Saturday, August 7, 2010

Home Sweet home

Home sweet home, that is probably what you say after a hard day at the office or after spending a week in a different city. But my "Home, Sweet Home" is quite different from yours. Believe me. After more than six months living in India (another planet) I discovered how pleasant was my life over here. I changed, completely. I feel now like a new person who thanks God (Jesus, Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, Ganesh, Allah, Buddha) for everything. I was kind of agnostic before going to India but after living their faith and seeing all different religions from Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism to Whateverism I really think there is a God there and I feel it.

Ok, I don't want to start crying here and spill my keyboard with my tears... Later I will take these topics deeply.

Now I want to show you how my "new" life at home is:

Enjoying a spectacular "Beans Cazuela" at home

Enjoying the rain and a pleasant weather

Enjoying the view from my room's balcony

Enjoying my guitar classes

Enjoying a drive on my car

you will probably say: "Dude, but if this is what I do every day", well, that is true but do you really enjoy it?. Love your life and be happy for everything you have, here, at home, sweet home...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Being an extra in a film for 1 day

Last friday I received the next text message:
"Hey!, We need one man for tomorrow shooting!. Roman"
and my reply was:
Then he replied again:
"Yes, You'll be a policeman"

In that moment I only thought WTF? If I've got such an angelical face to be a soldier? :).

Anyway this is the result:

der Führer

Saving Private Ryan

Don't ask me the name of the movie. I don't know... Apparently I was a "British" soldier in the 1940s...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

North India Trip

This is a nice tour I'm doing in July around north India. I know, it's quite long but I'm very excited. I've been planning this trip for a long time and now finally it is getting closer. I just had a weekend booking train tickets, buses, best routes, etc.

This is the map:

To start I will take a plane from Chennai to Kolkata. In Kolkata I'll meet one of my best friends who is waiting for me there. We'll be one day in Kolkata, people say it's not that amazing place but you can see real India in a glance. Then we will head to the north east: Darjeeling. It's a small town with this magnificent view of the Himalayas, some time to relax and enjoy the cold weather and have some tea.

After Darjeeling we will go trough all Bihar State reaching Patna at 4am. Here we will have to wait for the first bus of the morning to then go to Gaya and Bodh Gaya. Two amazing religious places. The only reason to choose those places was Bodh Gaya is the most important of the main four pilgrimage sites related to the life of Gautama Buddha, the other three being Kushinagar,Lumbini, and Sarnath.

After Bodh Gaya the next stop will be Varanasi, a city situated on the banks of the River Ganges in the Uttar Pradesh state, regarded as holy by Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world (1200-1000 BC) and probably the oldest of India. Here we'll have two more guesses for the trip.

After seeing how is life along River Ganges it's time to have some exotic cultural delight and go to Kajhurao. This town has the largest group of medieval Hindu and Jain temples, famous for their erotic sculpture, all about the Kamasutra.

Oh yeah, Oh yeah... Time to go to Agra to finally see the Taj Mahal.

After the Taj Mahal and some fortresses in Agra and around it. At this point one friend coming from London is joining us. It's time to go back to civilization, in this case the capital of the country: New Delhi. In the big city there are hundreds of things to do, hopefully there will be some friends over there to have fun on saturday night.

After spending a weekend in Delhi it is time to take a bus and go to Manali, a beautiful Himalayan town. It's a place full of extreme sports so the first thing to do in Manali is going to do paragliding. Manali is known for its shiny gompas or Buddhist monasteries. With the highest concentration of Tibetan refugees in the entire Kullu valle.

After Manali, We are heading to Dharamshala, the centre of the Tibetan exile world in India. Following the 1959 Tibetan uprising there was an influx of Tibetan refugees who followed the Dalai Lama.

Next place in the list is Amritsar, near to Pakistan border and known for it's magnificent golden temple.

After seeing this stunning temple and going to the Pakistan Border to see the India-Pakistan border ceremony, we are taking the train that goes directly from Amritsar to Jaipur with a 872 Km distance. We will be taking the train at 2:00pm and reaching next day to Jaipur in the morning. Also popularly known as the Pink City, is the capital and largest city of Rajasthan. This is when the semi-desert and desert lands of Rajasthan start.

We will be two days in Jaipur to go to the next cities Udaipur, also known as the City of Lakes and Jodhpur, also referred to as the Blue City due to the blue-painted houses around the Mehrangarh Fort.

I don't know if we can really do a Safari in Jaisalmer because the high temperatures, still we are going to this city and see if we can do a Safari at night time:

Finally we are going to the world famous shrine of Karni Mata in the town of Deshnoke 30 km south from Bikaner. Karni Mata is worshiped as an incarnation of Goddess Durga. This temple is famous for rats which can be seen everywhere inside.

And this is it... I will be reaching Delhi next day, travel to Chennai and then heading home after six months staying in India. I hope you liked the tour and if you are interested just let me know!.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

How to get...

I was searching on Google how to get from Kolkata to Darjeeling. I just typed how to get and these were the suggestions in Google India:

yeah, so I went to Google Colombia to do the same and this is the result:

My conclusion: Everyone loves sex... but in India they prefer having children.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

This is so wrong and so gay

I was hungry so I went to Marrybrown (kind of Indian KFC) to have some chicken. Then this is what I found:

yes, 22 guys having dinner together. Is it not the biggest gay scene ever?. Now the worst part is coming: this song starts sounding at the restaurant. see the video, look how gay it is, then come back to this window and listen to the music watching this picture... I won't sleep tonight :S

How to bargain in India

When you are in India all the locals think you are a millionaire. In most of the cases we are not rich and we only want to get some nice stuff to take home, and obviously we want to get it for a good price. So here are some tips about how to bargain based on my experience in India.

1. Look around for similar items before going for some serious bargaining.

2. Yes, some of the sellers seem very poor and still if the product is cheap for you the seller will try to cheat you because you are a foreigner. So forget your humanistic sense and focus: This is a business. In that moment you are not Mother Teresa, you are a business man.

3. After you have your mind focused on the item, ask the price, How much sir?. Try to be polite, the seller will access easier to your requirements.

4. Now suppose the seller tells you 1000 Rs. Ok, so probably the item will be 1/4 of that price. In that case, 250 Rs.

5. Get some time to bargain. Be cool and relax. In most of the cases this will take some time, don't be impatient. Otherwise you will lose.

6. Always say: very expensive!. expensive sir!. very expensive!

7. Don't show big amounts of money in your wallet. Never pull out your wallet either. The seller will assume that you are prepared to pay.

8. The seller will end up asking you: What is your final price sir? Then you take the 10% of the first offer and say it...yes, it's nothing but do it. He will probably laugh to you but be patient. The price will immediately be dropped to a small amount.

9. Keep saying very expensive!. expensive sir!. very expensive!.

10. If the shop keeper isn't dropping the price enough, walk away slowly (acting like you don't want it). The seller will follow you or will step out of his store calling you: Sir!, Sir!, Sir!. If this doesn't happen means you are actually offering a crap price.

11. Go back to the store and close the deal or go to another store with a better perspective of the prices.

12. And finally, You have to enjoy this. Now, don't get used to and start doing it everywhere, even at the Apple Store. Sir, this iMac is very expensive!, How much for the iPhone?

Have you got some more handy tips? share them below! :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Why autorickshaws are so annoying

I was going to bed then I thought: Oh my god, I forgot my little blog and he must be so lonely in some server in the world :(. So now I'm back, I've been too busy in these days trying to finish my thesis so that is why... Ok, after the excuses I will talk about Autorickshaws.

Autorickshaws are small cars with three wheels. One in the front and two in the rear. We call them in Colombia "Mototaxis" and they are so cool. In Colombia you only find them in a small little town in the coast called Tolú.(Well, that's what I think, I have not been to many places in my own country, sad, I know). Ok, so when I first came to India and I saw an Autorickshaw I just wanted to ride it... then after few days it becomes boring and this is when the problems start.

The next graphic shows the level of satisfaction of riding a rickshaw since I'm in India:

where 100 means I would prefer to have an autorickshaw than a Ferrari, and 0 means if I had a gun in the moment I'm riding the auto I would kill the driver and then kill myself.

So why the 'autos' are so cool at the beginning and they turn so annoying a few weeks later:
  • When you are riding one you feel like if you were in a bumper car (carritos chocones) then you get used to and it's not fun anymore.
  • Every day the heat is more, so the first days were 26ºC, now inside an auto must be something like 40ºC because they have a black plastic cover.
  • The first days you are so excited then you don't hear any noise. A few days later you realise how the exhaust pipe sounds and the horn doesn't stop sounding.
  • They stop to the petrol station with you inside to fill the tank... yes sr. Dude, It's bloody hot and I don't want to wait!.

And the most important one:
  • Dealing and bargaining with the drivers is the most annoying thing in the world:
after a few days you learn how to do it, I will tell you in my next post...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

5 casual photos describing last week

I was thinking what I was going to post this week. Then I thought my life in India is a kind of routine again. I've been very busy in these days to write a good real post so I just wanted to describe last week with 5 casual photos:

1. Football is Football so you always have to take some time to watch amazing games. This week I saw five big games: Inter - CSKA Moscow, Barcelona - Arsenal, Manchester - Bayern Munich, Liverpool - Benfica and Real Madrid - Barcelona.

2. Going to work by Autorickshaw. Every Autorickshaw is a new adventure so probably next month I will write a whole post about Autorickshaws.

3. Doing my Thesis: Search Algorithms Based in Ontologies. Here I gather maths, logic, computer science and researching.

4. Meeting new friends. It's nice how you can get to know people from all continents in only one day. Here is the team: Ghana, Jordan, Argentina, Russia, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Colombia and India. Note:The girl who was taking the picture is Russian and I need one of my Australian friends to come and feel the globe.

5. Enjoying a magnificent and stunning indian sunset from the beach.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

How to cross a street in India

Traveling around the world I have found many ways to cross a street, as simple as crossing in Australia where all cars stop only because you are crossing, as easy as Colombia where if you don't see a car just cross or sometimes drivers give you the way. But in India it's different.

To cross a street in India you will first have to be aware of the elements of the environment. They can be autorickshaws, shared autorickshaws (bigger rickshaws), trucks, cows, bikes, people and buses. Everything at the same time. Now, conscious of the environment there are two ways to cross the street: unsafe - safe mode.

Unsafe mode
How my mother taught me: "you look to the left and see if cars are coming". This is totally incorrect, first "you look to the left": India was a British colony so traffic, switches, volume-channel buttons in the remotes, locks are in the opposite direction. How annoying is it to try turning up the volume and instead get another channel, but it would be more annoying trying to cross the street because the car might end up changing your life-channel. Second "if cars are not coming": cars and bikes are always coming.

But anyway, like a good boy I followed this instruction with its corrections from the Indian environment:
look to the right - good! some spot there, let's cross. Result: you dumb-ass forgot about the left, vehicles coming in the wrong direction sometimes are coming as well.
look to the right - left - right - good! some spot there, let's cross. Result: you dumb-ass could step onto a shit or an animal
look at the floor - right - left - right - damn! more cars are coming :(

Now suppose you are a horse! so you have left-right vision and don't care what you step on. Still be aware of the front, you can crash into another person who is crossing from the opposite side. Awesome! You'll probably find how to cross only one lane, then you have to stay in the middle of the two "lanes" waiting to do the same procedure. Don't worry, all motorbikes will be horning you and nearly touching you, but you are kind of safe; Finally you have crossed the street.

Safe mode
Follow an Indian and stand beside him, he knows the business and if someone gets hurt it's gonna be him :)
There's still the wrong direction drivers risk, so cross between two Indians. The risk of the floor is still there but it would be so colonial and inhumane to cross over an Indian.

Safest mode cross into a crowd of Indians, believe me, I'm here writing this post to tell the story.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Some Indian names

These are my workmates in Trimble Navigation:

Anto Prakash Antony
Audippa Naidu
Chiranjeevi Reddy
Jaikumar Alagarsamy
Kannan Vairamani
Prem Chand Chiruchuri
Radhika Subramoniam
Rajil Contractor
Rajkumar Govindarajan
Saritha Dhanala
Satyamurthy Bharat Srinivasan
Sha Abidh Jain;
Shrinivas Balakrishnan
Subhakar Vadlamudi
Suryaprabha Subramaniam
Swathi Vikram

At least I can call them Anto, Audi, Chiru, Jay, Kannan, Prem, Radhika, Contractor, Raj, Saritha, Satya, Sha, Shrini, Chubaka, Surya and Vikram. I just don't image saying something like: Suryaprabha, do you know where Mr. Govindarajan is?.

Some facts:
  • Raj is the boss.
  • The girls are Radhika, Saritha and Surya.
  • The easiest one to learn was Audi for the car brand.
  • Subhakar actually looks like Chubaka (Star Wars), really tall and hairy guy with beard.
  • They all call me "santi" :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

How to make eggs on toast by two Engineers

Muñoz (A): dude, I don't know what to have for breakfast :(
Me(B): mate, 2 eggs on toast. I mean 2 eggs 3 breads...
toast the breads and you just throw the eggs on them ..
A: :O, It takes a lot of time, I'm just gonna make microwave potatoes :)
remember I don't like cooking
B: It doesn't take a lot of time nigglet and remember
Eggs are protein :"Michael Phelps eats 8 eggs daily",
they make you chubby :) and your brain works better
A: The potatoes are ready in 0.5 min, What do you usually have for breakfast?
B: Generally 2 eggs, 3 breads, orange juice and cereals
A: and you do it by yourself???? :O
B: of course boss
A: How on hell you get so much time?
B: It's 5 mins
A: Bullshit!, time it!, the heating up of the pan by itself is 3 minutes
B: look, 0:00 minute: I open the fridge (Probably you won't need a fridge with your climate..
It makes things cold by itself :) )
A: I do need a fridge!
B: Ok, open the imaginary fridge, get everything
A: It's 1 minute already taking everything
B: How come? are you disabled or what?
A: lol, dude... 1 minute getting everything... I'm serious
B: Listen: 0.5 mins, everything out of the fridge, turn on the stove and put the pan on,
while this is heating up, you serve the juice
A: While it gets hot it's gonna take 2 mins, at least here
B: Is it gas?
A: No, people here use energy
B: Such a losers...
A: We have nuclear plants... you loser
B: But they contaminate and if they blow up ! ?
A: You won't see me again on twitter :)
B: Well, same happens if my gas stove blows up :)
look man, but if it's teflon is faster. Do you know teflon was discovered in a NASA project to get a new solid lubricant able to resist high temperatures?
A: Oh, yes, but that's not true. Check this out
B: Ok, it's hot already 1.5 min, I pass the butter on the pan and break the eggs, throw the eggs 2mins
A: mental wanking!, but maybe it's true... India is hotter than Denmark
B: While this happens get the cereal ready, and put everything back in the fridge.
"Parallel processing", you see? 5 mins
A: Multitasking
B: Well, I have two hands
A: mmm. Ok... How do you toast your bread?
B: I don't toast it, I just put it closer to the pan so it warms by itself :)
A: :O
B: The washing is the worst part but listen to my Sensei advice
Before throwing the eggs on the bread make sure the breads totally cover the plate area, no holes are allowed.
Otherwise the yolk is gonna spill on the plate then it's more difficult to wash the plate. In case everything works perfect just use a little bit of water :)
A: lol, I'm going to try
B: OK, time it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tejadito times

I will explain what Tejadito is for those who don't know it.... I come from a city where women glow and they are really beautiful, the one who is below standards will pick up some day... that's the life cycle OR 'Beauty Cycle' of Medellin women. So now, think of the best university of the city where all beauties go to study, and now think of a special place - a spot - where these girls gather everyday -all day-, yes that is the Tejadito Coffee Shop...

I used to go with my friends to that place -the spot- almost every day... have some coffee, "pandebonos", cheese cake or simply in the next cafeteria dunkin donuts. What can you do if an awesome girl passed in front of you... three things:
1. look at her normally and naturally
2. stare at her (Stalker mode)
3. look at other places and try to ignore her... but this is not going to work because in other places will be more girls so you just be like an old fan... look at the floor???, no!, look at your friends???. worse!...

To look at her normally and naturally is the obvious thing, and frankly that's what I used to do...

Now, I'm in India... I haven't seen a good chick in almost 2 months!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and I haven't even seen any good coffee shop too.

Is that fair?. NO. I'm getting something we call in my city "mal de vereda" or "village disease", let me explain that with cars. One of my best friends always says you can explain life with cars and football. Ok. so now imagine a town full of Ferraris, then if you see a BMW you will probably say: It's crap... On the other hand if you see the same BMW in a village full of Renaults 4... you will say: dude, BMW rocks.

Now I have a little bit of village disease, so I see some girls and I find them nice; five issues:

1. They generally are married, how do I know? I cautiously look at her toes, if she is wearing rings in both feet toes.. damn, you are lost. She is married. What if she is not wearing sandals(jandals, flip -flops, thongs)?. I haven't found this case but generally they would wear a black necklace.
2. They are taken, it's not good to try to approach to a guy's girlfriend.
3. They have a kind of mustache - believe me-
4. They are wearing Saris (Indian traditional woman clothes) so you can't know what is inside. I mean.. the shape or silhouette is not recognizable at all. So it could be a nice secret or a really bad surprise.
5. You just don't even know how to approach to them.

Conclusion: I will join in meditation classes next week and when I get to Colombia first thing I'll do is have a nice colombian coffee in "El tejadito".

The reasons why It's so Gracious !!

I used to believe blogs were crap and bloggers were people with nothing to do. How wrong I was... Then I realized how Idiot I am and I can't believe how I've been living 23 pleasure years without a blog... Anyway, these are some of the reasons to decide starting my blog. late... but how we say in spanish "más vale tarde que nunca" or better late than never.

1. My Indian friend Manish encouraged me to do it.
2. I don't have anything really important to do in these days.
3. I'm funny sometimes and I can be a good blogger if i try tho...
4. I'm in India. So if i just say something about India is gonna be interesting

and the most important:

5. I read the 100 hundred things to do before you die list and the 89 is "create your own website".

So I hope you enjoy it and be active in comments....