Trains & Boats & Planes Part II

6 Nov

Determined to ‘throw myself into local life’ just gearing up to get the train into Mumbai!  Wish me luck….Image

 

Very grateful for “Ladies Only” carriages 🙂

Arrived safely, now off on a boat trip.

A one hour boat ride to see UNESCO’s World Heritage Site, Elephanta Caves.

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Health & Safety hasn’t arrived in India yet, this is all that’s stopping anyone falling overboard, and this boat is full of small children!

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These works of art were chiseled out of solid rock 3,000 years ago, How amazing is that!?!?

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Even at a World Heritage Site, India doesn’t seem to feel shame at it’s rubbish dumping habits …so sad

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The beautiful Tag Mahal Hotel and Gateway to India at the end of Marine Drive, Mumbai. As seen on the return trip from Elephanta Caves – dusky due to thick smog of pollution that constantly overhangs the City.

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Well, survived ok, even with a lack of H&S, I used my common sense! Now! there’s a novelty, do you think it could catch on?

Back ‘home’ 

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My local station, now for the walk back ….

The sheer volume of people and huge effort of getting from A to B is very tiring. But SOOO worth it. What another great day.

Trains and boats and planes…

2 Nov

I’m here! I’m at the airport, on my way …. in just over 12 hours I’ll be in India!

A night flight to Dubai so should get some sleep. Check in went without a hitch, security fine, boarding fine, now sitting comfortably in my aisle seat with extra leg room – great, buckled up, ready for take off …. here we go 🙂

Refreshments, dinner, more refreshments all served and cleared away, cabin lights dimmed so passengers can sleep. Sleeping was my plan but I am just TOOOOO excited. Great movies to watch, music to listen to, box sets of whole comedy series’ and the best of all, the flight path, all 6000 km of it, of this Boeing 777, and loads of technical stuff, size of aircraft, cruising speed, outside temperature, distance from ground, distance from departure, distance to destination; aill available here, on a screen fixed to the back of the seat in front of me. I’m like a kid flicking through all available options … and back again 🙂 Then I’m looking at the map again and I see Baghdad and Basra on the screen, not sure if it’s because I’m tired (now 1.40 a.m.  – 5.40 a.m. local time) or that I’m going to be away from my Boys for the next month, but I suddenly feel sad, Thinking of all the young men and women 34,000 ft below me so far away from home and the Mums back home lying in their beds praying for the safety of their Sons and Daughters, I too offer a silent prayer. I ponder on all the familiar names of the cities below and contemplate the fine line between war and peace, how a border can have so much impact on peoples lives.

I ‘m flicking through the screens again, where I can see tail winds, head winds, air speed; information that not so long ago, even the pilot and flight engineer wouldn’t have had access to let alone a passenger, ALL passengers! All 500 of us, looking round the cabin, I wonder where they’re all going, where have they been, what’s their story? Are any of them as excited and terrified as I am?

All this available data, gets me thinking about my Dad, a British Airways flight engineer for his working life, what would he make of all this? I then have a smile to myself, he would not have been impressed that I was flying with another airline. He was BA through and through and believed they were THE best airline and would not have a word said against them, even when they acted so badly in taking Concorde out of service and behaving like a spoiled child in not letting Virgin take over her running.

I’m thinking about how passionate I am about my own company how much I love my job and how lucky I am in the people I work with, so many real friends, and I offer another silent prayer … of Thanks 🙂

Sleep obviously overtook me as we are now starting our 15 minute decent into Dubai. A four hour stop over here and then the final leg of this part of the journey, a 3 hour flight into Mumbai…

“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Mumbai, where the local time is 2.30 p.m. and the temperature is 41 degrees. We hope you’ve had a pleasant flight and wish you a pleasant stay in Mumbia”

Oh! My! God! I AM here!!!!

 

Entering the arrivals hall I am struck by that hot smell, you know, the one that hits you (if you’ve been lucky enough to fly to hot countries) when you step off the plane. The decor however, I was not prepared for …. It reminded me of my Granny’s house, dark rich colours, brocade pictures, musty, richly patterned carpets, all that would probably have been the look 50 or more years ago, but today, November 2, 2013, as I stepped into this new world made me think of “Days of the Raj” 🙂 with huge overhead fans replacing the punkah-wallahs, lazily moving the hot humid air efficiently around the terminal.

I joined the orderly queue (the first of only two I would experience in the next month, the second one would be immigration on my way back :)). At the front of the queue I handed over my Passport which was scrutinised for some five minutes then robustly stamped by the surly immigration guy and shoved back at me, walking through the barrier, putting my Passport away in my bag another surly immigration guy grunted at me with his hand out, quizzically I looked at him with my heart in my mouth, was something wrong? He grunted at me again, pointing to my passport, retrieving it from my bag I handed it to him. Now, remember he has just watched his colleague check and stamp it …. he then gives it the same scrutiny as the first guy, after several minutes squiggles on the card inserted by “guy one” and hands it back to me, not sure what happened there but was through immigration and putting my Passport away once more, when! yes! you’e guessed it, yet another official wanted to review “guy two’s” squiggle!! Did they not trust each other’s judgement or was it job creation? whichever it was having a very negative effect on my excited mood. Minutes later after flipping from the photos in my Passport and on my Visa and checking my face and back to the Passport I got a third squiggle and the ushered through. In case I didn’t explain this was all in the distance of about six paces.   Anyways, I was officially IN INDIA! with a joyful, happy welcome from Indian Immigration 😉

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I was then given a genuine welcomed by Amajit, my guide and Vejay, my driver and we headed out into the Saturday afternoon traffic of a crazy, chaotic Mumbai.

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3 km and an hour later arrived (shell shocked!) at what was going to be home for the next few weeks.

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Lulled into a false sense of security here – at 5 p.m. after a quick shower and change, ventured out – not too bad eh?

This was the reality of Monday morning!!

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So my first day was coming to a close. After nearly 30 hours without sleep,  excitement I haven’t felt since I knew Santa brought me presents, the  fear of  cockroaches and mossies ravishing me during the night didn’t seem all that important, with rape alarm securely fitted to door, mosquito net in place (although hostel staff who helped me fit it assured me I wouldn’t need it. I was having none of it … Lights off, fan on, nite nite …

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Curiosity will conquer fear more than Bravery will ….

30 Oct

Continue reading

Live the life you want

28 Oct

Live the life you want.

Live the life you want

28 Oct

Several years ago, three to be precise! I mentioned in a one to one with my Director that I felt I wanted to give something back for the life I had been blessed with. Even though in the previous couple of years I’d lost my beloved Mummy and it was obvious my Dad would be going soon, dying of a broken heart. I told him I wanted to take a month out (nothing really, but to a business fairly substantial, especially as my role is that of a Personal Assistant to a very busy Director) to do some volunteering in India. I’d watched Red Nose Day footage of ‘babies’ sifting through land fill sites in Mumbai trying to get enough ‘rubbish’ to sell to be able to get something to eat. How did I feel? Guilty! Ashamed! Motivated! How could it be right that I could buy ANYTHING I wanted, and in most cases didn’t need, either by going to the shops or on line, could turn on the tap and clean drinkable water would pour forth in abundance, could put on my running shoes and run for 6 miles without any fear at all!  And be respected as a woman in the work place.

About 20 years ago my gorgeous hubby and me had started to sponsor two young girls in a orphanage in Mumbai, my dream was always to visit one day and see the work of the orphanage., and maybe meet the girls. We then went on to have three fabulous Sons of our own – truly my greatest life work.  They are the most gorgeous boys, good looking, caring, intelligent and above all compassionate, we really are very lucky parents. And in abundance, love and respect xx

Well! my lovely, supportive Manager said …. “Yes, I’ll support you in this” – how lucky am I ?  THE best boss ever Alex Dixon in THE best organisation, Bromford.  I genuinely think that back then I didn’t think it would actually ever happen! In my minds eye I would just move from ‘here’ and be ‘there’ making a difference. Well, the reality of it all is only four days away! On Friday, November 1st I fly out to Mumbai, arriving on Saturday mid day after a four hour layover in Dubai, just one day ahead of Diwali on Sunday. How do I feel?  Excited, scared, terrified? You bet! All of the above 🙂 but I have the blessing and support from my wonderful family, good wishes and love from my colleagues  and friends – I am overwhelmed by all the good wishes, cards and gifts (to take with me for the children) that I have received.  All this shared strength will carry me through what I hope is going to be a life changing  experience. I hope that the heart full of love I am going with will carry me through and make a real difference to at least one and hopefully all of the children I will be  with over the next month. Follow my blogs to see what’s happening, and if you pray or believe in positive thinking, please share one for me.

You used to be a cool Mum!!

2 Nov

You used to be a cool Mum!!.

Lessons from my Mother (getting people on line)

27 Oct

A truly insightful blog, loved it. Thanks Paul

Paul Taylor

On my recent holiday a surprising thing happened. Two emails from my Mom.

From my Mom. Who , 9 months ago,  had never been online. I’m proud. But it’s been a difficult journey.

This post is not about having a laugh at the expense of older people online. It’s an attempt to capture some of my learnings.

There is a lot of rubbish talked about Digital by Default.  Yes – the Internet is a place that can unite us , inspire us and enable us to learn things never before possible.

But to many people their perception is the exact opposite. It’s a place where your identity gets stolen , where people monitor everything you do, and where you can get bullied.

These are my top learnings (Introduced by my Mom):

“Can I use the phone at the same time as the laptop?”

New Laptop. Decent Broadband. Introductory lesson on…

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