Archive for July, 2008

A Trip to Europe: Part 4

Shreyaspeak:

February 24th 2008

It was carnival day in Arlon. It was time for everyone to get on to the streets and make one hell of a mess. The carnival is being held for the past 30 years and it is quite a sight. K, M and I decided to walk the streets of the city in the morning to just take in the pre-carnival atmosphere. The carnival procession was to start in the afternoon. We saw the preparations for the procession, people dressed in weird clothes, bands playing. The whole town was in frenzy. We ate French fries and bought a balloon for M that cost a whopping 5 Euros. Wow!!

Soon it was carnival procession time. We found ourselves a nice place to stand and watch the procession. The parade started with so many troupes of dancers, performers, bands, weird dressed up people, people throwing sweets and confetti.

Carnival at Arlon

Carnival Bunny

Kids throwing confetti at each other at Arlon

The whole sight was so colorful and so full of life. We really had a great time being a part of this carnival. Late in the evening, there was a tradition of burning an effigy to get rid of evil. There was a lot of drinking and dancing involved. We watched all of this from our apartment window. End of a very memorable and fun-filled day.

February 25th 2008

An early start to the day as I had to reach Luxembourg’s Gare Centrale in time to catch the 08:10 hours CET TGV to Paris-Est. Took the 20 minute train journey from Arlon to Luxembourg and was in time to get on the TGV. The journey to Paris was really comfortable but for the two long stops at the stations in Thionville and Metz.

After a two hour journey, I arrived at Paris-Est station. My next job was to find a place where I could get a printout of my hotel reservation and then, find the hotel itself. Thankfully, I found a place near the station, got the printout and found the hotel quite easily. I had booked a single room for two nights at this place called Bel Oranger nearby the Paris-Est station. The room costs 95 euro per night but since I had booked it online through a website, I got it for 55 euro for a night. Good bargain indeed.

Continue reading ‘A Trip to Europe: Part 4’

July: Link Diary

Let’s first begin with my post on Its A Free World, I have few questions about CFLs that I would love to have answered from you. There are three questions in this tiny post (tiny from my standards :P) .

I started looking up tumblr blogs for a friend, I ended up with few nice cartoon blogs. Here is one: My Life in a Cube and Garfield minus Garfield. There’s more you can look up here.

cartoon via My Life in a Cube

I then hopped to Postsecret, and was intrigued to see new postcards there. Here are two new:

                                         Postcards via Postsecret

Continue reading ‘July: Link Diary’

A Trip to Europe: Part 3

Shreayspeak:

February 20th 2008

My fourth day in Europe and today, I was headed to the city of Brugge. A two hour train journey from Brussels-Nord. During this journey, I finally solved the problem of my mobile. The connection was to be set to Line 2 whereas I had it on Line 1. A simple solution to a problem that had caused a lot of misery for me.

Brugge was one city I had no map for and no body accompanying me as well, I was pretty much on my own. I went about walking around the place without having any idea as to what was situated where. But it turned out that I did in fact hit the main old streets of Brugge, saw the main church.

City of Brugge

Church at Brugge

The old town is incredibly medieval in its outlook and if not for the cars, one would easily think that they have traveled back in time. The shopping streets are incredibly beautiful and the old town square is typically European.

Continue reading ‘A Trip to Europe: Part 3’

A Trip to Europe: Part 2

Shreyaspeak:

February 17th, (continued from Part 1)

Met up AP and Sam soon and roamed around Dam Square and the shopping districts of Amsterdam. Sam wanted a few old time records and a few souvenirs to take home. Visited many stores and loved the souvenir ideas of Amsterdam. They are definitely things to look out for… In one store, a T-shirt caught the eye of Sam but she could not find the right size. She enquired about it to sales girl and it turned out that the T-shirt wasn’t kept in the right shelf. The sales girl muttered some curses about the other guys working in the store saying ‘just two more years and I shall have the money I need to get out of this and study’. She was pretty pissed about the “morons”(that’s what she called them) she supposedly worked with.

Asking as to what else she does, she said that she was in a dance troupe and, soon, would be joining Mariah Carey’s dance group that was to tour Europe. She then asked us as to where we were from and hearing that we were from India, she said ‘people say that India will soon be on top in terms of economy. And why not? You guys have so much history’. We gladly agreed. It’s always nice to hear good things being said about ones country. (spoken like a true praise-hungry patriot)

Moving on, we went to a coffee shop called ‘Hunters’. Let’s get the difference between cafes and coffee shops straight. Cafes are normal places where you get coffee, tea and snacks. Coffee shops is where you get all that and also where you get to smoke pot (Hashish). Yes, it is legal to sell this in Amsterdam in small quantities. The first puff was expected to make me cough but it didn’t. Since it didn’t, the second and third weren’t expected to make me cough but they did. (uh, huh Hashish. This is certainly what they call beyond dream. :P) The couple seated at the next table had a hearty laugh about it.

Time for AP and Sam to catch their train back to Brussels since Sam had a morning flight from Brussels back to India . Saw them off at the station and proceeded to my dorm to freshen up. It was 21:00 hours and heh, that’s very early hours in Amsterdam.

Headed off to the red-light district to catch the “action”. There were more people in this place than during the day time and more windows were occupied. It’s quite a lovely sight. The streets have a few people coming towards you and asking if you want coke. It is advisable to just keep walking in such cases… Found a topless bar to get the night started with and what went on through the night is not going to be explained here (sorry!!). Hit the bed (this one was to sleep) at around 04:00 hours CET.

Continue reading ‘A Trip to Europe: Part 2’

A Trip to Europe: Part 1

Encouraged by the fact that my Goa trip series was awarded at Dabido’s blog, I decided to publish a friend, Shreyas’ travelogue to Europe. (Dabido, I also take this opportunity to thank you and Ashish who perhaps nominated my post.)

I was intrigued since day 1 when Shreyas told me he was embarking on an trip to Europe on his own. When he returned, I pestered him to write a travelogue until he did write one. 😀 Once I read his travelogue, I was intrigued by the personal touch Shreyas gave to his travelogue. Its not run of the mill where-to-visit story, it is simply how story of his visit with his thoughts and perceptions. 🙂 Without much ado, I will leave you to enjoy Shreyas journey through his words and pictures:

February 16th 2008

Departure from Bangalore to Chennai at 20:25 hours IST in Jet Airways. Arrival in Chennai at 21:15 hours IST. Spent time at the Chennai airport looking at other passengers initially. Had an obscenely expensive cutlet for dinner. Then, made my way to the Leela Palace lounge and watched the F A Cup game between Manchester United and Arsenal which ended up in a wonderful 4-0 win for the Red Devils. Great start to my trip indeed!! ( A real soccer lover, MU fan that my friend is!)

February 17th 2008

Departure from Chennai to Brussels at 01:15 hours IST in Jet Airways again. The flight was good with nice entertainment options and decent hospitality. Arrived at Brussels International Airport at 07:15 hours CET. Took a while to get my baggage, went through checks and then proceeded to the train station at -1 level of the airport terminal building.

Tintin, Captain Haddok and Snowy climbing down the stairs in Brussels

Continue reading ‘A Trip to Europe: Part 1’

Building a Green House and Rain Water Harvesting

We all have read about green houses. We have read about exorbitantly priced environment-friendly houses made of wood. But how many of us may have thought about building a home that is made of recycled and reused stuff. Well, here is such an hero Reniassance Ronin. For ease, I will call him Ronin.

Ronin lives in costal Mississippi that was worse hit when hurricane Katrina struck. Like several others, he lost his house and property too. He laments about government apathy in his posts, says New Orleans got more attention from both media and State than his home ground. He says after storm struck, finding a decent and affordable house has been difficult.He is currently living in a very small apartment with his wife and baby. Here is what he has got to say about his apartment:

I’ve lived in third world countries, in better accommodations than where my family lives, at present.

The landlord couldn’t care less about maintenance or repair. This includes things like A/C units (it‘s in the 90’s everyday, and no A/C), Heaters (it stayed below 40 for weeks on end, and my baby nearly froze), Refrigerators that fail – spoiling our food, Stoves that don’t cook, broken windows with missing glass, ill-fitting doors that allow rodents and insects in, and sewage that backs up into the apartment every three weeks or so, to rot thru the wall, and fill up the bathtub.

Continue reading ‘Building a Green House and Rain Water Harvesting’

Flickr Mosiac Tag

I came across this on Lemonade’s blog. I found it interesting and did it. So here are the rules:

1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
2. Using only the first page, pick an image.
3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.

Here is my handiwork:

Continue reading ‘Flickr Mosiac Tag’

5 Types of People I Hate…

Nita tagged me to write about 5 people that I hate. Such 5 types of people are:

Back-biters: I wanted to tell them: Say it on my face, losers! You may think my back is most vulnerable part of me, but you are mistaken.

That was quite a vehement response. 🙂

Insensitive folks: People who are impatient with disabled as well as senior citizens and other people who serve us daily like peons, waiters, labourers, rickshaw pullers. I hate it when people are not addressed with respect. There is another category, people who are rude to people who do not look great, are scarred or plagued with moles. Now this one is utterly disgusting.

People who do not keep word: I look down such with disgust who do not keep their promises. To me, they are real losers. I find no forgiveness in myself when I find they are in habit of breaking promises. Sometimes you break promises as you have no choice, but making a habit of it is disgusting. As Xylene says, they are “auto-rickshaw types”, changing their words every 100 mts.

Inefficient and unwilling-to-learn people: This is strictly professional grouse. People who are inefficient are never my friends. Never! May be you are not naturally skilled, but your willingness to learn, the attitude will warm you to me. If that is missing, in my heart, I will always shun you.

People who spit and pee in public places: You might be wondering how did you see the sudden burst of pichkari without Holi. Anyone can spit unceremoniously in India..your auto driver, your well-groomed colleague. Most walls in public places will be lined with tobacco spit and hateful smell of pee. Our cricketers too do it. I hate all of you who do it. 😦

Read this interesting article by Harshad Oak about spitting here.

I think I will publish other two interesting and rather long tags in different post. You know I am a self-confessed meme queen of 2008! 🙂

Movie Review: Jaane Tu..Ya Jaane Na

Well, let’s start with good news, I had good time watching this movie. I was not at all bored. I cried a little, laughed a little. It was a sweet affair. Now the bad news. There is no story, if you were looking for something unique. It is usual boy meets girl story where both of them are not aware that they are in love.

Pros: College kids finally look like college kids. Performances by Imran and Genelia are sweet, well, script anyway did not demand performance of a lifetime from them. 🙂 Supporting cast was fabulous. Be it husband-wife duo of Ratna Pathak Shah and Naseeruddin Shah as Imran’s parents. I laughed with every Naseruddin Shah jig. All other kids (one of them Smita Patil-Raj Babbar’s son Prateek) are good too. Though villains are few, there is one who acts his part well, as a mean, insensitive guy. Music is distinctly A. R. Rehman-ish. Kabhi Kabhi Aditi…Music is foot tapping. Dialogues by Abbas Tyrewala (also the director) are crisp. oh, and do not miss Khan brothers (Arbaaz and Sohail) dressed as whacko cowboys. 🙂

If you did not like Jab We Met, chances are you will not like this movie too.

Cons: Predictable story (though it does not hurt much) and narrative style. If you cut out those narrations, story is smoother.

What’s that? A positive review (You will need to watch the movie to understand this sentence.) 😉

Rating: 4/5

Continue reading ‘Movie Review: Jaane Tu..Ya Jaane Na’

Disability and Me…

I just had a lunch with a great friend, she told me how our common friend had misbehaved in a restaurant with a stammering waiter. He threw up his hands in air saying, “He can’t deal with him.” It reminded of my recent conversation with Anshul who told me that he was attended by two hearing and speech challenged attendants at an Costa Coffee outlet in the city. I asked him if his interaction had been satisfactory, he replied with affirmative. He said they communicated through signals. I think we can’t blame the organizations for not hiring the disabled, some of them like NIIT, BEL Ltd. and Costa Coffee are doing their bit, but we too have to change our mindsets and deal responsibly and with sensitivity.

When I published this post about empowering the disabled, one of the readers Praneshachar wrote me a long email about how his organization was providing employment to the disabled and empowering them. After reading his email, I realized he was clearly the person who had had several meaningful interactions with the disabled. I invited him to write a guest post about his experiences. Reading his article, I realized he has been working for a NGO that works for empowering the disabled. Here is what Praneshachar has got to tell us:

Continue reading ‘Disability and Me…’


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