Friday, March 31, 2006


Another brief post. It's Saturday tomorrow, take a look at the forecast temperature! This is when air conditioning and swimming pools come in useful.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Today was Holi: a festival and national holiday in India. Wikipedia has tells you all about it. Well, it tells you the significance of the festival but not so much about what actually happens on the day. And no, there weren't any special drinks, only sweet chai.

So, what does happen? I'm happy to inform you that the main activity of the day was chasing women around the lawn and pouring buckets of water over them. This is a fun festival. As well as buckets there are various water propelling weapons that come into play: pistols, pressure guns and plunger devices that work on the bicycle pump principle. Water on its own is a bit clean so lurid dyes are added. The colours are mostly water soluble but I have a few pink, yellow and blue stains despite showering and swimming. A chemical analysis of the dyes would no doubt prove amusing.

The apartment complex has some water points at the bottom of the flats. Today they were used for refilling the buckets. Since people coming to a tap were out of ammo the taps proved a useful ambush point. To avoid a soaking from armed opponents one had to rush in and control the tap. The taps had a length of hose attached and if you could grab this the enemy could be held at bay. These taps are very high pressure and provided excellent deterrent value once control was seized.

Interestingly circle strafing works in real life. Keeping a pressurised water gun trained on a bucket wielder, whilst running around them usually avoided a soaking and simultaneously drenched the opponent. DooM and Quake skills find a real world use - they're not a waste of time!

Here's some photos to finish up with. There are more here.

This is us after the festivities.

Here's the neighbours.

Some very colourful people.

Even the flowers were not spared.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A short entry: it rained today. Nothing spectacular in that for those reading in the UK, but it's the first rain I've seen since I left for foreign shores back in October. Just a few drops on the way to and from work and a proper shower for a few minutes in the morning. Thunder and lightening too. The forecast suggests that normal service will be resumed shortly. At least that will let us test the air conditioner: as soon as it was fitted the night time temperatures have plumetted.

We're off to a house warming party tonight. Apparently the house in question is not fully complete yet, but today has been determined to be auspicious so ready or not...

UPDATE: Back from the housewarming. The apartment block wasn't finished but the flat itself was more or less complete. Food was served outside under the building itself. This was on account of the enormous electrical storm that was raging around us. The storm had knocked put the power in the vicinity so illumination was provided by candles until the generator was bought online. Eating outside at night in a thunderstorm certainly makes an event that bit more memorable!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


It's the first of March, and that is officially the start of summer in India. The temperature has been heading upwards for a while already, the past couple of weeks have seen maximums around 36C. Nights are warmer too. In the middle of the cruel winter the mecury would dip as low as 5C, now it remains in the teens.

We've been air conditioner shopping. We're getting a unit fitted in the bedroom today, but the living room will have to wait a while. Since it is fairly spacious, and the cooling will be required during the hottest period of the day, two beefy (aka pricier) units are required to provide cooling. In the meantime the swimming pool makes a useful cooling device.

Like all electronic gadgets air conditioners come with their fair share of gimmickry. Ionizers that, according to the salesman, provide more oxygen. If true this would be worrying, stuff starts spontaneously combusting if you raise the oxygen levels too high. Fortunately ionizers in India are as effective as their brethren in the much missed innovations catalogue. Other interesting features are multiple setting memories: each family member can store there own favoured temperature and fight it out with a convenient 'one button' action. As opposed to just tapping in a new temperatue to annoy everyone else instead.

The India-England test series has begun. I'm not too hopeful of England's chances after the recent spate of injuries. They're currently 157-4 at tea on the first day - that's the kind of score that can go very wrong with a few quick wickets. Let's hope they reach the end of play without too much drama...

The picture is of my mum and dad's garden yesterday. It wasn't summer in India yesterday, it doesn't look like it was summer in Aberdeenshire either.