Sunday, November 30, 2008

Day 96: Heaven...I'm in heaven...

Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University. What better thing to do on my birthday than check books out of my new library for the first time? Bliss!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Day 95: Le jazz

My favourite jazz club in Paris is called Le Caveau de la Huchette, which is located near St. Germain-des-Pres on rue Huchette. I've been there many times but tonight I looked around the place in a bit more detail and found loads of lovely photos from years ago. The club celebrated its 60th year of jazz recently (2006 perhaps) and it's still going strong. Je l'adore!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Day 94: Riad

The courtyard of the riad was lovely...this was the view from the balcony outside our room. I wish we could have stayed longer!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Day 93: Terror

I was just at the train station now named Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus three weeks ago to take a train from Bombay to Pune. Against the wall is the ladies' room I went to when I was waiting to board my train. Photo from the New York Times website.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Day 92: Souq

The lovely spices sold in the souqs...amazing! How do they make the cones so straight and tall?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day 91: Djemaa El Fna, Marrakech

After a harrowing morning and afternoon, we finally had a chance to relax in our lovely riad and then explore the main square in Marrakech. So far, so good: I have only bought postcards!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Day 90: La Basilique du Sacré-Coeur

We took advantage of the crisp but sunny weather in Paris to climb up to the top of Sacré-Coeur. Actually, I thought I was paying 5 euro for the privilege of going inside the basilica; instead I found myself walking up 300 stairs to the very top. But I will admit, it was worth it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Day 89: Greg and Laurie come for dinner

Greg and Laurie live in Paris and were invited over for dinner tonight at the flat. We had a lovely time reminiscing about Chicago and university and just discussed life in general. They are wonderful friends.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Day 88: Sainte-Chapelle

Today we went to Sainte-Chapelle, on l'Ile de la Cité. It was an unusually sunny afternoon so we took advantage of the weather to see the stained glass. I had been a number of years ago but I hadn't remembered quite how lovely it all is in the light.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Day 87: All About Eve

Today was a grey and rainy day, and a movie seemed like the perfect idea. It's hard to believe I had never seen All About Eve before, and I'm so glad I have done now. This screen shot I took shows Anne Baxter as Eve, Bette Davis as Margo, George Sanders as Addison DeWitt, and a young Marilyn Monroe as Miss Caswell. Brilliant cinema.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Day 86: Entertaining chez moi

Today I entertained at home. J is one of my friends in Paris and he has hosted me at his place many times for dinner, so today I was able to finally return the favour at the flat. It was fun. Here he is trying to find the conversion for centimeters into feet in the guidebook, but we had to resort to the internet in the end.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Day 85: Celebrity Sighting #2

After shifting from the hotel to the flat I'm staying in for the next week, I rested for a while as I've caught a slight cold. I finally motivated myself enough to get out to the American Library in Paris to hear one of my favourite authors read. David Sedaris is an amazing writer whom I have been listening to on Chicago radio and reading for many years, and I was thrilled to have the chance to hear him read from his latest book and his diaries. I didn't even mind that the place was so packed I had to stand for over an hour. Brilliant!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Day 84: An American in Paris

Apologies for the low photo quality, but I had a lot going on at the time. We were on les Bateaux Parisiens and people were bothering me, I was outside in the cold, and someone claimed we'd get an even better photo when we moved to the other side of the boat. Sadly, the other door leading to said side was locked. So I'm pleased I got any decent shots. Plus I was too excited to have met and made the acquaintance of a local Chicago celebrity!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Day 83: My view over the next two days

I suppose if you are stuck in a meeting for eight hours a day over the next two days in Paris, and it's finally lovely weather outside, this isn't a terrible view to have.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Day 82: Second in a series

The view from my hotel room at 11:00 PM. Or was it midnight? I can't recall.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Day 81: I know it's a cliché, but...

...this really was what I saw as I turned the corner off of the main street on which my hotel is situated. Even in the grey weather, la Tour Eiffel is still lovely to unexpectedly run into.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Day 80: I might not be the laziest person on the planet

But surely I must be in the top five? Hey, it was a long walk from one gate to the other, and I was wearing heels, and my briefcase was really heavy.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Day 79: A birthday lunch

Today was S's birthday so we had lunch out at Thali Too, a nice vegetarian Indian restaurant on campus. This is a cool projection they have on the back wall of the restaurant.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Day 78: What's in your wallet?

After arriving at JFK last night, I realised I had one US dollar in my wallet. Thus one of the first things I did today was hit up the ATM for some cold, hard cash. It was then that I realised that I have four currencies in my wallet - INR, EUR, GBP, and USD. Note the special Scottish five pound note as well; does that count as five currencies, then?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Day 77: How I get through my 7+ hour flights

I've completed the second of three major flights this week. The first was BOM-LHR on Monday, and I think the flight time was 9.5 hours. The second was LHR-JFK on Tuesday, which took 8 hours or so. And the third is Friday from BDL (Bradley International) to CDG (Paris Charles de Gaulle). I find my indispensible tools to get me through these flights are some reading material, the iPod, and some stationery. Today at LHR I bought some gorgeous writing paper and envelopes at Smythson of Bond Street; it's in the lovely blue bag tied with a ribbon. I can't wait to use it!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Day 76: Amul does it again

As I took my last taxi ride through Bombay to the airport this morning, I kept my camera out in case I saw anything interesting to be able to snap quickly.  How happy was I to get a chance to see this wonderful ad for Amul.  Amul is a well known dairy cooperative in India and they use the Amul baby in ads commenting on current events.  This is a precious ad on Obama's victory.  It made me happy all morning long!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Day 75: Relaxing at Marz and Aarti's

My morning was nice and relaxing...I woke up early after a nice night at Marz' parents' place. Marz, Aarti and Kyle were sleeping so I let them rest and the maid brought me a cup of tea, which I enjoyed with the Sunday papers.  The simple pleasures in life are often the best.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Day 74: Getting towed in Koregaon Park

I was kidnapped - by relatives only, don't worry - on Friday afternoon and thus unexpectedly stayed the night in the suburbs of Pune. Once everyone finally got ready to go this morning, and after a long journey that involved me being left alone for an hour with a nice girl who spoke no English (but we seemed to have a lot to talk about anyway), I finally reached Koregaon Park around 2PM (four hours later than I had hoped). Mangesh parked the bike outside German Bakery so that we could pick up my mobile, and ten minutes later, the bike was nowhere to be seen. We instantly realised it had been picked up by the municipal corporation because it had been parked in a no-parking zone. Not that it had been signposted or anything; you're just meant to know these things. Anyway, so this was a regular occurrence when I lived in Pune in 2004, and it just meant taking a rik to where the bike was meant to be held. Once the truck (in the photo) was full with illegally parked bikes, it came to this lot where we paid off a small ransom to the guys holding it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Day 73: Two wheeling action

Your intrepid heroine has had quite a trip to Pune so far. Today was spent first relaxing chez Irani, where I was served tea and nashta, then played with young master Kyle Irani before his papa Marz and I dropped him at nursery. I then went to the hallowed German Bakery for their famous apple strudel and chai. And then eventually, after much internet time, I was picked up by Mangesh for a trip around old Pune and then out to the suburbs. I had almost forgotten how cool it is to ride a two wheeler in helmet, no seatbelt, just plain fun. You might be able to catch a glimpse of me in the mirror...yes, I was holding on and taking photos, and even talking on the mobile at the same time! You know me, the ultimate multi-tasker, even without the Blackberry. (Health warning: don't try this at home.)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Day 72: Soumitra and me at Vama

Sorry about the poor quality but this is my nephew Soumitra and me. We are in a sari shop called Vama on Laxmi Road in Pune, where I bought a gorgeous blue and purple sari. I cannot wait to wear it! Sadly it will take some time before I can, because the sari needs to be prepared for me. For now I will admire it and imagine how lovely it will all be.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Day 71: Watching history being made

Although I am a day ahead of most of my friends in the US and the UK, I was lucky enough to wake up in time to watch the election results. Needless to say, I am overjoyed and thrilled. Watching my very own hometown on the TV was moving...I think the most emotional part for me was seeing everyday Chicagoans with tears running down their faces. It may sound twee or sappy, but I am so very proud to be an American. And although I am travelling from Bombay to Pune today via train on a very picturesque trip, there's nothing I'd rather post today than the photo above.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Day 70: Shopping in Bombay

Although I usually shop plenty in Bombay, today I bought something quite special. I decided to purchase some gold jewelry this trip. Last time I was here, the price of gold was phenomenally high, and it had come down somewhat since then, so I felt it was a good time to make a move. Also, as you know, we are in desperate times economically speaking, so I really do feel it's my job to do my part in turning things around. Thus I bought these lovely gold bangles. The photo doesn't do them justice...they have a quiet glow about them. I love them!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Day 69: The memsahib has arrived

After a frantic rush to Heathrow on Sunday, I reached Bombay without too much bother on Monday around 1pm. Luckily I was so worn out after the weekend, I slept nearly the entire flight. After having pav bhaji and freshening up at my uncle's house, I went to the Willingdon Club to relax. I was about to fall asleep in the library so thought I'd better get outside. I told my uncle I was going to take a taxi to the mall. He had a few words with his bridge partners, and suddenly I found myself not in a Padmini but instead in an airconditioned car with a driver (whom you see in the photo). Ah, I needed this.

*edited to make it a bit brighter, for my dad!*

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Day 68: Goodbye

Things I left behind in London:
my camera case
my cloche hat
my heart

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Day 67: Saturday night at the Pigalle

Saturday was a manic day. I first had to finish packing up the house in the morning, which would have been alright except that I slipped in the shower and found myself on the floor with my head against the wall. It wasn't pleasant, and I still am a bit traumatised by the experience. Anyway, so my friends Tracey, Rudi, and Gigi all helped me get packed up and sent on my way to London. After travelling through the pouring rain to Harrow, and then back out to Central London, I finally ended up an hour late for dinner. But it was alright once I finally sat down and relaxed. And following dinner was dancing at the Pigalle. Which, like the rest of the night, was amazing.