Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Commuting in Bangalore

I'm not alone anymore in Bangalore. Two colleagues joined me, and now we have to share one driver. Twice a day, we almost have a fight. Everyone tries to sit on the backseat, because next to the driver, one feels much more exposed:

Here, our driver tried to overtake a lorry in a narrow lane, eventually he succeeded. This is an absolutely normal driving behaviour. Did I mention that there are no seat belts?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Culinary Ditch

Hindustan is a divided subcontinent - that is, India is culinary divided in North and South. The South is more vegetarian, here rules the chili and rice is the staple grain. The North lures with delicious breads, dairy products, the tandoor and my beloved lentils.

Last week, our customer made me work on India's Republic Day. However, I was rewarded by being brought to the Restaurant KAMAT* for lunch. The lunch menu was simply North or South. Someone had decided that I prefer North.

The plate on the left is South Indian, the one on the right North Indian. Although I'm from the West, I took an Eastern point of view to take the picture. Call me culturally competent around the compass rose.

* KAMAT Nandanvan, CSD Building, HMT, Jalahalli, Bangalore - 560 013.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Eres tú

My first week in India for this year is over. I have to stay another one, before I can get back into Toño's strong arms*.

Thanks to Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau, there is this thing called World Wide Web that helps us to stay in touch a bit, despite the geographical distance. E.g. yesterday, Toño sent me this song, to which he was listening in his teens. It's called Eres tú.

Unfortunately, Toño is down with inflammation of the middle ear and the drugs, which his GP prescribed him, knocked him further down. All I want, is to hug him and I can't. All I can, is send Toño this song... Piensa en mí cuando sufras, cuando llores también piensa en mí Toño.

* he's a swimmer.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Ryszard Kapuściński is dead

While being driven to work in Bangalore and just passing the Electrical Crematorium...

... I read the most appalling headline:

Yes, Ryszard Kapuściński, my favourite journalist is dead. He died on January 23, 2007.

No one chronicled despotism and strife in the World like Ryszard Kapuściński. Any doubt? Read The Emperor, Imperium or any of his books.

Who will now follow Herodotus' footsteps?

Thursday, January 18, 2007


I had some business to attend in Rome (this was our driver's ride:)

On our way back, we had quite a delay due to hurricane Kyrill, which is tormenting Europe. But we made is - as the flight attendant predicted when he said "it will be shaky but survivable". Aren't those people trained anymore?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

And the Winner is... (II)

Shortbus for best film of the year!

I've never seen anything alike. When have you ever seen actual real sex among the cast members and it's neigher pornographic nor arthouse? Or how would you make a movie that explores the question of Am I to be alone or am I not?

Go and see it now!

And the Winner is... (I)

Yes, its me* for knowing the song of Target's Christmas Commercial. I only learned about it when Mr.Mac brought me a parcel to the office:

Inside I discovered my prize, which was endowed by Michael:

I's a lovely card, totally wasted chewing gum and a notebook:
This notebook, featuring vintage cover images, is the ideal place to record your thoughts, notes, and ideas. The elastic band will secure all its contents and its compact size makes it easy to carry.
It's so good to be a winner.
* and Ms.Mac

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Schwupp Di Wupp

The Swiss German vernacular has some unique and brilliant terms. Surprisingly, despite all claims that Swiss are rather slow, quite some synonyms for fast such as schlegelawegge*, beed Wääg seckle, tifig, gleitig, hantli, hütt no!, wie s Bisi-Wätter, subito or schwupp di wupp. To name a few.

The latest, schwupp di wupp, is mostly used when things disappear (almost) unnoticeable. E.g. by the hand of a magician. Since a couple of weeks, I'm the proud owner of a device called Schwupp Di Wupp:

Schwupp Di Wupp is used for recycling (a favorite Swiss pastime). A lot of people use boxes and the standard Swiss paper shopping bags, to collect recyclable items (example). They are very robust, but unfortunately have their limits. Schwupp Di Wupp is specially designed to hold those bags in form. When on of it is full, one can grab the handles and take is to the recycling station. Clean, easy, efficient and very schwupp di wupp. As we Swiss are.

* literally: bat at the head, meaning as fast as a bat could hit your head.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Best Of Spain

What is it that I especially like about Spain? No, it's not the delicious wines & cavas, not the pata negra ham (now also available in the US of A), not that women still sport themselves in frocks and skirts, not the touching movies by Pedro Almodóvar, not the wide varieties of tapas, it's the Spanish feeling for extraordinary colours. Just look at such simple thing as a detergent. Have you ever seen a more beautiful box of detergent?

Saturday, January 06, 2007


A Subbotnik was a day of (compulsory) volunteer work in the Soviet Union. Today, Toño had his version of it, by participating in the yearly office cleaning at his workplace on a Saturday. He even brought some trash home, which was piling up in his office:

Meanwhile, I did the grocery shopping with my brand spanking new bicycle basked. My bike dealer of trust had assured me that one can carry six bottles of wine with it without any problems.

The ride home was not the problem, but paying for the content of it. The shelf next to the cash desk's conveyer belt was a tiny bit to small for my flashy basket. While I was unloading, the basket fell topsy-turvy to the floor. The eggs and yogurts lay smashed all over the floor.

The cashier girl was a real blessing (last night I must have finished my prayers). She mobbed up my mess in no time let me even replace the goods without having to pay for smashed ones.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Perfectly Blended

I had my first experience with Blended Learning today. What a total horseshit.

It's a course about Project Management, which should turn me into a Certified Project Manager (I hope the certificate will be impressive and flashy).

Today, I had a look into the syllabus and the course material. It's a combination, class room training, sorry it's called attendance workshops, and e-learning and e-tutoring. We, the trainees, are supposed to chat with each other and the tutors every Monday morning. We are also supposed to discuss various topics in a forum. Bottom line: the usual boring stuff on how to do the things right decorated as a Christmas tree. Wraaaah!

All I've learned about projects in life is that the only thing that counts is to do the right thing with a vengeance. I haven't seen anything about this so far underneath the fancy wrapper.

If it has to be blended, I rather preferred an Antiquary 21 Year Old or a bottle of Mestizaje. They are definitely the right thing without making a needless fuss.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


I've got a promotion. I'm now officially with all regalia a member of the pointy haired Middle Managment. All my energy will flow into being every employee's worst nightmare. I wasn't born mean and unscrupulous, but I work hard at it, and will succeed. My top priorities are the bottom line and looking good in front of my subordinates and superiors (not necessarily in that order). Of absolutely no concern to me will be the professional or personal well-being of my employees. I'm technologically challenged but I stay current on all the latest business trends, even though I rarely understands them. Nontheless, I promise to break the rules by not driving an Audi.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


We just came back from Majorca. We had an excellent and relaxing time with some fine friends. We even met a smart new one from Moldavia. She told us that the island is very similar to the famous Crimea. So if you don't want to reside next to Claudia Schiffer or your charlady, there were alternatives.

By the way, the sea was very inviting. Although the jellyfishes and the 18C/64F water temperature asked for a rather brief encounter.