Friday, March 8, 2013
Last night, I stayed up late working on revisions for the book being published by Carina Press in July. As a result, I was in bed later than usual. I got up and did a few things, played with the kids, and then called Jason to see whether he'd be interested in joining us for lunch somewhere. I told him I needed to shower first, and I'd call him as we left the apartment. 

Grabbing a towel, I told the kids where I was headed and turned on the faucet. I was in a bit of a hurry, since I knew Jason was waiting on us, so I jumped under the water while it was still a bit cool, and wet my hair so I could shampoo out yesterday's hair gel.

I had a nice lather going on my head when all of the sudden the water went from lukewarm to HOT! Hissing as I rinsed the soap from my hands in the boiling water, I made sure to keep the rest of my delicate skin from coming into contact with the volcano water as I frantically adjusted the faucets. But nothing I did seemed to help. The water just wouldn't cool down.

And then it hit the apartment managing committee had warned, we were out of water. Everything pouring on me was coming straight from the small hot water heater attached to the wall above the toilet.

And I had a head full of soap. Fantastic. I wasn't finished boiling--uh, I mean rinsing--my scalp when I ran out of hot water too. So there I was, body freezing due to the original dampening from the lukewarm "pipe" water, and my hands and head stinging from my attempts to get the shampoo out.

I ended up going to the downstairs guest bathroom. Of course, we don't keep the water heater on down there, so it was another cold shower. But - I was able to rinse the soap out. So sue me, but I didn't shave my legs.

The good news is, with the warm India sun, I was nice and toasty by the time I got dressed and we picked up Jason.

But I gotta tell 'ya, some days bathing just ain't worth the effort.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
In case you were wondering how people dealt with busy streets and less stringent traffic laws, I thought I'd take a short video clip of a typical Bangalore intersection. This isn't exceptionally busy, but you can still see that driving in India requires your complete attention.  Bicycles, motorcycles, cars, auto rickshaws, tractors, and cows - everyone is welcome.

But since I didn't catch a cow on film this time, I thought I'd add one (not recorded by me) here.

Sunday, March 3, 2013
One thing I will be very glad to see when I return to US soil? Better customer service. I know, I know, those of you in the US are laughing right now.

But the one thing capitalism has done for America is give businesses just one small reason to keep customers happy. Because if we're unhappy with the service, there's (generally) 2-3 competitors we can move our business to.

Here in Bangalore? Not the case.

You've heard me complain about our dropped internet lines before, so I'll spare you the same ol' song and dance. In short, one of our internet lines stopped working (again), we called a repairman (again), he came (again), and then left without fixing the broken line. In addition, he caused the one working line to stop as well. So now, out of two lines (both of which we are still required to pay for) we have 0 Internet.

I'm typing this sitting in Jason's office.

The irritating thing about this? We have no alternative but to keep paying Airtel for their "service." There isn't really another option.

We have a third Internet line through a cable provider, but it goes down more often than Airtel, and we don't even have any contact information to lodge a complaint. I have to wait until the guys come to collect my monthly fee. Yes, that's right. We can't mail our payment. They send someone to our door to collect. Weird for a telecommunications company, right? (How much do you want to bet it's because internet payments aren't reliable because the internet is down too often - HA!)

I try to remind myself that internet connectivity is a luxury, not a need. Until I remember that this past week, we haven't had reliable running water, either., there really isn't an actual point to this blog, other than to say "be nice to your internet providers" to all my US friends and family, because you don't know how good you have it.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
And you thought disagreements between US states over water were interesting.

Karnataka, the state Bangalore is located, possesses a cauvery system that supplies a neighboring Indian state (Tamil Nadu) with water. Rain has been in short supply here in Bangalore, and summer is fast approaching.

Karnataka has decided there isn't enough water to supply themselves in addition to Tamil Nadu, so they are repeatedly ignoring the Federal government's requests to release water to TN.

In addition to a 2-day strike, today and tomorrow, it seems TN has urged motorists not to cross the state border with their TN tags, and have stopped bus service.

I, from the safety of my own home, find this process fascinating. As an American, I've been raised on stories of state disagreements settled in court, or with the "help" (*cough, cough) of the Federal government if needed.

So to watch how a country with an iffy/inefficient court system attempts to solve disputes is really quite interesting.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013
Remember this post? Where I talk about being threatened by a lizard? Well, it's that season again, because the little monsters are yet again invading our home. In an effort not to scare my children, I've done my best to play it cool when they point out the reptile spying on us from the wall or ceiling, saying, "Yeah, I see that. Daddy will be home soon and we'll ask him to catch it." But that's not the only piece of Indian nature trying to scare us.

Don't get me wrong. I like birds. They're not my first choice for a pet, but they definitely rank far above snakes or lizards. But here in India, they can be really, really, scary.

On our apartment complex's announcement board, they refer to the oodles of pigeons that hang around day after day as the "pigeon menace". The phrasing made me laugh. Until the pigeons started to look menacing. One day, I asked my youngest to go put his empty plate in the sink. Our sink is located in a small washroom porch that is open to the outside.

When I heard him scream and start to cry, I ran over to see what had happened. Apparently, two of the pigeons had set up a love shack behind the dryer, and when Tyler opened the door, he startled them. It's a little difficult for the birds to fit behind the dryer, and they have to exit through a small opening near the floor, so by the time they were "out", the wings were flapping hard, right around poor Tyler's head.

They've done it to me a few times as well, and something flapping around your face when you weren't expecting anything does raise the ol' heart rate a tad.

Needless to say, we're not fond of our new squatters, especially since they fly around the drying rack I use for my clean dishes. So when Jason found a pigeon egg and the beginnings of a leaf nest, we knew it was time to do something. Jason found a company that specializes in curtains and blinds, and he had them come up and give us an estimate on a set. With everything included, it came out to about 100 USD (yes, we still convert everything in our head to USD to judge "reasonableness") and figured it was a somewhat small price to pay for clean dishes, a clean washer and dryer (did I mention they poop EVERYWHERE), and a delay on the inevitable talk about "the birds and the bees" with my youngest boy. (He already asked me "What does love-nest mean?" when I used the term when telling Jason about his attack.)

Our blinds were promised today, I'll let you know later whether that was an actual "today" or an "Indian today."
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