Tuesday, March 31, 2009

¡ʎɐp sןooɟ ןıɹdɐ ʎddɐɥ

˙sǝʇɐpdn ƃuıpuǝd ʎɯ ןןɐ ǝʇıɹʍ puɐ uʍop ʇıs oʇ ǝɯıʇ ǝɯos ʇǝƃ ןןıʍ ı ʎןןnɟǝdoɥ 's,ı ƃuıʇʇop puɐ s,ʇ ƃuıssoɹɔ 'pɐqɐɹǝpʎɥ uı ʎɐp ʇsɐן ʎɯ sı ʎɐpoʇ

Monday, March 30, 2009

Goa by motorcycle

Scott and I are in agreement that riding motorcycles through the hills, the towns and the beaches of Goa is probably the most kickass thing either of us has done.

Tonight, riding back home full throttle past paddy fields with the sunsetting was too cool. :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Quick Update

So I am done with classes at ISB (and probably my MBA since the Sales and Marketing class at Queen's looks like more work than I feel like taking on right now). :D

The last week was a bit of a blur with 5 assignments and exams in 5 days. Things were a little hectic but I got through it. The toughest thing was adjusting to the team working style here which is quite different - this was also compliciated by the fact that most people here are relatively checked out mentally regarding clases since it is their last term, and people are frustrated and worried about the recruiting process.

Yesterday after I submitted my final exam in Strategic Innovation I went to Goa with Scott and another exchange student named Jed who is from Wharton. We stayed in a hotel in Panjim that cost us $3 each so you can imagine how shitty it was. :P

today we moved to Anjuna beach, where we stay for three days, which is pretty sweet thus far.

I'll give a more full update on the last two weeks, including pics, once I am back at ISB Wednesday before I fly back.

Can't wait to get home (but enjoying a well-earned vacation). :)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Kerala Part 1 of 2

So I am going to do a quick post about Kerala that I partly wrote on Thursday and Friday. The second part will probably come later in the week since I am about to enter the week of DOOM. I have 4 assignments due in 4 days and then an exam on Friday. :O FYI I have much better videos than stills of everything but I seriously don't have time to do any video editing right now.

So without further ado, Kerala:

Scott and I planned out a trip to Kerala this weekend, the plan was a little thrown together but we knew we wanted to do the backwaters and see a little bit around Cochin. The trip to Cochin was pretty uneventful, security was a little tighter than back home, but nothing ridiculous, like most places if you are from North America and you look like you know what you are doing you can get away with anything. One strange thing is that you can't enter the airport without a boarding pass - in the era of e-tickets its kind of a pain, you need to go to a little bulet proof-glass window and semi check-in.

Since security was easier than expected we chilled out in an airport bar and had a few Kingfishers - nice and frosty and a great way to start the weekend.

The flight was quick - just over an hour and we were there. Only item of note on the flight is that there were a few Caucasian toddlers on the plane which made me miss Daniel. :(

Using my left-over starwood points from consulting we booked a room for Le Meridian in Cochin for Friday night. We had a boat booked for the backwaters on Friday and we were going to figure out the rest of the weekend ad hoc.

The service at the hotel was amazing (except for the travel desk as outlined below) and the room was nice

The view from our room - Scotty and I hit the swim up bar on the Sunday.

After checking in and sorting out some troubles with the reservation we went for some food; Scott hot the lobster bisque and a palliata pasta with crab meat. I got a tasty thai specialty of fried fish in a brown sauce with rice. The s was impeccable - the guy actual would spoon more on to my plate every few minutes unprompted.

We needed to book a taxi for the next day to the back water boat cruise we were going to take. The setup itself was sketchy, it was through an acquaintance at ISB. We had the contact person Eve's email address and phone number, she gave us directions that we were supposed to go to Aleppi and then call a phone number and then this dude would pick us up and drive us to the boat cruise 8km away, Scott and I though for sure we would be killed. :P

Anyways we needed to figure out HOW to get Aleppi so we talked to the travel desk which books all the hotel taxis. Essentially they tried to screw us over with a quote of 3500 rupees which is the equivalent of nearly $100, so we told him that was ridiculous and that it was only 1 1/2 hours away and that the cab from the airport (which is 1/2 an hour away) was only 600 rupees. When we complained he said he would give us a 10% discount, which we said wasn't nearly enough. We then asked what other options there were. Apparently there is a bus that goes directly to Aleppi and it leaves from right outside the hotel, we asked how much: 35 rupees (!). "So the bus is 100 times less expensive than a cab?" "Yes". It turned out though that the bus is not air condtioned and the thought of being in the Kerala humidity stacked to the rafters for 90 minutes did not seem appealing. That compounded with the fact that we needed a phone to call our mystery contact made that choice more difficult. After some chatting with another dude the guy came back and said they could get us a 'small' car with AC for 2100 rupees. Scott thought it was a lot but it works out to $50. I told him that we were going for 90 minutes and that I pay that much for taxi from downtown to my house at yonge/sheppard so with that perspective and the ability to use the cabbies phone we were golden. Aside: our return cab from the cruise was only 1000 rupees - this was not the last time the travel desk would screw us either - and this is in the hotel I am staying in and am a Platinum guest of. :O This was also the first of MANY times we had to barter for stuff over the course ofthe weekend - by the end I was mentally exhausted.

After enjoying the very nice continental breakfast of the hotel complete with donuts and chocolate croissants and exquisite Indian service we took the cab the next morning to Allepi without incident - the cabbie ended up driving us right to the docks after getting directions from our contact. The actual docks are in a weird nondescript place under a bridge that you would never think to look for. When we saw the boats though we were quite excited, they were AMAZING. While waiting for our boat we walked along the built up area between the water and the rice patties. Two children walked up to us and began asking for something. I couldn't quite make it out at first, but then realized they were asking for PENS. Kerala is a VERY progressive state with a near 100% literacy rate. All the children rather than asking for money will ask foreigners for pens. We said sorrry, but then I realized that just coincidently I DID have a pen in my pocket and gave it to the boy, the girl looked very dissappointed. We had been told about the pen thing a few days before we left but we TOTALLY forgot and we both felt like total D0bags for not bringing a box of them.

Scott and I kept on thinking that these were just showboats and we would have some clunker in the back that was rat infested or something. Instead we got THE BEST AND BIGGEST BOAT THERE.

Ours is the one in the middle. :)

This thing was FANTASTIC. Two bedrooms, air conditioning in the rooms, private bathrooms EACH. A dining room and an upstairs lounge. Just SICK.

To top it off we have a staff of four at our beck and call bringing us drinks, cooking out food, it is an opulence that I have never had before. I can get use to it. After sitting upstairs and knocking back a few Kingfishers (brought to us by one of the four staff we had serving us) we had a nice Kerala style lunch with fried fish (The WHOLE fish) with Kerala rice (which are HUGE) and a vegetable curry.

Life is tough.

After lunch we just laid back upstairs and let the world pass by, extremely relaxing and awesome.

After chilling upstairs we went for a backwater small boat tour. It was really surreal on the small boat, you are basically driving right past people homes and backyeards and both Scott and I felt unfcomfortable taking pictures of people like they were in a zoo, a reservation not shared by many of the other foreigners in our boat. It was really cool
though because you are REALLY off the reservation and you get to see some rural life in Kerala.

(The communist party is huge in Kerala and one of the reasons the literacy rate is so high)

More children were asking for pens and Scott and I tried to shut out their pleading little voices. :(

One little girl kept following our boat dressed in a school uniform and the woman in front of us was wanting to throw here a pen, the driver of the boat though didn't understand when we told him to stop so the girl had to keep running to follow us. Finally the woman through the pen but it landed it this kind of mucky peat that people build up beside the river. The girl got the pen but her shoe got stuck getting it - I felt so bad for her. She got out though and seemed very happy with her pen. (I have video of this, but again I will do those probably when I get back from India since I have no time right now)

Back at the boat Scott and I continued to chill, the boat then drove for about 1/2 an hour and then docked for the night at the side of the biggest lake in Kerala, a stiff breeze meant the boat was rocking strongly, but it died down with sunset. After docking a bunch of the staff from the different boats had a big volleyball game.

We were invited to join by one of the staff on our boat but Scott and I were going to join but it was overcrowded as it was so we went for a walk along the shore. After checking out some other boats and walking threw a rice paddy we came back as the sun was setting to chill out upstairs and watch the stars.

We then had another great meal consisting of an AWESOME cream of chicken soup rice, potatoes and caulliflower, curried chicken and lentils we called it an evening and went to bed - at 9:00PM!!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Grades at ISB

So besides all the traveling and blog writing I am actually do a lot of school work. By popular request here is a school-centric blog entry.

So the grading at ISB turns out to be a little weird. For my Green Technology and Sustainable Enterprise or GTSE (which I pronouce goatse - DO NOT GOOGLE THAT - you have been warned.) Anyways, I got my mark for class participation and it was knda low at 8.6 out of 12.5, now considering I talk more than anyone else (surprise!) and make lots of good points (I think anyways) that seemed on the low end of things. It turns out the class average is 4.8 out of 12.5 and he just going to bell everything at the end- wtf? On my two assignments I have done much better with the last one I got 11/12, but the class average was 7. So right now the class average is pretty much failing but I have an 80, which seems kinda dumb.

Class participation or CP as they call it here, makes up a sizable portion of the grades here - usually about 25% of you grade. Scott and I have both figured out though that it is simply a game - you make a point in class and the Academic Assistant (like a TA) checks your name, make two or more and you are in the upper third of the class. The problem with this system is that a LOT of people make points that are irrelevant or non-value added and it eats into precious lecture time. It does encourage otherwise quiet people to contribute though so I am not sure how I feel about it overall. I find for myself that if I do the readings and the case (and even if I don't do the readings really) then I have some points to make.

It turns out that I have gained a reputation around school for my class participation here at ISB (good as it turns out). When another student complained about their mark apparently they were told to be more like me. :P I was also given feedback from a friend here that everyone appreciates the work I am putting into the readings etc., but I don't really feel like I am doing too much (compared to the last couple months at Queens when I was loaded).

Turning to marketing Scott and I got our marks back on our papers which we both felt were pretty substandard work for us. Regardless we both got clear As, well ahead of the class average, with Scotty edging me out by a nose. The other courses I have no idea where I stand right now, but I think I am doing ok.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Weekend happenings

This past week has been a blur and time seems to be accelerating towards our trip back.

Saturday was a SECOND Holid Day. This was the official one sanctioned by the school so less Bhang but a HELL of a lot more paint - this t time they were in buckets and people were flinging. I felt that I had already done it Wednesday so I went with Scott just to check it out, but next thing I know I am covered in paint again. :P

Even though it was 1 1/2 hours after it was supposed to start there weren't nearly as many people as last time, and the people that were there I didn't know well. Scott and I decided to leave after a bit to grab some lunch, he went back but I went home to watch some TV and nap (after showering of course - this time things came out a lot easier). Apparently the scene picked up afterwards because when I saw Scott again he looked like this:

That night we went out to a club called Touch around 10:30 - the cover was 3,000 Rupees, which is about $75(!). Luckly one of the other exchange students Erika, had got us on the guest list. Still the drinks were EXPENSIVE - I paid more than I want to admit for Scott and I to have a Red Bull and Vodka each. The club itself was interesting; pretty small by club standards, but well put together. It had an all-white theme, with some interesting things in it. For example people were smoking Hookah a lot more than they were drinking. There was also a pointless ice bar with a security guard standing outside.

We all danced, but the music was a little too techno for my liking (the bass was so strong that my shirt was moving). Crazily the club closed at 12:30 - only 1 1/2 hours after we got there. :O can't get used to these early nights out even though I am thankful the next morning. ;)

Sunday night we went to the infamous Barbeque Nation, which is a haven for most of the exchange students here. It's an all-you-eat meat restaurant not unlike Fogo De Chao. with table with slots in them for little barbeque modules with coals. The waiters then keep bringing you skewers of meat, or veggies that you warm up over the heat until you lower your flag.

I skipped lunch in preparation and had hunger pains on the way to the restaurant. I ate more meat than I ever have in my life and felt like my stomach was going to explode at the end. As Scott said looking at my distended belly - "I didn't know you and Trish were having a second" :P

The price was right too - only 450 rupees for EVERYTHING. That is about $11. AWESOME. We may make it a once a week deal - at the very least we are going to hit it again before we leave.

Today I got back to the grindstone with classes. I now have only 3 classes left for most of my courses - I really can't believe it. Still I have 6 assignments left (4 group ones) that I need to get done over the next 10 days, with a trip to Kerala this weekend it's going to be tough.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Nagarjuna Sagar Part II - Monkey Attack!

Alright I am probably overselling the monkey attack angle a little. :P

So after we left the dam we went to the Ettipotala waterfalls which are about 15 miles away. The waterfalls were pretty nice, there was also a full moon above them and a blood red sun to the west very neat.

Little video here.

The wildest thing (no pun intended) were the awesome little monkeys that were begging for food around the lookout point of the waterfall. Not shy at all. They looked so cute and friendly - what little did we know! ;)

We walked around the grounds a little bit and took in the sights, which included some awesome music being played , and a little street cricket.

As the sun starting going down we wanted to take the stairs down to the base of the waterfall. As we started our decent into madness we had to enter through this foreboding arch which should have scared us away.

As we continued to throw caution to the wind a final stark warning was given:

I can only assume this sign means beware of rabid monkeys who will eat your brains, abandon all hope ye who enter here. If anyone has an actual translation that would be very cool.

Then we saw the fearsome guardian of the path:

We felt that though imposing we could perhaps pass by relatively undetected, that is until he brought some friends.

And some more friends

and some more friends

and then they started to walk towards us

and get closer

and closer


Watch the fearsome video here.

When we escaped the monkeys we headed back to the bus to wait for the others, after a few more close monkey calls, and avoiding a scary old woman, we were finally able to make it back to the bus for our 4+ hour bus ride home.

Back in Hyderbad we sought to end Scotty's fast with a well deserved McChicken™ Sandwich (or two) but were denied when we found it closed. Deserted by our rickshaw driver outside a scary-after-sunset Hyderabad Center Mall (complete with a five year old boy and girl trying to sell us mint candies at midnight -wtf?) an awesome good Samaritan kid who just wanted to get a job at Infosys helped us get a cab back to ISB.

After eating a Chicken Tikka Super Sandwich from Coffee Day I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

Nagarjuna Sagar Part I of II

Okay as promised here is my update of our Nagarjuna Sagar day. Only 6 days late. :P

FYI you can find all the photos of this day here.

So last weekend Scott and I were looking for a day trip on Sunday off campus, we had wanted a full weekend trip but the police station shennigans killed that idea. :(

We looked at what was within reach of day that seemed pretty interesting and found Nagarjuna Sagar which is a large dam and reservoir with a collection of ancient Buddhist relics.

We called up the APTDC - Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation - to buy tickets for the day tour, which was only about $15 including bus to and from the area and entrance to a waterfall site nearby. They told us we couldn't bur or reserve over the phone and that there were only two tickets left so we couldn't just show up the next day and expect seats. We therefore had to get an autorickshaw and head into town and they were closing in an hour.


The driver couldn't understand where we wanted to go and he couldn't read the map of the city. We did get him to agree to 600 rupees both ways - or so we thought (see later). He took us on a nice tour of the city COMPLETELY the wrong way, when we finally got to APDTC it was 15 minutes after closing, but because India time works a little differently - things start later than scheduled and end later ;) - they were still open.

We got our tickets and the rickshaw driver took us a more direct route home thankfully. Unfortunately when we finally got back he wanted more than the 600 we had agreed - awkward. Scott and I finally just had to walk away after paying him - but he followed us until we went to the ISB front desk.

So the next day we hired a real taxi who got us there in only 25 minutes versus the one hour the night before. When we finally got on the bus, which of course left 45 minutes late, the bus was half empty (!). Arghhhhh.

So the bus ride was fine, there was no AC but there were thick sheets covering the windows. One annoyance was that the seats reclined WAAAAYYYY back so the person in front was like on your lap. :( I slept most of the way there so I didn't really care. About halfway to Nagarjuna Sugar we stopped in a little town for what I guess was a late brunch. The only discernable restaurant was pretty sketchy so I decided to just eat some cookies I brought. Scott decided to begin a fast that would last the whole day. ;) The town itself was pretty tiny and probably the most destitute I have ever been to: there was garbage on the side of the road and goats just walking around or taking naps. Pretty interesting for sure.

Scott and I ventured back and discovered everyone from the tour was waiting for us - whoops! - and we were on our way again. Think I feel asleep again after doing some of my readings for school. We finally got to the dam and stopped at a little hotel that had some amazing views for lunch.

I decided to brave the buffet but Scotty continued his hunger strike, now more determined than ever. The food was tasty but I suspected I was pushing my luck (luckily I wasn't). Scott and I bought bottled pepsis that looked like they were from the 70's - Scotty didn't recognize the bottle opener on the machine which made me realize our age difference. :P

The vista from the hotel was great - the scale of the reservoir was hard to make out due to the haze - until I realized the tiny little dots on the water were boats. There was also some interesting wildlife just walking around the grounds including a boar and a MONKEY (if I only knew - see later).

After lunch we went by the dam to the ferry station to get on the boat to go to the island with the Buddhist museum and artifacts. The ferry launch area was really cool - there was a beach where hundreds of people were washing clothes by lashing them across the rocks and various ceremonies involving water - no idea what they meant but they looked cool).

On the boat w spoke with a nice older Indian couple from London who gave us a pretty thorough history of Hindu spiritualism, pretty interesting and insightful. The boat ride was probablt another 1/2 hour and when we finally got to the Island Scott and I began to realize how remote we really were. At this point we had been traveling for about 4+ hours and it was already near to 3:00PM (!).

We also were the only non-Desi people within 20 miles. People who stare at us or try to say hello in very broken English, it was really cool actually. There were a bunch of school children on a class trip of some sort who seemed very facinated with us. I really started to get the impression that they hadn't seen very many (if any) white people before. Scott and I decided to ditch our tour guide, whom we couldn't understand, and explore the island on our own. The one major bummer was that we only had an hour (!) to see the whole island and the museum - not nearly enough time. :( The island was like a little oasis, with lots of flowers, grass, plants etc. Essentially the island used to be a large hill in the valley that was flooded by the dam, before the flooding occurred they relocated and recreated most of the many Buddhist ruins up onto the hill/island. Very cool stuff.

We checked out the museum, which was interesting but less so then the actual island itself so we blitzed it and went back out. I then braved the bathroom and we were off again.

We ventured to the west end of the island and were approached by a group of young guys who were fascinated with us. One asked to have his picture taken with us and his friend pulled out this awesome 1980s looking manual advance camera that was HUGE. Then about 4 more guys each came in, one at a time. I felt like a celebrity it was hilarious. Once everyone was done we moved on to see some more ruins, pretty cool but I wish I had more time. :(

It was time to go so we headed back to the boat, not nearly enough time to see everything which was a real disappointment. :(

Hilariously our boat pulled away from the dock when they realized they had left some of the school children behind. :O We redocked to pick them up and we were on our way.

Even though it was pretty bright when we left the island the sun sets REALLY fast here so there was an awesome sunset back at the ferry landing when we got back. Most of the laundry washing was done at this point and people were mainly there for leisure, diving off the rocks into the water etc. it was a very cool visual:

With that we were done with the dam, but we were still going to go to the waterfall - hopefully the sun would last.

Next chapter: When Monkeys Attack!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


(I was going to call this post "Holy Holi Batman", but I am a little gun-shy about names now. :P )

Today we celebrated the Indian festival of Spring - Holi, where you paint friends and strangers in different colours, get wet, wish everyone happy Holi, hug, dance, drink Bhang (google it - I am not going to post a link - you will understand once you do), and have essentially an awesome time. :)

I have uploaded some pics here

We are supposed to 'officially' do it again on Saturday. This celebration occurred during class and was not sanctioned by the school (had to skip a class to go but it was totally worth it.)

Update: fixed a spelling error.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Blog Delay

Hey everyone.

Just wanted to let you know that things will probably a little quiet on the blog for a couple days. I want to do justice to our day trip on Sunday, but I have a mid-term report and exam this Thursday and Friday and a couple team things to do.

So I probably will give a big update Friday night and then another on Sunday after we celebrate Holi. :)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Quick Update

So I don't have time for a full post, but just a quickie on what we did today.

Scott and I were bored of campus so we went to Nagarjuna Sagar to check out the dam, some ancient Buddhist relics and a waterfall.

The sites were okay but the trip there was LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG. It took 4+ hours there and 4+ back, even though it was only 150KM away. The bus also left45 mins late so we only had an hour at the Nagarjuna island to check out the museum and the sites. Again it was really cool, but there is no way we would have done it if we knew the time cost. Incidentally the monetary cost was rediculously cheap. All told it was something like $500 rupees (about $13) each for transportation to and from the dam, a ferry to the island, admittance to the museum and lunch.

There is a LOT more to the story that I will hopefull update tomorrow or the next day with photos and video. Including one where we were almost killed by wild Monkeys - or at least feared that we would be.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Bureaucracy Part II

I am at a point now where things are really the new normal. Flying around in traffic almost getting side-swiped, byranni and dosa for breakfast, peacocks outside my door, these are daily events that leave me calm.

I am _beginning_ to approach the bureacracy here the same way. Yesterday Scott and I had to get our residency slips and register with the local police. Now we need to do this only because the person that filled out or visa's in Canada screwed it up and added a SINGLE extra say so we are at 181 days vs. 180. We didn't want this or ask for it. We are leaving the country WELL before the 180 days would be up, and both us, the school and the police know this, but I digress.

So anyways we have to deal with it, and that's fine. We go to the station - via my first autorickshaw which makes driving even more exhiliration, but as I said - it's the new normal. It was however interesting when the driver decided to take a short-cut to the police station by DRIVING ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD for about 1/2 a mile.

At the station we are shuffled from waiting area to waiting area. Finally we meet the police chief who berates the ISB chaperon that many students fail to de-register (oh yeah did I mention we have to go back and do this again :P). I got a little crap for having a passport that expires before my visa would be up but I told him I was leaving April 4 anyways so he was totally cool with that. All in all the chief seemed like a pretty cool guy.

Then we wait for the next step which is the processing of our docs etc. Scott and I just get started through this process - they took our pictures and were beginning to enter our data when there is a power failure - arghhh.

After 1 hour we are finally told it will be 4 more hours before power is returned so we decided to go back to school, but we stopped at Subway for a little snack first.

The day thus becomes a 'Time Vampire' as Scott refered to it. IT killed any chance we really had of going anywhere this weekend, and the whole thing is utterly pointless since neither of us wants or needs this residency thing.

So we go back again at 4:00 and are processed for another 45 mins or so. Again we would get shuffled from this seat to another seat for seemingly no reason, but Scott and I both approached it from the point of view of just tell me where to go and what to do.

The amount of paperwork and duplication we saw was also mind numbing. As Scott said it felt like the DMV - except, I pointed, out that everyone is speaking Hindi so you don't know what people are debating or checking or discussing which just makes it more confusing.

Finally the main guy takes this form we filled out and tears the bottom off - this is a form I printed off the net and not officially looking at all really - and hands it to me. I am done.

What the form is for or what I can do with it I have no idea.

Globalization at it's best: Karaoke in a British Style Pub in India

Okay so Thursday night was my first venture into Hyderabad's night life and it was a blast.

Scott and I were going to do an Italian dinner but were having some difficulty finding the location and calling a cab. While trying to do both of these we ran into some other students who were heading in for some Karaoke and I suggested to Scott a tag along and we agreed to crash the party.

8 of us piled in clown-car style into a taxi van and headed in to the city. The traffic is actually WORSE at night than during the day so it took a long time to get there. As apparently the norm here we paid the cabby to wait for us THE ENTIRE TIME WE WERE IN THE BAR to then drive us home or the next location. It still worked out to something like $5 each. God I love India.

Anyways the bar itself was a pretty interesting, it was called 10 Downing Street and looked like a British Pub, only more loungey with a slightly 70s feel. Not as much of a tourist trap than I thought it would be, probably partly attributable to the fact that it is pretty impossible to find. We order a few pitchers of Kingfishers and were off to the races. The group was an interesting mix of people: 2 Dutch, 2 Canadian, 4 Indians, 1 American and a Taiwanese. The food was fun-house miror American as well as Indian. The 'American Style' fried chicken was unlike any style I have seen - thinly sliced and breaded with a hot pickle sauce on the side - tasty as hell but too small a portion.

Karaoke was a blast - I totally sold up Scotty as a wringer and he he came through on his performance of I think Matchbox 20 or Rob Thomas. My sad contribution was a duet with a nice girl name Teena singing Annie's Song by John Denver. The DJ mercifully turned our mics down and pumped the supporting vocals. :)

Near the end of the night we did a big group sing of "Summer of 69" by Bryan Adams and I had one of those where the f--- am I moments?

Singing Karaoke of a Canadian Song in a British-Style Pub in the south of India.

Welcome to the future.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hyderpad Tour Part V - The Final Battle

Alright if you get the title of the blog you rock - can't believe they are remaking that thing. :P

So while we were daunted by Golconda Fort it was totally amazing and of course beautiful. The fort had been the original power centre of Hyderabad before a drought forced the then ruler to relocate to the banks of the river near Hyderabad. FYI the Charminar and market were meant to lure people there.

For the most part the pictures of the fort speak for themselves but I will give a little background.

Initially I felt that we would just do a little quick tour of the fort and then motor back to ISB, but Scott was gung ho to go to the top. I played it by ear but the hill looked pretty high from the bottom. :P

As we made out way through the fort we went into an interior portion of the fort, you could a hundred little squeaks of bats in the darkness that would periodically catch in the light. I could never time the photo right to get an image of this unfortunately. :( I also opted to not pay the extra money to bring my video camera - which was the right cal ultimately considering the stills I got.

So the dark corridors opened up into a neat pavilion, as in a lot of places in India there was a metal detector that was totally unused here.

This was the make or break point when Scott convinced me to do the climb and we left Marcel and his ankle behind. We told our guide we weren't going to be stopping until we reached the top.

The climb wasn't too bad, but it was a little rocky. It was also REALLY dry and hot I had a parched mouth. I saw water on the way up, but it was more of a tease as I did not trust it at all:

The view on the way up was great and the one from the top was pretty spectacular, of the fort and also the city. There was also a nice breeze here which was welcomed in the heat.

The water again however was a tease:

There were also these cute little chipmunk-y things at the top - very cute and very fast.

After taking a rest at the top we went down the second set of stairs which are pretty scary. Not only are they slippery but over the years the rocks have shiften so they are tilted downwards away from you as you decend. I almost fell once and then took my time.

Once we got down we did a little more touring of the fort, I was on pretty shaky legs by then, and our guide gave us some interesting tidbits of the fort, including a portcullis that was designed to make it impossible to throw a dagger at the king while he rendered judgement.

We were all ready to go and were waiting for our cab when I saw this thing on the other side of the road. Goat? Dog?

So ends of one of the busiest and funnest days of my life. :)