Well, I’m now back to India following my 28 day tour of the UK + Slovakia. It was a good trip, but I have to be honest, towards the end I was getting travel weary. So, back on the plane I went to good old Bombay.
The final few days in NI, were of course pleasant. NI managed to get a good result against a very strong Czech Republic team in Belfast and on Thursday the sun shone!! Not often that happens. Also, I had lunch with Cat and we, as usual, put the world to right. I think we should be First & Deputy First Ministers personally… I then dropped my Renault Megane back to the Hire Car company and headed for London. After saying farewells to the work crew, and catching up with Dan, Lexy, Tom, Andrew & Kate, it was on to the Jet Airways flight to Mumbai.
The flight was fine… though the food was pants. If that’s what they call Mash, then they need to be re-educated… shocker. The inflight entertainment was OK though… I think I got through four movies and six bottles of water (yes, I did visit the lav regularly too). We landed on time, just after 2300 on Saturday night. Of course, as my Indian Mobile phone still wasn’t re-connected (as it transpired, the office had forgot to pay the sodding bill!! Muppets) I was trying to phone my driver on my UK number. The first time, it rang… and rang… and rang… and rang out. After that, there was no response… and indeed, no connection to be had. After wandering around the arrivals door for about 25 minutes, and not seeing Bharat, I decided to phone the girls in Mumbai… neither of their drivers were working on the Saturday night.
So, at 0030, I finally agreed to a taxi journey form the airport at a massive Rs1400 (not forgetting the Rs100 tip to the driver)… I say massive, as by local standards,it was huge. Anyways, this wee Suzuki van thing turns up, with a wee seat in the back… in I bail, with the LTSB official travel advice ringing through my head "thou shall not use public transport." – Oh Dear.
Anyways, the wee geezer up front, who some people would describe as a driver, did his job and got me to where I needed to go… not without being a chatty wee guy. He was telling me where he lived, how long he’d been driving, how he liked the area I lived… I was sure I was never going to see the morrow. But true to his word, I got home… just. I say just, because at the very final hurdle – i.e. the corner at my apartment building – he managed to skid the car straight on, rather than taking a 90 degree right… I reckon we missed the other car by about 4 inches. Phew.
And so back to the flat… I discovered I’d gained two new sofas in my den room, dropped my bags & hit bed.
Upon waking, I spent an entire day unpacking and going through the debris of my apartment… the ensuite bathroom bin had been broken, a kitchen drawer had been broken and the bedding from my spare room was gone (!?!?!). Needless to say, I’ve now sacked my driver (the one who didn’t turn up) and I’ve asked for the housekeeping team to be replaced.
Back to work and it’s all gone fine this last week… on Wednesday, Susie & I headed over the country to Kolkata to see our operation there. I’m managing it also, so it was part of my regular trips over. The guys over there are ace, although we need to get their operation up to speed on the Group Operations way of life, following their transfer into my division. I’m also really liking Kolkata as a city. Once the seat of power for the British in India, it’s certainly more relaxed that Mumbai, and a whole lot more organised on the roads!!
And, so having finally returned to Mumbai for a few days… I’m sitting in my flat. I’ve succeeded this weekend in tidying up, purchasing a new tv for the den, and managing to remove my dependency on Internet Explorer. I’m currently using Opera as my web-browser and it’s going well now I’ve got over a couple of headaches. So… tomorrow is the routine again. And it’s time for bed. I’ve uploaded some pictures since my last update… so enjoy those. Take Care.