Found a Place to Live!

We found a place!  It’s a flat – the second floor (or first storey) of this beautiful house.  Unfortunately for us, but I’m sure they feel differently, it’s Ramadan, and the landlords are Muslim.  This is the very end of Ramadan, so it’s impossible to get anything done quickly.  We’ll be signing the papers and taking possession on Monday, the 30th.  We’ll take a bunch more pictures as we slowly clean it up and add some furniture and such. Basically, it’s a marble floored, beautifully teak wooded, seriously windowed (and positioned perfectly for cross breezes), and comfortably spacious flat.  The owners do not live in the house at this time and might move back from Singapore in a couple of months.  So we have the whole house to ourselves – not that we have access to the whole thing, but there’s no one to be bothered if we stomp around.  Wait – with marble floors, I bet they won’t be able to hear us anyway… Okay, back to the description.  The basics: Two bedrooms,each with attached bathrooms, ceiling fans, windows that swing out toward the wide-open space above the neighbor’s house, and built-in wardrobes of some dark-red wood of unknown type but with capacities that will shame our pitiful collections of clothing. They’re maybe 200sqft each, and the bathrooms are sizable, with sit-type toilets and the usual full-bathroom shower setup.  We’ll sleep in one and set the other up as a shared office.  There’s no hot water heater, but the water tanks are black plastic and situated on the roof, so the water gets hot by mid-afternoon and stays that way for a while after dark.  Not that I’ve ever, since we arrived, turned on the hot tap in any place I’ve been… Kitchen, at the back of the house,[…]

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Planes, Trains, and Bicycle Rickshaws

We’ve done it all – or very close. We haven’t been in a helicopter or parachute or glider. We haven’t (yet) been on a motorcycle or scooter. (Actually, James test drove a motorcycle, but that doesn’t count as travel.) Here’s what we have done, and what I thought of it: Cheap-Class Airplane We flew to Mumbai (named after the goddess Mumbadevi, rather than the Portuguese’s Bombay after Bom Bahia or good harbor). This trip took 15 hours of airtime – maybe 16.5 hours total with waiting time at JFK before we were cleared for takeoff and taxi time on the Mumbai end. It was sardine-style flying with (luckily) a relatively small older woman next to me. My greatest fear in anticipating that flight was someone with an ass the size of mine or bigger…ay – what a pain that would have been! Instead, we boarded the plane at 9:30pm and read, ate, and tried to sleep. The Indian Airlines flight attendants were nicely available, but not overly friendly. Chipper isn’t what I was after, though. There was a child – as you will already know if you’ve been reading this blog for a while – who was in great discomfort due to the pressure drop. Sleep was far away because crying was so near. When we arrived, the customs check went smoothly and we didn’t have to fill out a single form. This was surprising to us, as we’d heard much about the Indian bureaucracy. Summary: if you’re rich, by all means pay for the bigger space. We would have spent more on the tickets than the entire rest of our trip had we gone with a real bed, but oh – did they look luxurious. Basically, long-distance flights will never be comfortable. Indian Airlines was no better or worse[…]

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