Experiences

Happy Diwali!

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DiwaliThe AIG spent it’s first Diwali on the rooftop oohing and aahing at the incredible fireworks display put on by what seemed to be every person in Delhi. Felt a bit like a surreal tennis match as we looked left, then right, then back again enjoying our panoramic view from atop our home. Reports said that fireworks sales were down this Diwali, the AIG would beg to differ.

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Diwali Eve

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LightsAnxiously awaiting Diwali along with the rest of Delhi, the AIG managed to stop by a local market on the way back from the office and pick up a few holiday items. Apparently we were not the only ones with the idea of doing a bit of last minute shopping as the streets were filled with eager customers picking up flowers, gifts, and sweets.

FlowersLoosely translated to “row of lamps”, Diwali supporters often light small handmade clay pots signifying the triumph of good over evil. In addition to the lamps, homes and store fronts are often meticulously decorated with strings of lights, breathing a festive energy into the streets once the sun begins to set. This time of night is usually when the fireworks make their first appearance. Beware light sleepers, as they have a knack for running into the wee hours of the morning.

Shopping in Jakarta pt. 2

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Shopping in Jakarta is a study of extremes, you can find bargains on the street or shop like royalty.  Jakarta has some of the most opulent and glamorous malls you will ever see and whether you are searching for high end fashion or electronics you can find it all.  Mall culture in Jakarta is well established and malls are used in some ways a lot like parks might be used in other cities.  One local saying is that “the only parks in Jakarta are car parks” (parking lots) and while there is some truth in this, when the malls are clean, cool and entertaining the AIG understands the appeal, especially on a hot humid south east Asian day.

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Shopping in Jakarta pt. 1

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durianJakarta is non-stop, the city hums through all hours and the streets are full of vendors selling everything you could possibly imagine.  Most neighborhoods have at least one area that is the domain of the street stall and often the area is themed.  Looking for an exotic pet?  Maybe a bat, owl or monkey? Those are found around block M.  Feeling edgy? You can shop for swords and knuckle dusters near Glodok and then relax after your shopping with a fresh Cobra blood cocktail on Mangga Besar (it’s cheaper for Python).  Shopping in Jakarta can be an experience to say the least but the old and the new sit comfortably side by side, in part 2 we will show you Jataka’s malls, a consumer experience that challenges Dubai or Singapore for sheer opulence.

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Darkest Days

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Blackout-01One exercise in patience that everyone who visits India must get used to is the occasional absence of power.  What a few weeks of this exercise imparts on you is a rather serene acceptance to the situation.  Yesterday the AIG jointly experienced an eight hour blackout along with 300 million others as most of the north of India lost juice. Stop and ask yourself what chaos would unfold if the entire United States (excluding Alabama and North Carolina) went dark?  Here in India, a few commuters were a bit late for work and the newspaper headlines read: “India wins Bronze in the 10m air rifle”.

Update: Today we experienced a cut that affected 600 million people.  Some traffic jams were observed in central Delhi and we had a rather unexpected wait at the cafe for lunch.