Monday, January 19, 2009

Home again, settling down, back to work, yet part of me still in India.

The girls in their new Indian outfits a bit crumpled after being used as pyjamas!
Hi again,

The last time I wrote was from our hotel room in Delhi on the last day of our trip. We both fell ill and in the end spent practically the whole of our last day in bed. We were still feeling awful when we drove to the airport and the whole trip back was quite a nightmare. Luckily we got a two seat row from the KLM hostess who took pity on us at check in, bless her. Somehow we endured the return journey. We left at nearly 2 in the morning, local time (21.30h Standard European time) and arrived at Amsterdam Schipol airport at about 06 am, just on time to catch the nearly empty 07 am flight to Madrid. We arrived on time in Madrid at 09.30 to be greeted by a below zero temperature and a missing hold all. Unfortunately our main bag of Indian goodies had got lost on the way. It was retrieved later and we received it at home the next day.

Our Indian trip had been amazing but we now really wanted to return home. We were looking forward to seeing “the girls” (as they are often known at home) and my Father and to returning to our home comforts. Going away is great, but returning is even better sometimes. There are no bed, nor pillow better than yours at home. And that is always the case.

We were received with open arms and with much love. What a wonderful family we have. The house was in a good state and I certainly could not notice there had been any parties; although I’m sure there were. Only one washing machine load had been put on in our absence, no ironing took place and the Christmas decorations were still up. Apart from that, everything was ok.

As soon as we arrived we opened our suitcases in the lounge to give out the goodies we had in them, as the others were in the hold all in lost luggage.

It seems our choices were ok as everything was received with good grace and happy smiles. We had brought back Indian costumes, newspapers, incense, bangles, shawls, baggy trousers, calendars, ornaments, all of which have been put to full use.

We also brought back lots of miniature paintings on silk and a set of Hindu God posters to put on the walls of one of the staircases as well Indian and Nepalese music and films; for example the famous trilogy, Fire, Earth and Water by the Indian woman Director, Deepa Mehta. I had seen Water which I adored and now will see the rest of this trilogy which focuses on some taboo and sensitive subjects in Indian society, such as widows in rural India, homosexuality, arranged marriages and the religious problems that brought about the separation of Pakistan from India.
An image from the wonderful film, Water.
It took a while to get adjusted again and I think we are still adjusting. We keep talking about our time in India, much more than when we come back from our other trips. But it was lovely to come back to our home comforts. Olivia asked us what we had missed most. Obviously we had missed our family most as well as the Christmas period the journey cheated us of and most certainly our modus vivendi, one of the main parts being our walks and food. In India we were not able to go for long walks like we do here and we were in dire need of exercise.

We enjoyed the food in India, to a point. I have always been a curry fan but then of course I had only eaten curry outside India. It is stronger there and the meat is less tender and nearly always has bones. I love spicy food but every day for 17 days got a bit much. So it was wonderful to be able to eat pork, beef and fish again, as well as fresh and non spiced vegetables.

Apart from general fatigue and a bad stomach, I also brought back a nasty cold I must have caught from Mr. Lama in Nepal. Thus I needed a bit more time to recover before returning full speed to work. Luckily I had brought back some tiger balm for my niece Marta and had kept one pot for myself. It is a great oriental remedy for pain but also for a stuffy nose. I now wish I had brought back much more. It is a bit like Vips Vapour rub but stronger. Excellent stuff.
Tiger Balm (no tiger in it by the way!
The week went past quickly but was very intense. My return coincided with my company Yoigo hitting 1 million customers. I had arranged the staff celebrations but could not be there and had to content myself with the photographs. A big surprise was prepared the night before when the whole building was papered inside and out with A4 black and white copies with 1 million printed in big letters. The ground floor was filled with air balloons and at each desk station a celebration mug and balloon were placed. Shortly after the staff arrived they went to the cafeteria where they made a toast with Spanish “cava” and were served “chocolate con churros”. Then they all went outside and let the air balloons fly into the sky above the office, making a very pretty and spectacular picture, specially as it was snowing at the same time. It must have been a very magical moment. You can see some of the photos here on Facebook.
Balloons flying in the sky above our office in Alcobendas.
The next day I had lunch with my PR team and we celebrated the successes of 2008 as well as the 1 million customers. Thanks Gustavo, Carlos, Ludy and Blanca!!

Last week there was also time for some shopping in the sales. Ironically I bought myself a new camera which I should have done for the trip to India. I got the Canon Ixus 970 IS which I hope will live up to my expectations. It has 10 megapixels, but more importantly a 5x optical zoon. Soon you will see as I will be posting photos taken with the new camera here on my blog.

Soon it was the weekend and time for preparing family lunches and dong household chores. On Sunday afternoon I got very inspired and spent 3 hours clearing out and tidying my walk in closet. I don’t quite know what I am going to do with the stuff I have removed; either for the poor or when I get younger or slimmer!!

On Saturday night we took “the girls” out for dinner to celebrate our return. I would have “killed” to go to La Alpargatería but not all agreed. We ended up going to Mood in Majadahonda and a good time was had by all.

We also went out yesterday with our dear friends Roberto and Mari Carmen. First we went to the cinema to see the film, “Entre les murs” (The Class) by Laurent Cantet. It got the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and is France’s entry for best foreign film for the Oscars. It is about the difficulties of being a school teacher today in difficult areas and the culture clashes from immigrant pupils. I do not recommend it as it is rather long and repetitive and totally lacks a good plot.
An image from the film, The Class
We went to dinner afterwards to the only place nearby that was open, Hollywood. There was no choice but I must admit that onion rings and a brownie totally satisfied by craving for junk food after 17 days in India.

We have been home nearly a week now and it is a wonderful place to be but part of me is still in India. We keep saying, “this time last week we were …..” and soon it will be longer. I have been following Lou and Paul’s continued travels there and marvel at Lou’s experience with elephants in Chitwan National Park in Nepal where she rode one in the river and lay on its back. Oh to be young again and do something like that!
Lou on the elephant, what an amazing picture.
This week was also my best friend Fátima’s birthday but it was also the week my dearest friend Anne left Nokia after 12 years. She has opted out of the rat race to work as the marketing manager for her home town Salo. Anne I wish you all the luck and happiness in the world in this new stage of your life.

Cheers, Fátima, Anne and all my friends. Till next week,


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