Category: Travel

My experiences while travelling (abroad)

India days 3 and 4

The first day at Shimla was fine. The weather was fair but because it was so icy I had to make the 30 minute walk. Wow was that a shock to the system at 2100 meters up! Panting and heaving I made the walk in one piece.

I was glad to chat with Esem, a colleaugue from Amsterdam. He give me the first intro in how things work around here. Walking all the way round the other side of the hill we made it to the training centre.

After a quick introduction to the premises I was introduced to my teacher. Deepak is a quiet and concise guy and is explanations are spot on and very clear. I have a feeling he’ll get the best out of me yet.

The work was hard and the day long: there was a lot to cram into my my poor little brain.

To blow off some steam I met up with the other students to go out todinner. Thank goodness my first night out was at a western stylerestaurant. After a relatively fair meal we went to the hotel bar whereI got to know the guys a bit better. I especially liked talking toJason and Mike, two English guys also here for certifications.

With a nice glow in my face and a filled belly I gladly landed in my queen-size bed.

Day 4

Today was a little easier on the brain with subjects such as assemblies and setup features in .NET 2.0. Apart from that I helped him get rid of some nasty viruses on his laptop. He was really surprised how much I knew and I think he now respects me more than he already did.

It’s almost dinner time here, so I’ve got to wrap up. I’ll try and get the photo’s up later tonight.

One last thing: let it be known that my good ol’ bro (Sjoerd) turned 27 today. Hurray! Congrats dude, hope you had a great day.

My Trip To India – part one

As many of my friends and family know, I’ve gone to India to catch up on my Microsoft certifications.

Now, comfortably settled into my hotel in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, I’m ready to get my learn on.

It’s been an interesting trip to say the least.

Food poisoned by the in-flight meal (thanks to a flight attendants’ quick thinking I killed the nasty bugs with a few glasses of non-bubbly coca cola to kill the germs). I then arrived at to 2 am in the morning only to be driven to a shady rundown “service apartment” in a very slummy area of New Delhi. After waking up everybody from my phone list I managed to get a ride to my actual hotel and settled in at 4 a.m. sheesh.

Although I had a scheduled tour of Delhi at 9:30 I kindly asked the concierge to pick me up at 12 so I could get myself some shut eye.

Nice and refreshed the next day I was taken for a tour of Delhi. The guide quickly rushed me through some of the sites, some of which I only saw from the outside because he dismissed them as not being very interesting. In actual fact he was just peeved that I didn’t want to dole my cash around at the obligatory luxury art & crafts store “Saga” where both he and the salesmen there were very pushy. Sorry I’m not very interested in a 900 euro rug thank you very much. Anyway, I did get to see the following:

Sad to say I only got to really visit the first three, my guide got fed up with me and told me that the others weren’t open to visitors. Naturally I tipped him badly, suits him right for begging all the time. In contrast my ever quiet and conscientious driver was tipped quiet handsomely. ;P

After an early turn in I woke to the sound of my alarm at 4 a.m. time to get ready for the train trip to Shimla. The taxi ride to the station was a breeze and the Koenig rep was very kind and very helpful, even offering to carry my 20 kilogram (!) suitcase up the stairs for me.

As for the train ride itself, it was more or less straight forward. The trip from Delhi tot Kalka was in a standard AC coach, but because of the reservation requirement no unsavoury types made it into the carriage. The two armed railway police travelling in the same car kind of made sure of that.

At 11:10 I arrived in Kalka where I boarded the real Himalayan Queen Express: a tiny small gauge train with 4 cars: 2 “general class” (wooden, no windows) and 2 “first class” (somewhat isolated polymer and glass windows). Thank god for those windows because as we rose up the mountain the coal burning locomotive couldn’t heat up the air enough. Cough.

The ride up the mountain was spectacular. With the plains stretching out as far as I could see, with deep ravines and eventually picturesque snowy white scenes it was a ride I’ll never forget. It was well worth the 5 hour ride!

Arriving in the hustle and bustle of Shimla station I pushed my way through the very aggressive porters and found my driver who took me up to my hotel. It turned out that I had brought the snow with me: it hadn’t snowed in Shimla for a while, directly attributed to global warming.

After grabbing a rewarding good ol’ Domino’s pizza (Indian style, mind you) I turned in for my first day at “school”.

More on my first day soon….