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Posts Tagged ‘ICT’

Monday 24th February 2014

Kites

I’m not sure how much of this I will get to finish before we set off home on Wednesday, but I need to mention the Kites. I’m not entirely sure what it is I want to say about them, but each day their presence amazes me.

I am talking about the birds, not the ‘go fly a‘ kites. These magnificent birds used to be a rare site in the UK, Red Kites in Wales were especially rare, but here they are everywhere. There must be hundreds overhead, constantly swooping and surfing the thermals. This entire area is urban, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of open land, yet here they are over India’s third largest city in numbers matching the starlings I remember from my Huddersfield youth.

I think they are Black Kites, but I think I’ve seen red ones amongst them. The are beautiful. There is a flock of them (do kites flock?) over UB City, just a short way away.

Disparity

There is obvious disparity between this magnificent edifice (I suspect there are places like it in Dubai, I’ve certainly seen similar in Muscat) and the surrounding area. [read] Where we are based is not one of the rougher areas of Bangalore, yet the pavements are cracked, broken and dirty. The roadsides are dusty and often piled with rubbish, the odd beggar appears from nowhere when we walk past, but as we walk closer to UB City, the pavements improve (a little) and there is less evidence of obvious poverty.

The 10-20 minute drive to our training venue takes us through some of the more ‘Indian’ areas and these seem to be vibrant places with roadside stalls, small businesses, banks, shops and animals. We’ve seen monkeys, cows, squirrels and chipmunks around here, something we never see around our hotel.

No matter where we are though the roads are a thrusting river of noise and chaos.

Wednesday 26th February

I’m up now and almost ready for the car to take us to the airport for our return flight. The last two weeks seem to have flown past quickly and in some ways it would be nice to stay on longer and learn more about Indian life. My abiding memory will be the traffic noise and chaos, describing it really is beyond words. You need to experience it – do it if you can.

I am looking forward to getting home and to having a proper cup of tea however 🙂

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Friday 14th February 2014

Motorbikes

Well, I’m here now.

We arrived this morning about 20 minutes early, just after 4.30am. The airport here in Bangalore is half new and half not-so-old, so you are not overly aware that you have arrived in India for a while. Quite a while as it happened, because the luggage was only very slowly sent up to the baggage collection area.

We finally set off into Bangalore (via hotel car) at 6:00am.

My room is gorgeous, yet by the time we got to the Hotel St. Marks, all I wanted to do was unpack very very slowly, and to sleep – and not too soundly – for a while. Following a light buffet lunch in the restaurant (we’d wanted snacks but … well, an Indian buffet was all that was available) the rest of our afternoon was spent exploring the locality, planning and training (me) for tomorrow. We stayed in-house for our evening meal – another Indian feast and the odd Kingfisher Beer.

Saturday 15th February 2014

We’d had a couple of walks yesterday, so actually starting work today wasn’t too big a shock. I did get to see more of the city though, as the journey to our training venue was about 20 minutes long. I didn’t see too many of the expected cows or monkeys today but there were a couple just outside the venue – which is just a little more suburban (run down).

Our trainees are young (compared to me 🙂 adults, all wanting to mark exam scripts for the host company here. Alison and I are tasked to train them in the use of specific online marking software and all associated skills. They are a lovely bunch of people with excellent English and a very cosmopolitan outlook. We have tried to help them understand the learners who are being tested – in this case level 1 students studying FS ICT. We have explained that the students do not always have the best numeracy or literacy skills in the world and that it is just as likely that English is not the student’s first language. Hence, there are lots of things to explain, which we suspect will take all of the time we are here.

Sunday 16th February 2014

Today was much the same as yesterday except I saw a lot more cows, and a chipmunk! The cows are amazing. Traffic gives way (mostly stops) for them, which is something it tends not to do for other traffic – see this video clip. They just wander around where they like and no one bats an eye. The biggest surprise to me is that they look exactly like the cows we see in farmers’ fields (rather than ones like this).

Saturday night’s food was amazing. I had a vegetable talis (Alison had chicken tandoori) in the hotel restaurant – both were excellent. Two colleagues arrived from England today too – to cover English. We all enjoyed yet another Indian meal (buffet this time) in the hotel restaurant.

The packed lunch on both days was a vegetarian curry box – more curry! They were nice, but I’m already a bit overfed with curry right now.

We’re avoiding the salads and some fruits but right now I’d love a nice juicy steak with chips.  Mmmm.

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Thursday 13th February 2014

Photo on 2014-02-13 at 10.44So, I’m en route to Bangalore now. I’m sat relaxing in the BA ‘business’ lounge at Manchester Airport. I’ve got a coffee, an apple and a packet of crisps to tide me by and all is well with the world.

It wasn’t like that yesterday though.

I’d left it until yesterday to do some last minute form filling, updating my accounts and, well, packing J. It wasn’t the nicest of days – in fact it was amongst the worst this country has seen http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-26169252 and there was a real fear that simply getting to the airport would be impossible. Alison, with whom I’m travelling and working  over the next two weeks, was even more affected than me.

I spent the day switching between packing, office work and thinking. I was thinking about what to pack, what I’d forgotten, what the next two weeks would bring, and after Sharon rang about 9:15am, about how it never rains but it pours (no weather pun intended). Someone wants to view our house at 9:00am Thursday (today). Exactly the time we need to be on the road to the airport. The same thing happened in summer, just as we’d left for our trip to France. What is it with people searching for houses (especially those few that are interested in our magnificent 4-bed detached in Golcar)?

So that left another thing to stress over – Grrr.

I packed a medium sized case (I’m allowed 2 x 23kg – thank you City and Guilds) and two on-board bags, so I put my hated PC laptop in one on-board bag and my Mac in the other: Sorted. Then I thought better of that and put the hated PC laptop in a laptop bag and moved EVERYTHING into one big suitcase (thinking it would be easier) until I weighed it (approx 23.25kg). Then (remember that besides packing, I was ‘thinking’) I decided that my original plan of medium case plus on-board bags would be better because A) – it’s bloody cold here and (apparently) bloody hot in Bangalore – so I need somewhere to put my hat, coat and wellies once I get to Heathrow J and B) – there is no B.

So – I’m on my way.

Now, there seems to be a fully stocked unmanned bar available just over there – do you think it’s too early?

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