Sunday 31 December 2017

Bannerghatta National Park

We were in a reasonably organised way as our plan to see the wildlife started. Our driver Arjun arrived and off we set at 8.30 prompt to avoid some of the city traffic as we headed south. We arrived after about an hour of travelling (40kms) which was quite an achievement in Bangalore.

Our journey to the ticket office was one of slight confusion. Non air con bus, air con bus, jeep, car, etc etc. We opted for the air con jeep only to be told that it was sold out until later in the day, but the new helper who turned out to be the a/c bus driver decided to intervene and help with the ticket purchase. 1600 rupees later we were heading to his bus ๐ŸšŒ which looked actually quite roadworthy! A promise of I'll save you a seat at the front was given, which immediately provoked what's a suitable tip in my mind!!

  




We set off in the a/c bus that appeared to have a temperature gauge setting but no a/c however the driver was to leave his window open all the way through even in the Lion and Tiger sections! I figured that if he got attacked he would be enough fresh meat to keep them busy...


The journey through allowed us to see deer (yes let's move on we know them from home!) getting a little more interesting when larger deer appeared but then the next section when we saw the elephant being ridden along the road it got more exciting. Shortly afterwards we reached the elephant park with perhaps 15 elephants visible. What a wonderful sight especially two getting washed by keepers in the shallows of the lake. Yes Milo wants one now as a pet.










Next area was the bear section - 60 rescued former 'dancing bears' - quite cute really. The driver took my phone and leant out to get more close up piccies...

The trip continued with a double gated entry to the Lion enclosure to which Max said to the driver 'your window is still open' I'm not sure that The driver's English/ Hindi and the Max's English had any form of equivalents. We carried on and found lions basking in the sun by their pond. Despite attempts from the driver to attract them over by revving his engine we couldn't convince them to move!

Tigers came next and we were again slightly disturbed that the double gated entrance was left open. Was this a lapse of security?!! We then saw keepers and maintenance people carrying out some work before arriving at the white tiger (being slightly camera shy but safely inside his enclosure!)

This was the best day of Milo's life he suggested as we headed back on the bumpy road to the zoo section.

Difficult to say too much about a zoo environment after we have experienced some of what are deemed to be the more natural ones like Chester Zoo but perhaps the most noteworthy were the wild monkeys that were raiding the bins and following tourist around much to Milo's annoyance.. A very large king cobra within an enclosure gave us an indication of what we might see in the garden!! Apparently they are reasonably common in the summer!

Finally a note about Carla's most feared experience - yes it was the stand up hole in the floor toilet...It's one to avoid if possible and the first thing done on our return was to have a big wash of feet and anything that was close to the offending piddle pit!



  
Editors Note: We think that this was the previous A/C coach before the driver fell off the road in it!








Saturday 30 December 2017

Santa has been!

What a relief for Max and Milo! Santa has found them . He managed to land his sleigh nearby and brought lots of exciting presents , leaving them next to our tiny tree.
Milo was pleased to see that Santa had drunk his milk and eaten the biscuit and his fears that the lettuce leaves were not enough for the reindeer were unfounded. All munched !
The boys still managed to wake up early and I think we were the only ones up in the hotel opening presents . Both of them are busy playing with their remote control cars while we sit on the balcony.




Friday 29 December 2017

Our furniture is getting closer!

The shipping container's travels (including the Xbox!)


Exciting being able to track the storage container on its ship which has been steadily making progress from Felixstowe to its final landing point of Nellore north of Chennai on the East coast of India.

This plot was taken as it passed our 'second/third' home of Sicily about 10 days ago.





The container was transferred onto another vessel in Oman and it's current position is south of Sri Lanka so only a few days more at sea before it gets transferred to a freight train towards Bangalore inland customs depot for inspection and hopefully release without too much bother (but this is India so we can't plan anything!).









Christmas Day with a difference

Well I'm glad to say that the Christmas Day delivery was satisfactory. The boys seemed to be happy with Santa's selection this year.













Once we had managed to get the pressies unwrapped and play it was almost time to prepare for our first Indian Christmas dinner. Not a korma in sight as we headed to the Italian restaurant below the apartment complex.. In fairness the place was pretty full of customers tucking into the special menu. As you might guess Mrs C had to have pizza at some point with a portion of lasagne for good measure!


The buffet was accompanied by a little glass of 'vino collapso' and a couple of beers for Mr C too. The pastry chef was very proud of his collection and stood proudly at his creations helping to dish up. It would rude not to try one of each we thought as teh plate was filled.








With a short walk 'home' to the apartment we were able to then start the catch up of Face-timing back to the UK now that they had caught up with Christmas Day waking up (5.5 hours behind us)
It was a slightly cloudy day so this kept tech temperature down to about 27 degrees - and yes we know what sort of weather the UK was experiencing so didn't try to rub it in too much ๐Ÿ˜Ž


Evening was spent in the apartment watching a film and catching up with the world over facebook.

Boxing day was a little different as we were on a mission to get to the Phoenix shopping mall before the crowds. We certainly managed this and we were some of the first to enter. Nothing like the boxing day sales in the UK and we were in found what we needed and out within a couple of hours.
Afternoon was spent relaxing by the hotel pool and enjoying the afternoon sunshine.  

   






Tuesday 26 December 2017

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve was spent sitting by the pool until it got too hot and Milo was hungry.
We have managed to work the BBC IPlayer and the Amazon fire TV stick so we then spent the afternoon playing catch up on the programs we have missed.
At about 5 o'clock, as every evening this week, we could hear the singer warming up in the shopping mall below us and we decided to go and watch instead of listening on the balcony- although it can be heard from inside the apartment too!
The shopping centre has four floors of shops, a cinema, cafes and a huge Christmas tree where there was a Santa greeting children and also the singing plus backing singers singing Christmas carols.
Once we have walked a circuit of each floor we went back to the apartment as Milo wanted to go to bed early ready for Santa.


Friday 22 December 2017

Party time for Andrew




Andrew has an office in an office block until the factory is built. He went to see if there was any post only to find the entire set of offices were having a joint early Christmas party. The place was decorated with Christmas colours and streamers. He was immediately invited to join in which was rather exciting. It involved playing various games including running,  a bat and ball game using cardboard and rolled up paper , collecting cotton wool balls on your nose with vaseline and lots of jolly fun! There was food and drink and general merriment.

Thursday 21 December 2017

Food shopping

Oh my goodness me! We went food shopping again yesterday and I feel ( Carla here) that I am now shopping in a more reasoned way and not frantically buying anything. Fruit and vegetables are so cheap , 20 p for about 6 lemons, 40 p for bag of potatoes so it can easily be done.There are lots of foods that you can get in Britain but you have to read the labels so carefully and this is difficult with two boys constantly asking for things as you go round - and Max keeps wandering off with the trolley. It was only when I got back to the room and although quite pleased with my lower shopping bill,  I realised that I have paid the equivalent of £8 for two packs of butter ! ( Lurpack) I did confess to the main wage earner when he returned from work that night but we obviously need to try the Indian butter and I need to get better at dividing by 100 to get the money converted from rupees to pounds!





Musical chairs

In order to live in India you have to register at the immigration office within two weeks of arriving. On  the advice of other expats, we were up early with bags stuffed full of food water ,iPads and toys , ready for our appointment. The whole family has to go and with previous knowledge of "are we there yet?" (Milo ) and "how much longer now? " (Milo) , we mentally prepared the boys for a long wait and a new experience . We all took bets on the way as to how long we would be - Arjun ,the driver, said 4 hours and various other hours were proposed ( some new friends were 6 hours!) and we set off on the journey through Bangalore to the city centre at eight o'clock.
The traffic was like any other city , queued, stop and start , except there are wandering cows on the road here. It took over an hour to get there so not too bad.We met an advisor who checked all the paperwork before we went in as they are not allowed to accompany us inside. So fingers crossed off we went to the building.
The first strange element was the guard at the door with a rifle propped against the door frame who pointed to the right of the room where there was a long line of people sitting on chairs. The chairs went along one wall and up to a desk where you could get a numbered counter. To get the counter everyone had to play a game similar to musical chairs. The person at the front stood up when told to get their photo taken and to get a token/ counter and then moved to the correct desk in the room. Meanwhile their seat was now empty so the queue all moved up a seat as did everyone down the line. It was all very ordered and pleasant and it meant you got to sit , also the system was fair. After half an hour of seat hopping,  we then moved on to the main waiting area. The boys started on their picnic  ( too early we thought but they reckoned they were hungry!) and we settled down to read and watch what was going on. The system now was like the post office within an electronic voice "ticket number 6 please "and so on. Andrew had not read it all properly as  the person with number 6 did not appear and we commented in a negative manner until ลตe realised a few minutes later that we had number six ,and seven ,eight and nine! So he dashed out off to hand in the forms . After another hour it was all done and we were set free and,  clutching the precious documents ,we surprised Arjun with a call for him to come and collect us.

The ‘house hunting’ saga

 Patience definitely required when house hunting as a family!


Friday 15 December 2017

The first week (sorry more photos to follow!)

We love India! The first week has been hectic but fun.

The Apartment 

Our  two bedroomed apartment is overlooking the swimming pool on one side and the buildings and road on the other so there is plenty to see when we are sat on the balcony.  The hotel/apartments are above a shopping centre that has a supermarket . It has everything we need to keep the boys fed and watered. They even let us bring the shopping trolley up to the room in the lift so we don't have to carry it !

Milo in Bangalore Airport Arrivals 

House Hunting


We have looked at about 25 houses on two different housing complexes. It does all become very confusing and we think that our driver is well and truly fed up of us making him drive around in circles. We had two different agents to show us round and their helpers so we looked a bit like a presidential visit each time we showed up at a house. Sometimes an agent had the same house on his list and the driver would point out that we had already been but we were so disoriented that we hadn't noticed! Luckily we managed to narrow down the choice to two or three and are currently in negotiations . Which ever one is the one , we will have lots of room ,sunny places to sit ,shady places to sit and   not enough furniture to fill it.

Play Dates


We have been here a week and already had three play dates with other children and their families. Everyone is friendly, kind and full of good tips. the children are confident and happy here and our boys disappeared to play as soon as we met them so that is really encouraging. We have eaten very nice pizzas with them in restaurants or as take aways so both boys are very happy.


Schools


Three schools were on our main list. The first one was very nice but a bit too narrow in their focus on academic achievement. The second one was friendly ,even having beautiful retriever dogs to help the children if they were upset. The third one was the winner ,with Milo sitting down with a class and asking if he could stay ! It is a very happy school with a mix of Indian and European children and teachers who were very approachable and kind . They let us in all the classrooms ( the first one didn't so we couldn't feel the atmosphere) and we even had lunch there ,which was the first taste of Indian food for the boys. They weren't too keen but were willing to try. They can take a pack lunch if they don't get on with the food but the school does provide a range of meals each day. We think with encouragement of the other children that they will have a go. If they accept our application then they will start in January . The bus will take them to school although it will take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to get there due to the city traffic but we will be able to track the bus there and back so we know when to pick them up. .they have a bus driver and two supervisors on the bus


The Weather

๐Ÿ˜Ž

It is perfect ! The current temperature is 29 degrees and it is very comfortable. The middle of the day feels hot but if you move into the shade it is cooler . It is t shirt and shorts weather although when she goes out , Carla can't wear shorts or have legs on show but it is not a problem as cotton trousers are fine . On the housing complexes it is different and acceptable to wear shorts but not in the city .

Saturday 9 December 2017









Monday 4th December 2017 - The Journey Starts





After a final flurry of manic packing, Carl turned up with the Micronclean Fun Bus (so called because you have fun and games when it breaks down!) 



We managed to squeeze all eight cases in and off we went to Manchester to meet Julie, Mal, Abbie and Joe, Grandma and Grandad for pizza.



Grandma had a surprise up her sleeve as she had baked a wonderful cake decorated with Indian animals.

                            


After another tearful farewell we went back to the hotel ready for an early start.

Air Emirates is wonderful. We went on a new double decker A380 to Dubai and it was extremely quiet and smooth with lots of entertainment. The boys were really impressed with their food which was very well thought through for children.
Dubai was warm when we landed, about 25 degrees, and we had another large vehicle to cater for all our cases. We had to keep telling people that we were not on holiday when their eyes widened at how much luggage we had.

Our arrival at the JA Palm Court was second to none. After throwing caution to the wind and upgrading our room to a sea view (we still don't really know how much we spent -We like to be spontaneous at times!), we were whisked to our room on a nippy little golf buggy that was like being on a mini race track. Our arrival at  the room was filled with laughter and shrieks from the boys who were riding facing backwards.





The next morning we woke to the sound of the birds and the sea,  it was very calming. 
As our room upgrade included all water sports and a posh pool area we decided to stay at the hotel rather than rush around all day.

After a quick breakfast sitting outside we sat by the pool and enjoyed the sunshine.


All the 3 boys went swimming, sailing and whizzed around the bay in a speed boat whilst Carla examined the design of the sun lounger for 2 more hours!






The day was rounded off eating pizza in a beautiful Italian restaurant. All was going well until Milo yawned a couple of times, asked if he could sit on Carla's knee and then promptly fell asleep. He usually is running around refusing to show any signs of tiredness very late into the evening and when we need to go out he falls asleep (predictably unpredictable!)





Update ! April 2024

  20 people sharing 2 menus! When we go to a restaurant, we seem to spend a lot of time trying to keep a straight face so that we do not ups...