Thursday, 28 February 2013


Today we officially rented a cottage in Bhowali.  The rent is $300.00 USD/month.  We paid up front for water for the year.  The nice thing is that the water comes from 300 feet down and supposedly requires no filtration.  Ram is skeptical, fearing the famous Delhi Belly.  I am the Ginny pig.  I drank water from our landlords tap.  

I was pleasantly surprised when we were asked for our passports and Indian ID (our OCI and PIO).  I am glad to see India securing her borders.  Too bad America does not care to do the same.  Now that we have an official rental receipt we can obtain local SIM cards for our cell phones and apply for some sort of Internet connection either Wi-Fi or DSL via a land line phone.  Again I am happy that India is so security conscious.  Speaking of that, we have found that is not advantageous to use traveler’s checks.  They are not cashed locally.  Not all cities have a bank where one can get them cashed.  The larger banks will not cash a large amount for fear you may be funding a terrorist organization.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013




Things that I have noted here in India.  Almost every American company is here,  McDonalds to KFC, Honda to Ford, Nike to Adidas....  you name it, it's here.  The Walmart brand is found in different stores and is made here in India.  Walmart stores are to come soon I hear. There are Indian soaps, movies and a couple of English channels HBO, CNN, BBC and a couple of others on TV..  Commercials are the same.  However Indians use creams to lighten the skin while we in America to go darker.

 India has a huge problem with the lack of and crumbling infrastructure.   Electricity comes and goes on a regular bases.  Most middle class homes and businesses have backup generators that automatically kick on.  Cable and wifi come and go also.  Roads are narrow and inadequate causing traffic congestion.  Road rules are not observed.  Whoever is the biggest has the right of way.  One often meets traffic going the wrong way .  Traffic is impeded by cows, bicycles and horse drawn carts
The lack of  and decaying infrastructure  is compounded by the fact that many companies are owned by the Indian government.  The following link will give you a list.  
The Indian government is slow, corrupt and to get anything done bribes are often involved.

 A lot of construction is done by hand and pack animals use to transport construction materials.  Her people make up for it with a can do attitude and unstoppable spirit.  This once socialist country has now embraced capitalism.  There are small businesses every where.  Some on mobile carts.
Construction mule and carts 
Mobile lunch counter
The one thing I do not understand is all the garbage that is every where.  I just don't understand. It is just accepted.  There seems to be no plans to manage it.  Forty years ago it was not a problem,, With the use of plastics and now disposable baby diapers the problem has exploded.   Gandhi and the Indian military have spilled their blood for this country and her people treat it like a garbage dump!

Monday, 18 February 2013


It's so easy to buy clothing here.  Yesterday, my Bahurani Sudha went to her favorite clothing shop in Haldwani.  I told them I was looking for a Salwar Kameez.  The sales girl pulled out the colors I chose from the shelf and laid them out in front of me.  I choose three that I liked and Bahurani found one she liked.  The shop’s tailor took my measurements and my outfits were ready the next day.  The fit was too tight in the shoulders.  The adjustments were made and available two hours later.  Best of all they had a sale, buy three and get one free.  I wound up getting a nice long woolen sweater also.

               Modeling my new salwar kameez

Friday, 15 February 2013


Patna, home of Bahurani Purnimina. is more than 5000 years old.  It is an unplanned city.  The known population is over 4.5 million.  Anyone can build any type of building for any use anywhere. My Bahurani Purnima's home is now surrounded on two sides with multilevel buildings under construction with a third planned on a third side. This building will also include retail space.   The front of her yard is open to a now congested highway.  Though her home is within a walled compound she will no longer have any privacy in her yard.   

Patna's infrastructure  has not been able to keep up with the growth. There is no garbage management or managed disposal.  There is no space to create a garbage landfill.  Waste ends up being thrown in the street or any empty space which is increasingly scarce.  This is becoming more of a problem with the new use of disposable diapers. Traffic is always congested and slow.    A dusty haze continuously hangs over the city. Bahurani says it takes her three days to accomplish what one day should.  There problems are immense.  In a city this populated and growing rapidly, where does one begin to address the problems? The government, mired in corruption, cannot manage.  What will it be like in another ten years?   It's just a way of life here.  People cope.  Those with means have created an oasis within their living spaces.                              
Patna traffic
Construction one one side of Bahurani's home

Oasis on the fifth floor
Gated home oasis

Construction in the back of Bahurani's court yard

Wednesday, 13 February 2013


 We are now in Bhimtal.  Bronchitis knocked me flat for a couple of days but I am much better now. Our house will not be available for one and a half months.  I am expecting at least three months Indian time.  In the meantime the owner has put us up in his hotel, Neelish Inn.  We have a one room bed/sitting area with a bathroom and dressing area. The balcony is available with three meals and two tea times, laundry, housekeeping and free slow Wi-Fi is in included overlooks Bhimtal Lake.   Best of all we have an unlimited hot shower, no bucket bath required and room service.  The price, $1000.00 USD/month.  I could get very accustomed to this.  However, in view the owner is getting twice the money from us, I can see where he may try and drag this out.  At least we have a base from which we can search for our long term rental.
Bhimtal Lake vies from our room

Neelish Inn

Monday, 11 February 2013


We have met with the landlord of the three bedroom cottage that we had originally planed to rent.  He has turned that cottage into storage for construction materials he is using to build a hotel addition on his property.  We informed him that when we agreed to rent that cottage it was clean and ready to rent.  We expected the same level of cleanliness with the two bedroom cottage he proposed to rent while the three bedroom was unavailable.  He suggested that we rent one of his hotel rooms with roomservice and all meals as well as personal laundry for $1000. 00 USD/ month.  He states his three bedroom cottage will be ready for us in one to one and a half months.  We agree to his offer knowing that it will be three months or longer.  He has no incentive to get us into the cottage we originally agreed to rent.  At this point we feel we have no choice.  We have imposed upon Jeevan and Bahurani Sudah long enough.  We have suffered a bate and switch.  We will immediately start looking for another home to rent.

Saturday, 9 February 2013


Today we went to Behimtal to see the house we have planned to rent OR NOT.  There is no refrigerator, hot water or water filter.  It is also musty and dark.  Also the landlord's representative could not turn on the lights and the landlord is out of town today.  We will see what can be done tomorrow.  I did not expect this.

Friday, 8 February 2013


We are now visiting Ram's nephew, Jeevan and his wife, Sudha.  Due to extended family complicated relationships they are considered our Son and Bahurani (daughter in law).  Jeevan is three years younger than Ram.  As children they were best friends and inseparable.  During the course of conversation we discovered Ram is actually three years older than he thought he was!  We all had a big laugh over that realization.

 Jeevan is an Ophthalmologist working for a charitable hospital here in Haldwani.  Bahurani Sudha works with him fitting glasses.  Interestingly, the hospital accepts all patients regardless of income level.  It's funded by an endowment, government and patient donations.  The hospital provides them a two bedroom home on the hospital grounds and a driver.  They run home in between patients.  We are in their private residence which is located about a half mile from the hospital.  We get together for breakfast and lunch at the hospital residence and then here for supper.  

 I'm still trying to learn how to cook Indian meals. I usually get invited out of the kitchen due to my elder status.  I am not allowed to lift a finger.  The stove is a sophisticated camp stove with three burners.  I have never seen an oven in any of the homes I have been in.  All have microwaves blenders and a refrigerator.