Tuesday, May 30, 2006

29th May

29th May
It was another Monday again, and in the morning I was too lazy to wake up due to the nice cold weather. I finally pushed myself off the bed at 7:30 am. Had a light breakfast with bread and coleslaw. Made myself some tea to go with the cold morning. Hey, I am missing my morning newspaper here. Satish cooked the vegetable for the lunch, and then we left from home at quarter to nine. It was an hectic day in the morning. Also found lots of friends online. So was chatting with them for a while. Also uploaded some snaps on flickr , so copied the contents for the blog, which I had written yesterday . Later in the evening spoke to Shweta on skype and called up my parents too.. Then later called up Suhas on yahoo voice chat. Kind of a day of communication I must say. Today also happened to be Kavita’s and Sriku’s wedding anniversary. Exchanged a couple of email with them. At the same time forgot to wish some of my friends on their birthday’s. Sudhir, Ashwini if at all you are reading this, many many happy returns of the day. Came home at around 6:30 ate some tit bits and started to cook dinner. The dinner was over quite early today , by 8 we were done.
Then we decided to go for a short walk at the back side of our house, where there is a nice lake, and a beautiful castle. I simply love that place. Took some snaps of that and also of the sports complex which is on the way. It was quite a cold evening and I hadn’t worn my jacket. We hurried back home and called it a day ..

Monday, May 29, 2006

2nd Weekend at Galway

27th May 2006
It was the 2nd weekend here in Galway. Unlike the last weekend, which I spend in my friends place, I was very much at home. I wanted to spend it at home itself. I woke up pretty late compared to normal days, ie around 8 am. My housemate came into my room seeing me awake. We chatted for sometime and then went ahead to make the breakfast. It was a light breakfast, with some nice tea. Satish , my housemate doesn’t take tea, hence took some Orange Juice.
Later in some time we got a call from Rajiv, who stays closer to the city centre. There was supposed to be some program in a place called Eyre-square. So we headed out there. We decided to walk out there. It took us around 30 min. But more than the walk, we really enjoyed the beautiful scenery on the way. We clicked our way to the city. On the way we met an elderly person, who offered us to take our snaps together. He asked about us, and then knowing that we are Indians, told us that Irish and Indian come from the same clan, ie the Indo-Europeon clan, and Irish language also comes from Sanskrit Language. We were surprised to hear all this from him. He also told that Irish has lot of similarity with Marathi language. He was also aware that further south of India there is the Dravidian community. He didn’t lack the knowledge of the south Indian languages. He was aware of Tamil and Telugu too. Satish told him that his mother tongue is Telugu. We were very much surprised to hear all this from him.
By the time we reached the Eyre-square, some musicians were playing some instruments and singing some English and Irish songs. We sat there and had our energy bars, ie Mars Chocolate Bars, which we had carried from home. Then we checked out for Rajiv and Co. They weren’t out there, they had already left from there and had gone for shopping. We also joined them. For the first time I felt that Galway does have people staying here in numbers. I have never seen so many people at one place here in Galway . The shopping area is not too big, but all the shops and complexes are in the same small area. We were mostly doing window shopping. At one shop I picked some coasters which would act like a souvenir from Ireland and the tradition Key chain , which I normally pick from every place that I visit. Later on went to Dunnes Stores. It had a good collection of everything, I must say. I picked up a T-Shirt for my self and also shoes and sandals. I managed to get bigger shoes , which I don’t get at all in India, and the price for them was quite cheap. Shopping also is quite tiring, and we found that we need to re fuel ourselves, we headed to our friend’s place for a bite. Mr Khan prepared some good lunch for us. Before I forget, we had a interesting event at the Shopping complex. Mr Khan wanted to use the restroom, so did me and Satish. So we went to the restroom, and found that we need to put in 30 cents for the door to open. Also it needed only exact change, that too it would accept only 10 and 20 cent coins. So I went to the coin wending machine to get the change. Once I went back to the the restroom, I saw Mr Khan taking a U turn instead of going inside. He didn’t feel it was worth paying 30p to use the restroom....

We spent some time at our friends apartment, and then decided to come back home. We waited for a long time for the bus, but since there was no sign of the bus, we walked down home. It was a long nice walk. I guess I hadn’t walked this long for a long time …….and I hope I do go for these kind of walks more frequently ….

The next weekend is a long weekend and I hope we can do some thing fruitful.

For pictures, please check

Friday, May 26, 2006

Initial Days in Ireland..

The later days in Ireland have been quite eventful , in all respects. Right from the time the sun rises and sets.
To start off, the first day in office started off quite differently. I went to office with my house mate. The office
is barely 2 min walk from home. But being quite cold, it does take a toll. But any day, better than getting
stuck in the traffic jams in Bangalore. The moment I reached the reception and got a visitors card, my manager came down
running, and took me to a meeting room. After reaching home at Galway, Ireland, I had not communicated to anyone
that I have reached my final destination. Since there was no phone at home,I had to wait to call from office,
or email back. But being in the meeting straight away, didnt give me any room to call up or send an email.

The meeting was a startup meeting for the new project. It went for an hour and half. Later I realised that
our COO is also in town, and there is an all-hands meet. So after our project meeting, we went straight to the
cafetaria where the all-hands meet was held. The meeting went for more than an hour. So it was almost noon , that I
got a chance to go to my seat[ which was luckily already allocated ]. Had already received couple of emails, asking
of my where abouts. I quickly send an email to shweta, with just two lines. " Have reached , will call later ".
Then we came back home for lunch. My housemates, Sanjay and Digdarshan are quick cooks. They quickly made rice
and dal quickly and also some rotis. I hungrily had it. And then went back to office. There were couple of rounds
of introduction ceremonies with our other colleagues from the project. Then it was only email time with shweta.
I called up home and couple of friends that I have reached. Later in the evening , when shweta reached home, she logged
on to skype and had a lengthy chat. The voice clarity was amazingly clear. Next day I tried the same with
anup on yahoo chat. He managed to find a mic, and also a old set of ear phones and we happily communicated
without any financial cost and spoke for long hours. In this trip I feel that communication is quite easy.
Most of the reason being that, the time difference is only 4.5 hours. And a couple of email exchanges and yahoo
chats, conveys most of the message, unlike in the US where the time difference is completely out of phase.

The weather here has been very cold. The day is quite long here. The sun sets only after 9:30 pm at night and
the light will be there till almost 10:00 or 10:30 at night. It is quite a bliss to go for a walk after night.
It doesnt really look like night, just makes one feel that it is evening. The only problem is that is it bit cold
the wind chill factor also effects a bit while going for the walk. The other issue of the weather here is that it is
very unpredictable.

On friday evening, I had been to the shopping center for shopping and seeing the city area. Galway is a small place
comparatively. With population of just around 70 thousand, it is not at all big. But the folks here are feeling
that this place has started to get crowded. The other worry is the traffic jams. Well thats what they call traffic
jams. If there are more than 5 vehicles at a traffic signal, then it is a jam. Well, only if they had seen Bangalore
I would say that, the traffic here is even less than what is there in Bangalore on sunday mornings.
Though it is a small place, this place in no way lacks the number of cars it has. The primary mode of transport
here is cars. The bus service is not all that great. And thats the reason that the cab's make a good amount of
money. Thats not all, the cabs are the best ones I have ever seen in my life. I have so far travelled on Merc's
skoda's also. It is indeed a pleasure to travel on merc's.

The first weekend in Galway I had a pleasant experience. I went with my friends, who stay near the city center
and decided to stay over with them. First we went to Tesco. It reminded me of Walmart in US. Its been a long time
that I had been to such big shopping complexes. Later we went to their studio apartment. It was nice and cosy.
The best out there is the view from the balcony, which over looks the sea. It is a very pretty view. After a long
chat till 1 am in the night we decided to retire for the day. Next day was started quite late. I made some tea for
rajiv and me. Then we decided to go for shopping. I would say that I did more of window shopping then anything else.
Well , I did take a new mobile phone connection. We went in almost all the stores out there in the shopping area.
We also stopped over at McDonalds and had a quick bite. Then we saw a movie theatre. We decided to check the prices
for the movies. Da Vinci Code had just released. I wanted to watch the movie. So we went for the movie. It was worth
the time and money spent. Though I had read the novel, it was nice to see the entire novel , which I took a month to
read, being displayed in less than 2.5 hours.

Saturday was a nice and a pleasant day. It was sunny and also the chill was just right to roam around the place.
But Sunday was equally bad. It started with a drizzle in the morning, which was converted to heary storm,and bad
cold. The temperature had suddenly dropped from 12 to 4 . It was very very cold in the evening. We had to cancel
the evening plan of going out for grocery shopping.

Well this is in short what Galway, Ireland is. Will write more of the next week in the next few days...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

New Place... Ireland

14th May 2006, The flight from Bangalore to Chennai was at 7:55 pm. The Jet Airways flight was just for 30 min, and the moment we came out of the airport in Chennai, it was as if we were put into an oven.
We quickly managed to enter the departure area for the international flights. The Air France Flight was scheduled to be at 2:45 midnight, we were at the ariport at 9 pm itself. But we didnt want to get out of the airport area, thanks to the heat out even at night.

Finally after making some calls home updating about my status , at 11 pm we started for the boarding formalities. It was indeed a long procedure, the security is much more tighter as compared to my last travel. The line at the immigration was awesomely long. It took us more than 30 min to clear the immigration. At the Customs, I thought that I will declare my camera. But they kind of convinced me not to declare, since I am going to Ireland and NOT to US or singapore. I wasnt really convinced, but then looking at their laziness, though as much to take a chance, as I was not planning to buy anything on the electronic stuff in this trip.

The Lounge area after the checkin formalities was very good. And not at all crowded like Mumbai . We had a tea out there just to fight the sleep. It was not heavily priced also. For an international Airport, I found that the prices were cheaper. The prices in Mumbai Airport are simply ridiculous.

The Boarding was without any problems and we took our respective seats. I had decided to catch up on my sleep once I board. I did manage for the first few hours , but later I really couldnt sleep. I just kept on watching some movies being played , not with the intention. I didnt even out on my ear phones to listen. It was a very long flight, 11 hours .. I cant really say that the flight journey was very good. There were a lot of turbulence, not at all smooth. Also wasnt quite happy with the service. I feel that the service on Air India was much much better.

We finally landed at the Paris Airport. The moment we came out of the flight , I really felt nice. First of all to breath the fresh air, and secondly to feel the nice and chilled air outside. Yes it was quite cold outside, but just right to enjoy rather than to curse.
The Charles De Gaulle Airport is an HUGE airport. I never thought that Airports can be this big. It took us around 20 min to travel by bus from the aircraft to the Terminal. And the Airport is full of buses , like a Bus Station running every min from one Terminal to another. It was an great experience by itself.
We were dropped off at our terminal, and then we had to catch another Bus to go to the other Terminal. That took another 25 min to travel. The other terminal was really beautiful. I really loved it. Neat line of Shops and eateries etc. We exchanged some dollars for Euros and bought a calling card to call up home. The calling card was indeed expensive, but then at such times, cannot really calculate the worth of the phone calls. We roamed around in the Airport. I was a bit hesitant to take pictures out there, as normally they are prohibited at the airports. So simply enjoyed with my eyes only. Nothing recorded.

Finally went to the board the flight. It was a small aircraft. and withing two hours we landed at the Dublin Airport in Ireland. It looked like a small airport. The immigration took some time. He asked me all sorts of questions. Here in ireland they are quite particular of outsourcing the jobs. So we had to tell them convincingly that we have only come for training and we will be going back after a month or so. They even checked our return tickets to confirm the same. Didnt really have problems as such. But yes,it did take some time.

Finally after collecting our luggage , we checked out the timings of the next flight for Galway. We had landed Dublin at 2:30 local time and the flight to galway was at 6:30 pm. WHich means we had to wait at the airport for 4 hours doing nothing. We were quite tired of travelling and wanted to reach the destination as soon as possible.

We check for alternate means of travel. Found that there are trains and buses. Buses start from the airport itself and run every hour. The cost also was very less, 19 Euros, compared to 90 Euros by flight. The journey by bus would cost us three hours , but then we would reach galway, even before the flight would start. We wanted to reach earlier, not just faster. We were told that a cab would come to pick us at the airport. Hence called my friends in office and told them to cancel the same . For some reason it was not communicated, I later realised that upon reaching. We took the bus , which started at 3:15 pm .. The journey by bus was out of the world. It was one of the most scenic travels ever made by me. I wanted to take pictures every momenet. But then I thought, let me enjoy the beauty now, and later some time let the camera do its work. All the scenes on the way reminded me of the various hindi movies.. It was really really beautiful . The cities on the way didnt have a modern look. All the cities and town had the typical olden type buildings and shops. It reminded me of Goa, like the shops we have back there, especially the Portuguese ones.

I will take the pictures and post them soon.
Once we reached, we took a cab and went to the apartment. Our friends were waiting out there for us. They cooked for me a nice dinner , and had a long chat. Updating them with the events in Bangalore.

Next day I woke up at 7 am and normal routine started..