and you get a lot more tired of wandering around outside. Luckily we spend a lot of our day in our airconditioned apartment and office, so we don’t have any problems with the heat on the week days, since the sun unsually sets when we go home from work.

Marius at one of our favorite after work restaurants

Marius at one of our favorite after work restaurants

But when we went down to southern Mumbai yesterday and wandered around in the streets for hours, we really felt the heat. We were sweating, we got dehydrated and I have had the most irritating head ache since. So today, we won’t go down to Juhu beach for a Sunday Brunch as we planned. We’re staying in ordering our food to our door. I just ordered yoghurt and muesli, rye bread and jam and some yoghurt covered nuts from the local grocery store. Marius is busy with his PS4 in the living room and I’m watching Disney’s The Rescuers from our bed. It’s just one of these days. Haha!

Powai

Hiranandani over Powai Lake

Later today when the sun isn’t so intense, the plan is to get a rickshaw out to the Infinity Mall in Malad. My iPhone charger is broken, and I really miss using my phone, so we have to go buy a new one. Until then, my plan is to just have a very lazy Sunday, watching series, drinking lots of water and getting rid of my head ache.

I know as a Norwegian you never complain about the weather being too hot, so forgive me. And also, as a Mumbaikar I really shouldn’t complain about March weather, as March hasn’t got anything on April and May! So I guess I’m not prepared for the heat that is coming with summer in India, as spring time already is wearing me out. Well, good luck to me!

- Andrea

Rickshaw clicks

March 20, 2014 at 13:19
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Pics from the rickshaw

 

I took these photos with my iPhone on my way to the office the other day. The road between Hiranandani and Godrej IT park is a bit bumby, but there is a lot of interesting things to see on the way.

- Andrea

Happy Holi!

March 18, 2014 at 16:19

Marius and I had a blast this weekend. The festival of Holi – also known as the festival of colors has to be one of the most fun festivals in the world. You know all of those camera commercials on TV, where they capture the moments just before you get sprayed with lots of colors – yes, it’s just like that. Except that when your are celebrating with friends, family or neighbors – and not out in the streets – you usually just give them a pat on the cheek and say ‘Happy Holi’. At least that’s what we have experienced. But of course, you get color bombed as well! That’s part of the game. As it is kind of a free-for-all color and water war, where you chase the others, spraying water and throwing colors at them. It’s really as fun as it sounds.

Andrea and Marius celebrating Holi

Andrea and Marius celebrating Holi

We started the day with breakfast at our society, Verona, and it didn’t take long before we were thrown into the pit of rain dancers. Loud music was played, and water was pouring over us while we were getting more and more colorful by the minute, Little kids ran around with water pistols and sprayed us. People were dancing and singing to the music – which by the way actually woke us up that morning.

Holi at Verona

Holi at Verona

After this, we were invited to our friend Amit’s block party, and it was so much fun. After a few cold King Fishers, Marius and I were ready to dance – at least since Amit’s wife and sister-in-law are great dancers and excellent dancing teachers. My favorite song these days, Sunny Sunny, was played over the stereo and we had a very fun rain dance.

Rain dance

Rain dance

After this we had some amazing Indian hamburgers – made of potato and pav, if I’m not mistaken. And after this we had some chicken biryani. It’s safe to say I’ll need to buy some new pants soon, as I won’t fit my old ones very soon. There is too much good food in this city! And more food was to follow, as Amit took us to meet some of his good friends close by, where we among other things had some amazing (and spicy) papadums and mutton, along with a lot of beer and one or two tequila shots.

Us with Amit, his wife and his sister-in-law.

Us with Amit, his wife and his sister-in-law.

At about six o’clock in the afternoon or something like that, we had to throw in the towel after too much beer, too much food and too much fun – we were exhausted! It was a great first meeting with this colorful festival, and we can only hope we’ll be able to experience it again some time.

- Andrea

Beer tasting

March 16, 2014 at 11:57

This Friday we joined our friend Ashutosh to Worli for some beer tasting and beer pong. We went to The Barking Deer Brew Pub, which is supposed to be the first microbrewery in Mumbai. It was a great place. It’s located next to Blue Frog, and not too far from Hard Rock Café.

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Beer tasting

They celebrated both Holi – the festival of colors and St. Pat’s Day, so they served special green and red beer for the occasion. My favorite was the Bombay Blonde.

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Beer pong

After some beers and hamburgers we went upstairs to play beer pong. Marius lost, and had to finish of Ashutosh’s beer. Both Marius and I got a little tipsy, and I actually fell asleep sitting at our table in the pub afterwards. I was so sleepy, I couldn’t help it. And after a while we took a taxi back home. The fact that taxis usually don’t have seat belts in the backseats finally had it’s advantages, as I could lie across the seats and sleep all the way home.

Now, Marius and I are getting ready to celebrate Holi the next two days. Tonight there will be a Holi party in our building with a Holika bonfire and tomorrow we’ll have to put away our favorite clothes, as we will join in on the color festival.

Daily life

March 13, 2014 at 21:27

This is it! :-)

We finally had a few days in a row that were more or less routine. We’ve been running up and down mountains for the last month+ trying to get everything sorted with the apartment, paychecks, work, phone, internet access, you name it. Our free time has generally been spent exploring new restaurants, areas, temples, shopping malls and other fun stuff. But these last couple of days we have been able to just quietly sit down and reflect on the matter that we are actually living in the second biggest city in the world.

Up until now, it has felt a lot like a vacation in some regards, like we haven’t really been able to set any sort of roots. I think this week was for exactly that. I’ve gotten into things at work, and Andrea’s research is coming along well. We’ve spent some evenings just watching True Detective (which, I have to say I give 10/10, even though it disappointed me in the end – I think that says a lot) and relaxing.

I think Matthew McConaughey is racing towards one of the very best actors in Hollywood history! (courtesy of truedetectivequotes.blogspot.com)

So, we are basically settling into life here quite nicely. It’s been good to get a few days to breathe, because it won’t be calm for long here. Next week, on Monday, we have Holi coming up. It’s that festival where they throw colors at each other, the very same festival that is featured on every camera commercial in the world. :-)

Holi! (Courtesy of t2india.us)

Oh. And I need to find out how to pay my bills here. You would think you could just go the bank and pay them, but nooo. I have to get to a Vodafone shop to pay my phone bills, Airtel shop to pay for Internet, somewhere else I don’t know to pay for gas, and a different place yet again to pay for electricity.

… Incredible India!

Best regards, Marius

Sunday nap

March 9, 2014 at 10:39
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Stray dog in Hiranandani streets

This guy knows how to spend a Sunday.

Fredagskveld

March 8, 2014 at 16:01

Yesterday Marius, Aleksander and I invited our friend Nawal to a typical Norwegian fredagskveld. He has been kind enough to introduce us to all kinds of Indian food the last couple of weeks, so we thought we should introduce him to some typical Norwegian dinner: tex mex! Or as we Norwegians call it: taco! This meal usually consists of ground beef (we used various beans instead), vegetables, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, nacho chips and tortilla wraps. Luckily for us they have got all the Old El Paso products that we’re used to in Norway in the grocery store here in Powai, so we could make a veg version of the Norwegian fredagstaco.

Fredagstaco

Fredagstaco

We also introduced Nawal to our favorite Norwegian musicians – Amund Maarud and Electric Woodland (check them out on Spotify!) as background music. A proper fredagskveld also typically involves a couple of beers. And as we we’re going out later in the evening, we of course had to have a vorspiel, like most Norwegians do – because it’s so expensive to buy alcohol at the pubs or clubs. As it turns out, this is a common practice in India as well.

Sheesha Restaurant

Sheesha Restaurant

Later that night we took a cab to Bandra, where we first visited Sheesha – a roof top restaurant where we thought we could smoke some sheesha – but we couldn’t. Then we went to a very loud club called Bora Bora, where we had some snacks, beers and cocktails, before we tried to get into the Royalty club just down the street. We had heard rumours that foreigners would get into this club for free, but when we turned up they wanted a 6000 rupee cover charge – that’s 600 NOK! So we got a good laugh and walked away, while the entrance guards kept shouting other prices after us – Indian ‘special price for you my friend’ style. So, we decided to put an end to the bar hopping for the night, and rather take a cab down to to Colaba – as it was Aleksander’s last weekend in Mumbai. At about two o´clock in the morning we went sightseeing. We drove past Haji Ali Mosque, saw The Gateway of India and had a late night coffee and masala chai at the Taj Mahal Hotel.

At Taj Mahal Hotel

At Taj Mahal Hotel

It was a very nice and quiet end to the evening, which we were gratefull for when we woke up this morning not feeling hung over. Now, our plan for the rest of the weekend is to just do nothing and charge our batteries for next week.

- Andrea.

Slumdog Millionaire

March 7, 2014 at 06:27

During breakfast this morning, we were watching TV and the movie Slumdog Millionaire came on. We came in right around the scene where Jamal and his brother are sitting in an unfinished building looking out over their old slum, and we were like “Whoa!”, that looks familiar. We didn’t quite catch the exact whereabouts of their location, but it definitely looked like our home area, Hiranandani Gardens.

A shot from Slumdog Millionaire looking out on Hiranandani Gardens

We did some Googling and came up with this picture. Lo and Behold – this is almost the exact same view that we have from our apartment. In the bottom middle of the picture you can see a green area, that is the Heritage Park, in which I do my running in the morning. The two tall buildings you see center, are the same two buildings between which we took a picture of the fire a couple of weeks back (notably, the one on the right is Octavius, where we originally got our heart set on moving in). All the way to the right, behind Jamal’s back, is the Nomura building, where our neighbor works. Given, the movie was shot some years back and Hiranandani is evolving at a crazy rate, so there are a few more buildings now Most notably in this picture, there are now three more buildings to the far left. I dare say that had the scene been shot with the camera pointing in the other direction (left) you would have seen the building we live in (I don’t know if it had been built yet, though).

The view from our apartment

The view from our apartment

You can see from this picture the two buildings in the center, the heritage park, the Nomura building, the tiny slum, and the ridge in the background. In addition, you can see the three new buildings on the left. I took this picture out of the window in our bedroom this morning just to illustrate how close the two viewpoints are.

On further scrutiny we gathered where the picture was originally taken. I can’t really decide which of the two building in the following picture it is, but it has to be one of the two on the right, and my guess is the one in the center, Torino, and that Adonia, on the left hadn’t been built yet, as you can see straight “through” it to the Nomura compound.

Avalon and

Avalon and Torino, with Adonia on the left. This is also a view from our bedroom, only from a window in the other direction.

We thought it was rather fun, so I wanted to share it here:-)

Best regards, Marius

Crazy cat woman

March 5, 2014 at 20:16

So far there haven’t been too many down sides about moving to India. There is one thing, though, and I was prepared for this. I really, really, really miss my cat back home. It’s crazy, I know! But whenever I travel I almost always start missing him. And this is the longest I have been away from him since he was born. We’ve been here for over five weeks now, and I’m already starting to miss home. I miss my friends, family and my house – especially my kitchen! Haha!

Luckily some of our friends and family members are coming to visit us really soon, and we can’t wait! Also, luckily we have Skype!

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Skyping with my cat

So I talked to Gandalf over Skype today. It was so good to see him, and I think he maybe recognised my voice. Haha. But then again, that’s the crazy cat lady in me talking. Anyways, it was good to see that he was happy and healthy at home. My mom, dad and brother have been taken good care of him – so thanks for that!

Other than this I’m so happy about living in Mumbai. We have made some really good friends, we eat great food and we experience amazing things in our daily lives. So far it has just been a life changing experience, and we enjoy Mumbai everyday. Of course, some days we really miss our friends and family back home – but then we remember that we’re only going to be away for six months. On top of that we are lucky enough to get visitors in March, April and June – and we are so very grateful for that! We can’t wait to experience India with our family and best friends!

And for my cat, he will be forced to listen to the crazy cat lady-voice through my brothers iPad for the next few months.

- Andrea

JASHN 2014!

March 4, 2014 at 17:53

This weekend was a weekend of festivals. Following our trip to Suvarna Temple on Thursday, we headed to Capgemini’s own festival on Saturday. It’s for employees and their families only, and it gathered an impressive 16.000 people in an outdoor complex in Bandra, a little south of where we live. Quite the contrast to the max 150 people that Capgemini-parties in Norway gather! To think that they host these types of parties at every major city Capgemini is represented in makes the whole idea mind-numbingly huge. There were fashion shows and talent competitions with singing and dancing, all with only Capgemini-employees on the stage – apart from the two hosts – one guy who is a Bollywood actor and a girl who is an anchor on a TV-station here.

The stage.

The stage.

Another thing there was an abundance of, apart from people, was foooood. They served everything from Sheesh-kebab to Chaat to sugar-cane juice. I ate till I was close to exploding, and then we had some ice cream :-)

Pressing sugar canes...

Pressing sugar canes…

... into this refreshing beverage.

… into this refreshing beverage.

Sunset at Jashn

Sunset at Jashn

After the sun set, we decided to head on to a bar, as it was our Indian friend’s birthday. We headed in a cab, south, towards Worli, along with two Indian friends and another Norwegian colleague of mine who is here to work for a month, driving over the bridge that connects Bandra and Worli. Of course we went Indian-style, with six people in a taxi. We even got pulled over, but our Indian friends told the police that we were tourists just looking to see the city, and they let us go without any hiccups:-)

The gang who notoriously raided Mumbai on Saturday.

The gang who notoriously raided Mumbai on Saturday.

The choice for club fell on Hard Rock Cafe where we had some more food(!) and beers (and unfortunately, tequila). After this, we headed around the corner from there to Shiro, a club which we, funnily enough, got thrown out of the last time we were in Mumbai. It is a semi-formal club, and the last time we were there, we were actually looking for Hard Rock Cafe, which of course is around the corner. But that time, we thought that Shiro was the place (it’s rather poorly marked and signs are pretty non-existent). We were told at the door that we weren’t properly dressed to go in, and as such had to leave. We though it was kind of strange, as we had never heard of a dress code to get into HRC, but I remember us thinking that “Oh well, India is a strange place after all!” Haha! We did find out at a later date though, courtesy of our taxi driver, back then, where the actual entrance to HRC was.

Anyway, we danced the night away at Shiro – which is sort of strange for me, as I don’t really dance – but hey, that’s what tequila is for, right? After Andrea had, unsuccessfully, tried to wing man our friend into hooking up with what we found out was a bride-to-be at her bachelorette party, we decided enough was enough, and headed out for some more fun. We took a taxi even further south, past Haji Ali Mosqué, and to Marine Drive, where we jumped of and went for a nice night-stroll. Along the way, these guys with huge cans of chai on the back of their bikes sold us some hot refreshment, and we bought some fresh fruits from some kids. I almost choked, as I found out they put spices on the fruits. Like, really, really, really spicy spices. After walking around for a while, we decided to say good night to South Mumbai and Nariman Point and head on home to hit the pillow sleeping.

Best regards. Marius