Friday, 27 April 2007

Jaipur - The Pink City

I've just come back from Jaipur, which they call the pink city, and is the capital of Rajastan. The Maharaja painted the whole city pink in 1799 for the visit of the Prince of Whales. They've kept the tradition going until now!

My boss and I went out there to present the findings of our project to our clients. The presentation went really well (hurrah) especially compared to the work done by the other consultants.

I spent Sat and Sun visiting the city and the forts in the surrounding area. Besides almost dying of heat exhaustion, the weekend was good fun.

Pics coming up soon (and, yes, there will be monkeys).

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Beach Near Marine Drive

Bombay is a peninsula, so is surrounded on three sides by water. I checked out the beach near Marine Drive, a posh bit of town near the tip of the city, this weekend. The beach is pretty nice, but I wouldn't go swimming in it. The sewage of the city pumps directly onto the beach. That doesn't seem to discourage everyone though.

Beach Near Marine Drive (1 of 2)

Beach Near Marine Drive (2 of 2)

I also saw a political rally in town, near the Taj hotel. The kid at the front was very enthusiasticaly waving the flag.

Kid With Flag

Monday, 16 April 2007

World Bank president

There is a great profile of Paul Wolfowiz, the president of the World Bank, in the New Yorker. As are all New Yorker articles, it's 2 pages to0 long and as thorough as can be without throwing in a cavity search.

The profile was written before the recent turmoil around Wolfowitz's questionable decision to promote his girlfriend at the Bank.

Friday, 13 April 2007

Fixing my bag

Everything in this country is very cheap (except rent).

My backpack's zipper has been broken for about 2 years. I like this bag, and never had the heart to throw it out (or perhaps I am just too cheap). I went into a store to get it mended in the UK, but they said that, for the cost it would take to fix it, I may as well buy a new one.

There is a guy who sells bag in a little stall next to my office in Bandra. I showed him the bag and, with the just the right amount of pointing and smiling, he figured out what I wanted. He fixed it in ten minutes, for 80 ruppes (about 80 pence). Even if the quality is crap, I can re-do it every 3 weeks and it's still cost effective.

Guy Fixing My Bag (1 of 2)

Guy Fixing My Bag (2 of 2)

Wednesday, 11 April 2007


I'm pretty sure that it doesn't matter what country you go to, taxi drivers will screw you. Fundamentally, there is such an asymmetry of information that the drivers can simply take your money and drive away.

In my case, I was jetting around the city last week looking for a flat. Stepping out of my office, I flagged a taxi and asked him to take me to 16th street (don't get too excited, it's not like in NY where all the streets have numbers and letters, there is only one street in Bombay with a number).

The taxi driver hummed and hawed, and eventually decided that, although it was far, he could take me for 300 rupees. I accepted and it was indeed a long drive, on the highway, and past the suburbs. He eventually got me there.

Walking around my office yesterday (looking to buy a corkscrew - impossible to find in this city), I stumbled on the 16th street flat. It was a 5 minute walk from my office. The journey would probably should have cost me 15 rupees.

From now on, I'm only taking rickshaws.

Monday, 9 April 2007

My first post


I have just moved from London to Bombay (Mumbai) and I will use this blog to keep everyone posted on life here.

I will mostly use the blog to post pictures, I think, but I will also try to capture some of my experience in this fascinating city.