Tuesday, May 30, 2006


The Monsoon approaches. The last week has seen some thunderstorms, the electric fireworks accompanied with a modest amount of precipitation. This evening was no exception and there were a few flashes and rumbles after our swim. After getting changed we popped out to the corner shop, all of five minutes walk away. There were a few spots of rain, but since it is warm rain nothing to worry about. We were in the shop for about ten minutes, paid for our supplies, and headed off. The skies looked perfectly normal looking out of the shop door, overcast and grey as they were ten minutes earlier. Turning around and heading towards home revealed a different story: a wall of black lit up with violet lightening bolts. The only cloud I've seen as dark was last year's Birmingham tornado which passed fairly close to the UK office. That was wind, this was rain and this was bigger. Within a couple of minutes it was upon us. The picture shows the aftermath of walking for three minutes through the deluge. What it doesn't show was that we were soaked through within seconds. Only three or four months of this to go.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Budget Flights

I flew down to Hyderabad for the weekend taking advantage of the rise of low cost airlines in India. Like the UK, India has seen large growth in this area. It makes sense, there are large distances to be covered and the alternatives are slow. In my case the distance to be covered was 325 miles as the plane flies. The plane, an ATR 72-500, covers the distance in an hour and a half; whereas a train would take about twelve hours. India's trains are well worth the experience but are not so good for a flying visit. As with the UK the train doesn't always win on price - the first class air conditioned carriages in particular.

As the picture above suggests I flew with Air Deccan. They were one of the first low cost carriers in India, and happily my flight went better than this one of theirs from a few years ago! Many more carriers have sprung up: Spice Jet, Go and Kingfisher to name a few. Yes, the beer company now have an airline.

We were delayed an hour on outward journey. Pune airport is a military base with a civilian airport stuck on and the air force were playing with their toys. This was unfortunate as the delay meant Roshni woke up from her sleep and could see the planes through the glass wall of the departure lounge. The planes drove her to a high level of excitement and she kept trying to make a run for it past security and on to the tarmac. She nearly made it a couple of times. The return journey was on time and still during daylight hours. There's not a great deal to see between Hyderabad and Pune, but on landing I did see the Su30s responsible for the outward delay lined up and ready for action.

Hyderabad itself was fun. We went out to a restaurant for a meal followed by a quick drink at a neighbouring pub. It was more of a night club, but the addition of TVs showing the cricket and hookahs added some Indian flavour. We were staying with San's parents and it was my neice's birthday so Biryani was on the menu. San's parents have a mango tree in their garden, and as they are currently in season we got to eat some of the fruit. Much nicer than any mangos I've eaten in the UK. Waiting outside the domestic departures entrance to Hyderabad airport was a cow - very Indian.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

High Noon

The Sun is now more or less straight overhead at midday. That's not midsummer - that's when the Sun reaches the Tropic of Cancer. Since Pune is between the Equator, where the Sun is at the Vernal Equinox, and the Tropic it gets the Sun directly overhead sometime in between too. Shadows fall right underneath the object casting them: here's a photo of me and another one of a lamp casting a pool of shade.

As I've mentioned before it's pretty hot right now, here's how Roshni deals with the heat!