Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bomb Contol

I'm at a workshop on capacity building for PPPs. The morning went off without a hitch and was uneventful. We came back from lunch to find a metal detector up and bomb sniffing German Shepherds. Why? The keynote speaker is the Minister of Urban Development. It seems like pretty heavy duty security, but then again, every mall has metal detectors and there have been lots of bombings in India.

Coming soon (soon being open to interpretation and really meaning "coming as soon as my high speed wireless is fixed"):

-welcome to the neighborhood

-my cold cold heart

-the pressure cooker incident

Monday, August 11, 2008

Out the Window

Monsoon is in full swing here in Hyderabad. There have been 77 weather-related deaths in Andhra Pradesh this month and it didn’t stop raining all weekend. The wind was howling and there was significant thunder and lightning.

On Saturday night, I was in the kitchen doing dishes when there was a loud “boom” and the power shut off. Freaked out and confused by the noise, I went to investigate with a tiny LED keychain flashlight. I soon discovered that the Ethernet cord that usually comes in through the window and hooks into my wireless router was gone! (Yes, my internet connection comes into my house through the window. No, it is not an illegal connection, that’s just the way they install things). The router flying across the room and out the window had been the source of the noise. Moreover, the wireless router itself was missing.

I went outside to look for the router and investigate what could’ve had such force to pull the cable and router out the window when it had been wrapped around the window bars fairly securely. In the rain and dark everything looked fairly normal and it was impossible to locate anything. So I went to bed thankful that my wireless router was connected to the Ethernet cord and not my laptop. Who knew internet connections could be so dangerous!

In the morning, the wireless router was discovered... it had merely hit the window bars and ricocheted across the room. What happened to the Ethernet cord is still undetermined. All I know is that when they come to reinstall the internet, they better find a more reliable way of securing it!

India: where all your IT outsourcing needs are met. India: where internet connections literally fly out the window.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bali Part III

On one of our day trips to central Bali, we went to one of the most beautiful places I have ever been: Lake Bratan. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, the gardens were pristine, and the mountains were magnificent. The sun made all the flowers glow like this: The tall pines created a dramatic shadow effect on the lawns and gave a feeling of great size in this lovely garden.
The bathrooms at the garden were even polite enough to omit the end of the sentence describing the cost to use the facilities.
The highlight of Lake Bratan, however, was the spectacular water temple which appears to float just off the edge of the gardens.
After enjoying the beautiful lakeside gardens and temple, we went for a short hike to an incredible and dramatic waterfall.
To finish off the day, we played in the natural hot sulfur springs nearby.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bali Part II

On our third evening in Bali, we went to Uluwatu temple, which is on an incredible majestic cliff with spectacular views: There, we saw a Kecak dance performance of the Ramayana. I'll definitely remember the story more clearly now that I've seen it live!
While the views and dance were amazing, perhaps the highlight of the evening was the sky. The sunset was dramatic and almost every imaginable sky condition was visible within the horizon. Unfortunately, this picture does not do it justice:

Friday, August 1, 2008


While we were happily in paradise in Bali, 4 of us decided that a day trip to Java was in order so we could see a bit more of Indonesia. Upon arrival, we were amused by the incredibly phonetic spelling of taxi at the airport:
First order of the day was to see Borobudor (, the very impressive Buddhist temple.
We also made sure to think like anthropologists and observe the visitors. Our favorite fellow tourist was Madam Sparklehat with the tight jeans. (I never said I was a nice person). We also visited the Sultan's water palace, a.k.a. massive swimming pool complex:
We learned how batiks are made and got to roam through the racks of beautiful silk cloths:
We even meditated and did yoga at Prambanan Temple ( On the way home, we embarassed Dyl and attacked her with puppets:
Finally, back in anthropologist zone, we observed this fantastic billboard, which is apparently a tobacco ad. The translation: "Man has desire"!: