Thursday, 31 July 2008

You Have Been Too Long In India When...

I know this is a re-post, but I'm sure many of you haven't seen it before. Also, now I actually might start to consider having been too long in India so the list becomes more relevant anyway :)
So You've been too long in India when...

*You realize that your toothpaste and breakfast taste the same.
* You know "initials" are not the first letters of your first and last name but the first letters of your 4-5 names before family name.
* You can't even think of eating rice and curry with cutlery, because "it's not the same taste"

* You know "short eats" is not a children's movie or an ancient measure.
* You start using the freezer compartment when you realize the fridge is broken.
* You put towels on the floor when you realize the freezer is broken.
* You can't remember the time before instant coffee.
* You don't mind anymore if there's no toilet paper in the washroom.
* You call it a washroom instead of toilet.

* You look right when crossing the street.
* You find apples and oranges to be precious commodities while durian and rambutan are part of your daily diet.
* You don't understand why you need a bed if you have a mattress.
* You scream and shout of happiness when telling your friends you had a chance to watch TV or take a hot shower.
* You think salami and cheese are gifts from heaven.
* You have forgotten how red wine tastes like.

* You think Wickramasinghe or Jayawardene are typical short last names.
* You feel good that you managed to haggle 50 rupees off from a rickshaw ride.
* You use chili sauce and call it tomato sauce; you never say "ketchup" again.
* You start secretly wishing your parents would do the pre-screening of your future spouse.
* You think it's a wonderful thing that a 30+ year old still lives home with his or her parents.
* You think twice before killing a bug; maybe it's better to leave it be and it will go away eventually.

* You express your anger saying "What to do?"
* You express your consent with wiggling your head from side to side.
* You express your disagreement with wiggling your head from side to side.
* You express maybe by saying "sometimes".
* You go to a five-star hotel with your company and prefer to have kiri bath and pol sambol instead of bacon and egg.

* You don't wonder why random people just pop into your house occasionally.
* You want to go and save a cow that is stuck on a green field away from its natural habitat amidst the traffic.
* You go to work three hours late with clear conscience and say "it was raining".
* You announce distance in minutes.
* You write a list of things that show when you have been too long in India

(author unknown)

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

One Nation Under CCTV by Banksy

The great London street art artist 'Banksy' pulled off another stunt by painting his latest graffiti right under the watchful eye of a CCTV camera at a major London post office. Like always no one saw a thing...Respect!

Previous Banksy street art works I like:

(For the interested: see what Wikipedia has to tell about Banksy)

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Exotische Scheftigheid

Vrienden Van De Blog,

Toegegeven, hoe exotisch India ook mag klinken, ter tijd en stond steekt het hier ook serieus tegen, zeker in de stad. Alles gaat zo traag, en mijn eeuwige portie geduld ;) raakt dan ook wel eens uitgeput, niet zelden in het verkeer, en in combinatie met enkele binnensmonds geintendeerde doch buitensmonds gearticuleerde tirades in het Engels, Nederlands of daar iets tussenin.

Na bijna anderhalve maand zonder frigo geleefd te hebben, hebben we nu ook terug een koelkast. Het kapotte exemplaar behoort ons niet toe en staat nu gestockeerd in de living, naast de andere kapotte frigo die als opslagplaats wordt gebruikt. Ook de loodgieter is langsgeweest zodat de keukenkraan terug werkt, de pombak eindelijk een afloop heeft ipv een emmer eronder en de douche kraan terug dicht gaat. Driewerf hoera!

Mijn laatste maand werken gaat bijna in en normaal gezien zal ik september rondreizen in India, hoewel armoede troef zal zijn, ben ik toch gelukkig met het vooruitzicht de scheftigheid achter mij te laten en de schaarser bevolkte gebieden te verkennen, waar ik ietwat frissere lucht kan opsnuiven en zonder stress met mijn vriendin over straat kan wandelen. De tocht leidt zo goed als zeker richting het hoge noorden, waar we een glimps van de Himalayas willen opvangen en onderweg de Taj Mahal meepikken voor de traditionele toeristenfoto.

suspicious looks

Ondertussen houd ik mij nuttig bezig met mijn verblijf in chennai te documenteren en blogs te bouwen (, voorlopig de enige bezigheid die mij geld opbrengt in plaats van kost...

Groeten van uw dienaar,


Sunday, 27 July 2008

Pictures From Chennai, (I could never have taken myself)

Pictures of Chennai from Roman Virdi. He does it better than I do. Look for yourself:

Slum, next to main road somewhere in Chennai

Women sellinng yasmine flowers

In the water at Marina Beach

Crowds at Marina Beach


Vergane Glorie. Georgetown

Auto Rickshaw close up.

more chennai pictures on the original website

Friday, 25 July 2008

Thomas Jefferson Speaking

" A Man with Courage is A Majority"

"Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude"

"I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past"

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Super Survival Tips To South India (Part II)

In a previous post I already gave away 6 super useful survival tips to South India and as promised I continue the list, for you to enjoy, learn...and survive!

7. Don't ask leading questions. Rather than wanting to dissapoint you, every south indian will do his best to answer your question or explain the way, even if he has no clue what you are talking about. If then you offer them the easy opportunities such as 'Should I go this direction to arrive at the mall?', the answer will undoubtly be a firm 'yes', though you might be walking the opposite way. Surely the good man believes you will arrive at your destination at some point, somehow, so it's not a real lie, right?

8. Never run when crossing the street. Crossing major boulevards in India is a balancing game that requires some skills and experience. In the beginning its easy to cross together with other locals, they are ALWAYS around anyway, but surely you will have to gather courage to give it a go alone someday. At that point, remember this primary survival rule and slowly manouver through traffic without any external sign of fear for the passing cars, bikes, rickshaws, cycles, pedestrians and mammels. Take firm steps and indicate the cars heading your way which way you want them to pass by. Thank God when you arrived on the other side.

9. Declare you are a student. It sounds pretty lame, but i've heard from several travellers and experienced myself that an imaginary student status facilitates bargaining. Being white you are considered a walking goldmine anyway (even if you are a poor backpacker or trainee), but it can help. Anyway it's better than coming up with the real story from which the salesman/driver will only pick up the keywords 'Sofware, America, Dollars, Manager', regardless of you actually mentioning them or not in your talk.

10. Confirm every sentence with ok,ok,ok,ok,ok and some head wiggling, that will make your conversation partner feel more comfortable talking to you. Even if you don't agree continue to say ok,ok,ok,ok,ok and end with a firm 'NO'. It's also pretty common to use the stop word 'correct' after every sentence, (pronounced 'Cerrect') as an acknowledgment of your understanding. This can end up in funny first meetings, when people reply 'Correct' to your birthdate or name.

11. Get a rabies shot. If you've read the Madras by night post you understand why. If you didn't you will understand the day you venture out at night and stand face to face with a dog that is not open to the idea of having foreigners in his hood (and is probably hungry too). Better to avoid dogs anyway I guess. A survial tip in the true sense of the word!

Monday, 21 July 2008

Chennai, As Seen from St Thomas Mount

This weekend we ventured out to Saint Thomas Mount, trying to catch a cool breeze at the edge of the city. Here are some impressions:

one side of the mountain offers a good view over Chennai

The other side is surprisingly calm and green...and polluted:

click for more info about Saint Thomas Mount & Sightseeing in Chennai

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Your Gmail Becomes A Peep Show

Great, now President Bush can have a little peep in your Gmail inbox in case you are corresponding with somebody in the US.

Bush signed the Spy Bill into law yesterday, a law that allows the American Government to monitor all e-mails where one party is thought to be outside the US, from major providers Google, Yahoo and AT&T.

So if you are g-mailing to the US, somebody is watching you!

Luckily there are some intelligent Americans too, who are fighting the new law in court, as it would breach the journalistic freedom with correspondents abroad and therefore be not in line with the 4th Amendment.

to be continued...

Friday, 11 July 2008


Bij deze wil ik mijn oprechte felicitaties richten aan het adres van mijn scoutsvrienden van Hekelgem, want dankzij Rolf die maar liefts 38 keer Bikkebikkebik kon zeggen live in de ether op Studio Brussel hebben ze de waardebon van 1000€ Colruyt prut in de wacht gesleept!

dikken bal Rolf!

Dit geld zal er ongetwijfeld voor zorgen dat er genoeg Corned Beef en Winny Confituur mee kan op kamp, mooi meegenomen!

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Tour De France in Chennai

Groot was mijn verbazing en blijdschap wanneer ik gisteravond de bar van The King's Hotel' naast mijn deur binnenstapte. (Het hotel is hoogst waarschijnlijk vernoemd naar de legendarische after club in Aalst, en is eerder een underdog in Chennai, maar het zijn letterlijk onze buren en het bier is er goedkoop).

Inderdaad verbazing dus, wanneer ik oog in oog stond met het hemels tafereel van de tour de france op groot scherm. Wat bedoeld was als een snelle pint is dus uitgelopen tot het uitkijken van de hele 5de etappe, een familiair en goed gevoel gezien ik zowat elke sportgebeurtenis dit jaar gemist heb.

Ik heb mij alvast voorgenomen om de koninginneritten aan te stippen, en om mij ter tijd en stond voor het grote scherm te gaan placeren voor een avondje (3,5 tijdsverschil) wielrennen.

(pictures from Graham Watson Cycling Photography, thx!)

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Statement of the Day

Don't Be Afraid Your Life Will End
Be Afraid It Will Never Begin

(reptiles in the center of Chennai)