Archive for March, 2008

Singapore

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

My sister Yasmin was in town so we stopped off here on our way back to India. I didn’t expect much from Singapore, but it is a fascinating little country. I read this 4.5 million populated island is a tourist friendly destination which attracts 10 million tourists a year (compared to India’s 5 million) and has heavy fines for petty crimes like littering, spitting on the street or being drunk in public.

However I didn’t know how very capitalistic the country is. The lazy don’t survive here. Students are closely monitored and any slip in performance means they can only work in skilled labor rather than pursuing higher education. This has produced a very developed city (the most developed I’ve ever been to) with intellectual based industries at the forefront of the economy.

Our main aim to hit the beach in Sentosa island. We met up with a few relatives and KT Tunstall was also in town, the gig which was decent. It was noticeable to see the number of ex-pats at the concert who I assume must live and work in Singapore.

Sentosa
Siloso beach, Sentosa

Skyline
Singapore skyline – that’s Yasmin

KT Tunstall
KT Tunstall

Hong Kong

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

Next stop was Hong Kong. The main aim was “To get high in Macau. 100% natural high!” – this was is marketing slogan used by the bungy jumping company AJ Hackett who operate the world highest bungee jump (at 233 metres) on top of Macau Tower, and hour ferry from mainland Hong Kong. We paid for three jumps, the first at full price and the next two half price. The fourth jump was free!

Hong Kong itself was a great city: bustling, neon lights everywhere, tall buildings, large street TV screens at every other turn and a very reasonable but contemporary underground system that even has mobile phone reception. The local people we met were very nice. For example, Andrew and I went into a sushi restaurant and within seconds we met two locala who about 15 minutes later insisted on buying us some ‘meat fish balls’ from a street vendor.

Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee statue

Macau Tower
Macau Tower

Bungy!
Backward bungy jump

The Peak
The Peak

Locals
Some friendly locals we met

Bangkok

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

Andrew & I decided to go on a trip to the Far East. First stop was Bangkok. The main aim was to pet tigers. We also ended up seeing temples, a floating market, held snakes and watched Thai boxing bouts.

tn_far-east-trip-080.jpg
Temples in Bangkok

Thai Boxing
Thai Boxing

Floating market
Floating Market

Holding Snakes
Holding snakes

Petting tigers
Petting tigers

Petting tiger cubs
Petting tiger cubs

Pune

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

I was in Pune for a week meeting the offshore team. Pune is really hot and dry. The average midday temperature was at least 35 degrees Celsius while there. The city is laid back compared to Mumbai, which is about three hours drive away.

Pune Buildings
Some buildings at the Pune site

Short stay in Chandigarh

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

I didn’t stay long in Chandigarh. The SAP training was intensive and weekends away made time fly by. For all the facilities the site didn’t have compared to Mysore, it definitely made up for with the Indian batch I worked with. They were upbeat, hardworking and generally very well natured.

There were enough little organized events too. There was a singing competition one evening, a few birthday parties another (with the ritual of cake cream going all over the face and rather painfull birthday kicks) and also an ‘ethnic day’ where everyone wore their state’s formal dress which was a nice change from office wear.

Chandigarh itself is a pretty good city, even by western standards. The local cinema is decent and there are plenty of places to dine and easy to get to using an auto rickshaw.

Birthday 1
Chetan’s birthday. Yep, this is what
happens to the birthday boy/girl!

Ethnic day
Ethnic day evening

Farewell
Yep, even I didn’t escape the ‘cake on face’
ritual for an early birthday/farewell party!