Nov 03

So this is my late good bye india post.
At the time i am finishing this draft, we are already back in Germany and ate our first Schnitzel on Saturday evening. The flight back home went more or less well (thanks to Online Checkin), even though the Delhi airport was very confusing… But lets do a little review for a few more details and feedback.

– Thanks to some other Koenig students, we found a proper tailor! As usual in India, everyone stared at us and the manager instantly charged us, asking us for our wishes. Being european, you are kind of overwhelmed by so much customer care, because you are not used to it. Fortunately the manager was very kind and spoke very good english, so we quickly felt comfortable in his shop, which by the way had western standard. We told him our departure would be in just 3 days ahead and asked if it would be possible to get a suit done in this short time. After a confident “YES, SURE!” we tried to find the right fabric, which took quite a while because there were millions to choose from. Next up we had to decide on a design and all the extras we wanted to have, followed by detailed measuring of my size. Two hours and a coffee later we were finally done. On Thursday, we went back to the tailor for the fitting of the jacket, which already looked quite good. We inquired to see the trousers too, which unfortunatly didn’t fit! Now it was going to get close for them, because there was only 1 night left to fix this. The manager promised us that there will be no charge at all if they failed to make this right. Next day (shortly before our departure)i tried the trousers again and they fit perfect. It was quite a challenge for them to create a complete suit in just 3 days, but they did great. So here is my recommendation for “Reid & Taylor” on Rajpur Road in Dehradun. The price for the complete suit was 110 Euro (6800 Rupees), most of it for the fabric.

Reid & Taylor in Dehradun

Reid & Taylor in Dehradun

– I followed my lovely wifey for some shopping at the market. We took a Tuk-Tuk and got dropped of at Clock Tower right at the start of the chaos. Welcome to the most annoying shopping experience ever. It’s common knowledge that men don’t like shopping, except for the huge electronic stores or some other special shops. This was pure madness. Imagine a shopping street, with just 5-6m width, thousands of small shops that basically just sold jewels, food or cloth… crowded like hell and on top of that motorbikes everywhere. They were either parked in the way or chasing you from all sides… and as usual supported by lots of horn sounds. I have no idea how people are supposed to buy anything or look into the show cases, being in constant danger! After endless hours of running around we finally got Sandra’s shawls. If you ever thought Frankfurts main shopping mile at christmas time is chaos, check out indian markets on Diwali.

– Fun note, we went into a bookstore because i had hoped to find some cheap english computer books for a few topics or programming languages.. but i was shocked because all i could find were old Windows 3.1 and Word 97 books 😉

Beware of indian firecrackers! I remember some years ago, radio announcements telling me not to buy firecrackers in the countries around germany like poland or czech republic because of unforseen explosions. We bought them anyway cause they were much louder than the german firecrackers. But you should really see the indian ones.. everytime you dropped a firecracker it caused a blast like a grenade and left over a crater.

Good Bye Madhuban Hotel! Special thanks to all the employees in the Madhuban hotel who brought us a newspaper every morning, made us scrambled eggs, made our laundry for a cheap price and cleaned our room without having a hoover. The room was pretty nice, not exactly european 4****, but clean, with a very nice view and a very comfortable bed. I am just glad we didnt stay at the cheaper Grand Meedos Hotel, which was located right at the street with all the noise and polution.

– I would also like to thank all the friendly indians we met there. With the religion permanently present, (pictures, statues and merchandising articles) everyone seemed very calm, friendly and relaxed. One thing Indians definately need to care more about is their environment. They have a very healthy way of life, only vegetables, no meat, no drugs… but the polution problem causes the deadliest diseases ever. Another negative thing to say is about the garbage everywhere, which often makes amazing temples and beautiful places look dirty und ugly. Not to mention there is a climatic change that will probably hit countries like India or southern asia FIRST!

Please keep clean !

Please keep clean !

– The Pizza Hut in Dehradun does not deserve our Thanks at all, because they were the reason for our sickness on the way back. Obviously the pincher Pepsi wasn’t coming from a bottle and kind of poisoned us. We still havent fully recovered from this.

Europeans, maybe it is because of being in a foreign country or maybe because all the indian people looking at you like you are an alien… but europeans in India seem to instantly bond with each other and get a conversation running. Usually europeans wouldnt talk to each other without apparent reason. This totally changed in India because everyone seems to be happy to find another ‘familiar’ face, which most likely shares the same experiences here and most likey speaks good english! So this Thanks goes to all those nice students out there, which became our friends or provided some company 🙂 Greetings especially to the peeps from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Switzerland, Netherlands and Belgium 🙂

Traveling back started very funny. On the way to the train station, our british mate got a phonecall from Koenig, because he forgot his keys. Being a little under pressure to catch our train, we still had to wait then for someone from Koenig to bring the keys. Being constantly under attack from beggers / kids asking for money or food this was a long wait. Finally a Koenig’s Sysadmin showed up on his motorbike and brought the keys 🙂
Then our travel towards home continued. The train was easy to find and the Koenig staff helped us with everthing. Thanks a lot for this! On the 6 hour train trip back to Delhi we have been watching Becker Episodes on my Macbook. Fortunately we had a power socket right above our window. Well we still had to monitor the socket all the time, because the plug was about to fall out everytime the train was shaking a little.
In Delhi we got picked up from Koenig Staff Members who spoke very good English and brought us to the car, which then took our british collegue to his hotel and us to the Delhi airport.
The Delhi airport was basically very good, except there is military checking you in and you have to fill out this immigration form again.

– Thanks to the early ONLINE checkin, we got our seats in the plane this time, which were in the very back of the plane. This was a lucky circumstance since Sandra was hit pretty hard by this nasty stomache problem and was basically camping the toilet the entire flight. I was able to sleep some and then we were back in Germany again 🙂
We took a taxi back home and were glad to eat our first Schnitzel the next day…

– The nasty stomache and diarrhea was keeping us busy for a total of two weeks.

– After all it was a very nice experience and most of the credit for it goes to the Koenig staff. Everything was very well organized and taken care off. I can recommend it for everyone who wants some adventure and experiences in a foreign country along with a cheap way to get some of the most accepted IT certificates around.

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Nov 02

Sandra & Marcel, Day 13

Today was Diwali, which is a major Hindu holiday in India. For this reason Marcel didnt have classes today (his trainer had left to visit her family) and i couldnt do any sightseeing because Rajan wasnt working either. Rajan and his mother invited us to celebrate Diwali with them so we went into the city to buy some sweets and flowers.
While we were trying to find a flower shop we came past the tailor we already heared so much about by the other students. Since the tailor was open we went inside to take a look. It was nice, clean and cool inside and didnt look much different than a european shop.
None of the ready made suits was exactly what we were looking. A nice guy came to our assistance and promised us to make the perfect suit and then started showing us lots of fabrics. I can tell you its pretty hard to design a suit just in your imagination and by looking at tons of fabrics. After looking through all the racks with fabrics we finally found one that matched our picture of the perfect suit. Now we “just” had to figure out the design, specials and extras we wanted to have and another guy came to messure Marcel from top to buttom and all around. Et violá the suit was basicly done for 6885 Rupees (3000 Rupees for the work and rest for the fabric) which was 110 Euro at todays rate. They told us to come back on Thursday for the fitting and we were really looking forward to it 🙂

In the evening Rajan picked us up at the hotel and we went to his house. After a heartly welcome and giving out our presents we sat down for some smalltalk and a drink. Then it was time to lighten candles which were brought to a provisorily altar in the kitchen.

Diwali at Rajans house

Diwali at Rajans house

Aftwerwards we sat down at the table and Rajans mother started cooking alot of different indian stuff for us. Unfortunately none of it was really our taste, like most of the food we had in india so far. Then she brought us indian sweets which tasted like pure sugar and weren’t our taste either. After dinner we went upstairs on the roof terrace to enjoy the fireworks.

Nov 02

Sandra, Day 12

The day started quite frustrating. Rajan picked me up at 9am and we went through my list of targets, but most of them were either closed because of Diwali (indian public holiday) or he never heared of them. So first we went to a temple in Tapovan. This place is extremely popular amongst devotees and picnickers. As per a popular legend, Dronacharya has done penance here. People were bringing gifts to the temple and singing, probably in preperation for the Diwali festival.

Temple in Tapovan

Temple in Tapovan

Next we visited Jangchubling Monastery in Dehradun. This is the central institute of the Seat in Exile of the Drikung Kagyu Order of Tibetan Buddhism. Jangchubling is a Monastery and an education center which emphasizes both traditional monastic education and present-day training to meet contemporary needs. Most buildings here were closed too but the buildings and area was still very nice to see.

Jangchubling Monastery - Drikung Kagyu Institute

Jangchubling Monastery – Drikung Kagyu Institute

Then we wanted to visit the Forest Research Institue and i was really looking forward to this one. Unfortunately the Museum was closed and so we only walked around in the hallways for a while and then went back to the car 🙁

Next Rajan wanted to show me the temple where he and his family goes to every week. Situated 7 kilometres from Dehradun is the famous temple of Chandrabani. According to the mythological beliefs this spot was inhanited by Maharshi Gautam , his wife and daughter Anjani who are worshipped in this temple. They believe that the daugher of heaven Ganga had manifested herself on this spot which is now popularly known as the Gautam Kund.

Chandrabani Temple

Chandrabani Temple

Since there wasnt anything left on my list that we could visit today we decided to go to the big market in Dehradun.
The center of cities activities is the popular landmark known as the Clock Tower. Constructed before independence, this six-faced tower might have adorned a prestigious position in the history of this hilly region. The market at Clock Tower is Dehraduns main market and it was crowded like hell because everyone was busy shopping presents and sweets for Diwali.

Clock Tower in the centre of Dehradun

Clock Tower in the centre of Dehradun

After one hour on the market i had enough for one day (this was worse than Frankfurts main shopping mile on Christmas day) and Rajan brought me back to the hotel.

Nov 02

Sandra, Day 11

As usual Rajan picked me up at 9am and we started our journey towards Rishikesh. First of all i wanted to visit the Rajaji National Park to see elephants and other wild animals. Pretty fast i found out that the Park wasnt really on our way and when we finally arrived after 2 hours the park turned out to be closed … 🙁
Another 90 minutes of driving and we arrived in Rishikesh. Rishikesh aka Hrishikesh is a holy city for Hindus and a famous centre of pilgrimage.It is also known as the gateway to the Himalayas. We had to walk over a bridge called “Ram Jhoola” to get to the other side of the Ganga, which doesnt sound exciting at first but it was freaking scary. As you can see in the back of the pictures this was a hanging bridge and the floor was made of wood. There were hundrets of people and even motorcycles passing the bridge at same time and it made the bridge bounce and swing which caused a funny feeling in my stomach.

Ram Jhoola Bridge in Rishikesh

Ram Jhoola Bridge in Rishikesh

We wanted to visit the Trayambakeshwar Temple at Lakshman Jhoola Bridge and had to walk like 4 kilometres along the shore to get there.
The Trayambakeshwar Temple is 13 stories high, with different deities throughout. We were not allowed to take pictures inside the temple but we walked up to top floor and then took some nice pictures of the area.

Trayambakeshwar Temple in Hrishikesh

Trayambakeshwar Temple in Hrishikesh

Long walk for a temple where we couldnt even take pictures and i didnt feel like walking all the way back to the car so we paid for a hell ride on a Jeep. I also didnt want to cross that scary bridge again so we crossed the river by boat on the way back 😉
Since it was getting late and there wasnt so much to see in Hrishikesh we were heading back to Dehradun and wanted to stop at Lachiwala on the way back. Lachiwala is supposed to be a nice picnic spot with water and surrounded by forest but the road was closed 🙁

Last but not least we visited the Gurudwara Nanak Niwas. Like in all Gurudwaras we had to take our shoes off and cover our head. Out of a sudden Rajan was gone and i started looking for him but couldnt find him. When i was starting to get worried he stuck his head out of some building and made a sign to come over there. Like always Rajan was hungry and he found the place where they hand out Prasad. Prasad is food which everyone can get there for free. So we sat down on the floor and were served with a plate full of food, which i enjoyed less than Rajan since it was almost cold, so he ate most of my potion too.

Prasad at Gurudwara Nanak Niwas

Prasad at Gurudwara Nanak Niwas

Overall i was a little disappointed because there wasnt so much to see in Hrishikesh, Rajaji National Park was closed and the road to Lachiwala was also closed. Hopefully more luck on next trip.

Oct 30

Sandra, Day 10

Today i needed to relax some and made an appointment for a Lymphatic Drainage which turned out to be some kind of full body massage … one thing you dont want to happen while relaxing is the masseuse pinching you in the side and telling you that you start to become fat :crazy: WTF less talking and more massaging please unless this massage is for free >:XX

In the evening we went out for dinner to “My Wifes Place” with some dutch students. I am still not a fan of indian food but this time the food was quite ok and i can really advice this place. You cant buy alcohol at this restaurant but we had a good time anyways and the waiters were wearing funny hats.

My Wifes Place in Dehradun

My Wifes Place in Dehradun
Oct 30

Sandra, Day 9

After two days of relaxing at the Spa and checking out the main shopping street in Dehradun it was time again for another Sightseeing trip.
Today i was all on my own since Kevin had already left India. Rajan picked me up at 9am as usual and we started our way towards Haridwar.
First we made a quick stop at Laxman Sidh Temple aka Sri Laxman Sidh Peeth. It is located near village Harrawala, 11 kilometers from Dehradun. Lakshman, brother of Lord Rama has meditated here to absolve himself from the sin of killing a Brahmin.

Sri Laxman Sidh Peeth

Sri Laxman Sidh Peeth

After another hour of driving we arrived in Haridwar aka Hardwar. In Hindi, Haridwar stands for Dwar of Hari, which means Gateway to God. Haridwar is a holy city located at the Ganges, also known as Ganga. Millions of pilgrims, devotees, and tourists congregate here from all over the world to celebrate the Kumbha Mela once every 3 years. They perform ritualistic bathing on the banks of the river Ganga to wash away their sins.
There is a temple on the hilltop on each side of the Ganges. The Chandi Devi Temple is dedicated to Goddess Chandi and is located atop the “Neel Parvat” on the eastern bank of river Ganga. The temple of Goddess Mansa Devi (literally meaning the Goddess who fulfills desires) is located at the top of “Bilwa Parwat”

On hilltop of Maa Chandi Devi Temple in Haridwar

On hilltop of Maa Chandi Devi Temple in Haridwar
Statue of Lord Shiva near Har-ki-Pauri in Haridwar

Statue of Lord Shiva near Har-ki-Pauri in Haridwar
People taking a bath in the Ganga / Ganges in Haridwar

People taking a bath in the Ganga / Ganges in Haridwar

After a fun ride on a Trishaw through the city we moved on to see some more temples near Hardidwar. First temple we visited was Vaishno Devi Mandir. This temple looked more like a european funfair attraction to me than a temple. To go through the temple you have to follow a given path and crawl through a dark tunnel. The temple was full of colorful pictures, idols and figures. At the middle of the temple my battery for the camera was empty, so we finished the path through the temple and went back to the car to change the battery and then go back inside again 😉

Vaishno Devi Mandir Temple in Haridwar

Vaishno Devi Mandir Temple in Haridwar
Temple or Funfair attraction ?

Temple or Funfair attraction ?

Next we walked to Bhooma Niketan Temple in Hardiwar which was just like another funfair attraction with dark tunnels, wallpaintings ect. I had to pay 35 rupees to take pictures inside which isnt much and better than taking no pictures like in some other temples.

Bhooma Niketan Temple in Haridwar

Bhooma Niketan Temple in Haridwar

Last we went to visit Bharat Mata Mandir Temple which is a temple with 8 floors. Every floor is devoted to a different theme but it wasnt allowed to take pictures at all. Because of this i forgot to take at least one picture from the outside :-/
After all this was a long and interesting day and i am looking forward to our trip to Rishikesh tomorrow.

Oct 27

Sandra, Day 6

The day didnt start very well, after several phone calls and 90 minutes waiting our driver finally arrived. Today we wanted to go to Rishikesh and Hardwar to see the pilgrims washing off their sins in the holy Ganges. After an exciting drive through the whole town we had to find out that the road was closed. We were very disappointed since this was the last day in Dehra Dun for Kevin. We started to figure out some new targets and the driver tried to bargin with the price, which wasnt acceptable for us 😉
So we decided to visit the Tapkeshwar Mandir Temple first, which is 7,5 kilometres from Dehradun. The temple is a cave housing naturally cast “Shiva-lings” that date back to more than 5000 years. The Hindu worship those stones because they believe that the godness Shiva dropped them on the earth. This temple area was huge and there was alot to see, pitty i cant post all pictures on this blog.

Tapkeshwar Temple

Tapkeshwar Temple
Hindu Ritual

Hindu Ritual
Old school washing

Old school washing

Next we wanted to go to Sahastradhara to visit another temple. While heading there we saw a golden cupola shimmering in the sun and asked the driver to bring us there first. As we found out it was the Gurudwara Nanaksar, which is some kind of temple where the “Sikh” worship their Gurus. Gurudwara means “the doorway to the Guru”. Before we entered we had to take our shoes off and also cover our head.

Funny hat party with my new friends

Funny hat party with my new friends
Gurudwara Nanaksar

Gurudwara Nanaksar

After some smalltalk with the Sikh dudes we continued our travel to Sahastradhara. The temple there was surrounded by hills with natural sulphur springs and a river which people been using as swimmingpool again. One thing that really drives me mad about India is that people throw there trash everywhere, which often makes a beautiful place look like a trash bin.

Sahastradhara

Sahastradhara

Next up on list “Robbers Cave” popularly known as Guchhu Pani. After passing the river without falling into the water we wanted to explore the cave. After taking our shoes off we tried to go into the cave but the stones just hurted too much on our feets, so we never found out whats in the back of the cave.

scary walk

scary walk
Robbers Cave

Robbers Cave

Next we went to Clement Town to see the golden Buddha Statue and the Mindrolling Monastery. The Monastery is situated on a specially chosen spot surrounded on four sides by the Himalayas and Shivalik Mountains, and the Ganges and Yamuna rivers. This place was amazing and there was so much to see. I took alot of pictures of the whole area and the monks, pitty we couldnt go inside the Stupa. On the several floors inside the Stupa are shrine rooms with elaborate murals excuted in the finest tradition of Tibetan Buddhist art. Sacred relics have also been placed in the Stupa. Anyways that place was still worth visiting and i got some nice souvenirs from the shops there.

The great stupa in Og Min Ogyen Mindrolling Monastery in Dehradun

The great stupa in Og Min Ogyen Mindrolling Monastery in Dehradun

The 31m high Buddha Statue was very impressive. The Statue was dedicated to the Dalai Lama and below the statue is a temple room with beautiful wall paintings.

Buddha Statue in Clement Town

Buddha Statue in Clement Town

Last place to visit for today was the Gurudwara Ram Rai.
This Gurudwara was established by ‘Ram Rai’, the 7th Sikh Guru. There is a legend behind the creation of this Gurudwara. The great Sikh guru Ram Rai was casted away for becoming the Sikh guru and he was forced to go away from his home town and settle down in Dehradun valley and then built the famous Ram Rai Gurudwara of Dehradun.

Gurudwara Ram Rai

Gurudwara Ram Rai
Gurudwara Ram Rai Courtyard

Gurudwara Ram Rai Courtyard

That was a great day but now i need to relax my poor feets and might get a Pedicure tomorrow at the Spa 😉

Oct 22

Sandra, Day 5

Thanks to Kevin (a student from Koenig) i got invited to join an awsome sightseeing trip. Our Guide named Rajan picked us up at 9am in front of the hotel. First we wanted to go up the hill to visit a town called Mussouri aka “Queen of the Hills” which is 2003 meters above sea level. On the way there we stopped at a Shiv Temple. Like in all temples you have to take off your shoes outside before you can enter. The people that entered rang a bell and then walked up to some kind of tacky looking altar, doing prayers, offering flowers and moving on to the priest to get blessed and some holy bread. It was great to watch this holy procedure.

Shiv Temple

Shiv Temple
Blessing Procedure

Blessing Procedure

After that we continued our tour up to Mussoorie and stopped the car once more to take some pics of a monkey mother and her baby sitting on a tree next to the road (not surprised anymore why you should get rabies vaccination with all those wild animals running around).

Mommy Monkey and Baby Monkey

Mommy Monkey and Baby Monkey

When we finally arrived in Mussoorie we went the shopping mile up and down. Comparing the prices of the different shops you could clearly see who wanted to rip off the tourists and who only wanted to earn money by selling to the tourists 😉 Anyhow in the end i found a nice shop to buy some Souvenirs. The view from up here is amazing and you can see a nice dust cloud of pollution over the valley. Worst thing in Moussoorie was the public toilet which almost made me puke XX( Lesson learned, less drinking on the next trip.

Shoppingmile

Shoppingmile
Shopping !

Shopping !

Fully loaded with bags of goodies we continued our journey, next stop “Kempty Falls”! This place was developed as a tourist destination by John Mekinan, after 1835. The name Kempty is coming from ‘Camp-tea’, as the Britishers would organise their tea parties here. When we arrived we had to go down through a small market passage and then use a trolley (which was kinda scary) to get down to the falls. The Kempty Falls are really beautiful, just a pitty the people throw their trash into the water and everywhere around. The citizens seem to use the bottom of the falls as local swimming pool. It didnt exactly look like a place i would like to have a tea party these days 😉

Kempty Falls

Kempty Falls
Indian Swimming Pool

Indian Swimming Pool

After another scary ride in the trolley to get back to the car we hit the road again, next stop “Dhanaulti”! A dreamy, misty mountain retreat in the Garhwal Hills 2286 meters above sea level. To get there was an adventure itself and felt like a hellride in a rollercoaster upside down. The “road” (dont think this would be called a road in Europe) was very small and winding with loose chippings all over and no protections at the cliffsite. It got even more exciting when another car came from ahead or cows standing/lying on the road. Once we even saw a homeless looking man sleeping on the street and had to try to drive past him. When we got closer to Dhanaulti the air became clearer and much colder and the view was amazing. When we finally arrived we had to pay to go into the Eco Park which turned out to be a view point and nothing else. We were supposed to see the Himalayas but there were clouds over the big mountains which was a bit disappointing after going through hell to get there. Well back to the car and back on the hellway again heading home :-/ And like our Joyride wasnt fun enough already “BANG” we got a flat tire, somewhere in the Himalayas far from civilisation (well real civilisation). Luckyly Rajan had a spare tire in his trunk. Well on the positive side we had some more time to enjoy the nice view and take some more pics before we finally got rolling again.

Flat Tire in the Himalayas

Flat Tire in the Himalayas

After around 90 minutes drives or so (i had made some flat tire comments) out of a sudden it went “BANG” again and we had another flat tire again. Fortunatly we ran aground in a place with an Ashram and a Buddhist Monastery so we used our opportunity and visited both of them while our driver was organising a new tire. Was a bit weird to see monks with cellphones, since i was always living under the impression they had to live free from all material goods. Well guess thats the new generation now 😉 In the Ashram we saw people getting blessed and eating happy pills errrr holy bread again. I have also made a nice video of this procedure, which i might upload when i get back home.

Visiting another temple

Visiting another temple
New Generation Monk

New Generation Monk
The 3 Stoodges chilling in front of the temple

The 3 Stoodges chilling in front of the temple

Finally the car was repaired and we were brought back to the hotel. That was really enough excitement for one day B)

Oct 20

Marcel, Day 5

As the driver screwed me last time and showed up a quarter to 9 and letting me wait for 30 minutes, i decided to try the new time and hey it worked. Not as it was supposed to, since a different cab from Koenig picked me up, but so what .. 🙂
Today i was asking my trainer about her name again and even got her to write it onto the board but unfortunately not in one of the corners, so we could keep it there. So it was like usual for teachers, “here i show you”, scribles at the board, “this is my name, got it? cool”, and then swiped it off the board again. So everything i can remember right now was something like Swali. For some reason it reminds me on How i met your mother.

Update: It’s Swati! 🙂

Well, either way i got to ask her a few questions that bothered me and here are the results:

– It’s unbelievable but Indians have to make a driving license too, yeah, even a test. They can also take classes to LEARN driving. I suppose that is no real business tho.
– It is not a law or in any way mandatory to sing in indian movies. Even though they do it all time because people like it.
– Power is not stable and power sockets suck a lot because the plug keeps dropping out all the time.. but at least the european plugs work without any adapter in between. I still think the multiple socket bar i got from the LIDL with extra overvoltage protection was a good invest.

Indian Power Socket

Indian Power Socket

– Oh and thanks to some friends of mine, i got a hint regarding my Lufthansa seat problems. If you ever need to fly, here is a plan for almost every seat and its type (good, bad etc.), every plane and every airline. This one is for my Lufthansa Jet: — See what seats you gonna get — . Thank you Ralf & James.
– At the 28th october, India is celebrating Diwali, a festival compared to europeans christmas and i am really looking forward to it. I found out it is the festival of light and they celebrate the victory of good over evil. People will have lights around their houses, you will hear firecrackers and people trying to dye your cloth on the streets 🙂 Btw. I am happy to let you know they don’t sacrifice virgins, sheeps or any kind of creature for their gods… just candy will do! awsome religion 🙂
– In combination with the fact above i was talking about the breathtaking fire some indians make in front of their houses to burn something. My trainer said it is either still stuff from the last festival which was on the 9th october or already preparation for Dawali. Well we dumb europeans again, we still believe indians just sweep their garbage together and burn it to get rid of it.
– I was also asking about the Cows standing around everywhere. Are they coming from the wild? being holy creatures, do they live in the wild, get born in the wild? Of course not, i was told they have a real owner which cares for them 🙂

Holy Cow

Holy Cow

– The last info i got today was, that we could also book trainers from India and have them come over to Germany to teach us. Since noone ever has enough time to attend a full day training because we are usually too few to get the current work done, this could be an option. On the other side we would probably need to split such a training over a couple of days and sacrifice 2-3 hours a day of the normal work schedule.

The rest of the day was pretty fine. We went to Mc Donalds with a group of dutch students we met today. The McDonalds in India is kind of funny, it has only a very short list of burgers and its basically all either vegetarian or chicken. It also seems to me that diet coke does not necessarily replace sugar with sweetener, but you can also just use less cola and add more water! It wasn’t even black anymore! On the positive side it kept us from drinking too much of it, because it had ice in it which should be a XX( NOGO 😳 in India. The chicken burger were pretty much ok, at least for now, i can’t say for sure till tomorrow 😉 Then we went upstairs to the famous black pepper again for the usual drink of disinfection in the evening 😀

Black Pepper Bar

Black Pepper Bar

The day of my wife was a complete different story. I heard her using the word. LEGENDARY.

Oct 19

Mr. and Mrs. Kühn, we don’t have seats for you.

By Hoschie India, Traveling Comments Off on Mr. and Mrs. Kühn, we don’t have seats for you.

DAY1

We started by taking a taxi to the Airport which was surprisingly expensive.The fun started by the Lufthansa Quick Checkin Machine that welcomed us with an error message and refered to the Checkin Counter with real humans. Here we were at least able to drop off our 2 bags and were told to hurry to gate C14 which was a 30minute trip to a complete different corner of the Frankfurt Airport. Having tickets, but not having our booked SEAT numbers on them we were kinda worried and walked as fast as we could to find our gate in time.

Finally there, it already looked very funny. Having hundreds of indian people waiting there, with lots of fancy clothes on. We went to the counter, trying to get proper tickets, just 2 seats close to each other, freedom for your legs… Then the stressed Lady at the counter said the words that destroyed our dream of having a nice relaxing flight :

“Mr. and Mrs. Kühn, we don’t have seats for you. Would you mind flying tomorrow?”

As everything was booked and organized (well now i know we could have rearanged things), we didn’t take her bribe of 650€ per person + hotel + dinner and had to wait in the lounge for our names being called again. Sitting there for 30 minutes waiting for other people to take that opportunity didnt make us less nervous. Finally our names got called and we got our tickets with the freaking worst seats in the entire plane. Thanks Lufthansa, last time flying with you!

Lufthansa Seats suck

Lufthansa Seats suck

Well after some more waiting, slow boarding, a whole lot of chaos because the indian people weren’t happy with the Lufthansa seat plan either and made their own arrangements in order to get their somewhat huge families sitting together, the plane finally got started. The flight itself was ok, besides the fucked up seats where you cannot really eat (not like the food was any good) and your knees start to hurt after an hour being stuck below the front seat. On a positive side, the indian neighbour to the left was a nice guy and even understood some german. He helped us filling out a “register form” which was given out by the lufthansa personal. This little form needs to be filled out by you in advance to speed up things on Arrival Counter in New Dehli, so dont put your ticket and passport too far away. If you plan to fly to India some day pay attention now. The Form is full of weird checkboxes (with explanation on the backside) like (NRI, OCI, and some other i cant remember) … it is “NONE” for you.
In those 7 hours of flight, we have been watching some Becker Episodes on my mp3 player and were trying to ignore that kid 3 seats ahead, crying, whining and shouting with passion for hours! We could have also used the headphones to watch movies they show on the plane TV. One was a really new movie with Eddie Murphy (think it has just been in the cinema) and the other one was a Bollywood movie with english subtitles, which you couldnt read from 5m away on a 14″ screen. Anyway, something really nice on such a huge plane is that you won’t even notice you are flying. Even tho we started through rainy clouds, we never experienced any turbulences or this weird feeling in your stomach when starting or landing .

DAY2
We arrived in New Dehli at like 1am in the morning and the airport was way better than expected. This was definatly not a third world country airport, it met european standards and everything was clean and new. Our indian seat neighbour was telling us something about moving somewhere downstairs to find the registration counter. Here we had to stand in line and wait again. Then they checked our Passports, Visa and the Registration Form. You are getting kind of worried when this customs officer isnt talking to you for like 10 minutes and then starts a discussion about the spelling of your surname. But after a hard time understanding this guy (obviously he was just asking if this was our first time in India) we finally managed to pass his station and moved on to find our luggage. There is no much difference to Frankfurt here, except you wait longer. Our first bag appeared very fast which made the 30 minutes of waiting for the second bag a pain in the ass and we started to get worried that they might have lost it.

Dehli Airport Arrival

Dehli Airport Arrival

At the exit there were millions of indians waiting with signs that had names on it. Luckily we even found our pickup guy, who then gave us the promised letter from Koenig with further instructions and money in it. We stepped outisde of the airport and were stunned by the dust and smoke Delhi was surrounded by at 2am in the morning. It smelled like burned down woods and houses. Following our guide to the car we had to pass a parking place with millions of motorbikes and a soldier with a machine gun protecting another parking place with cars. Once we found our car, he woke up the driver and handed us over. Now we began our journey to the serviced appartment where we were supposed to stay until the morning. And here the real adventure begins. If you ever thought, the Crossroad at Hanauer Landstrasse on a friday noon is insane, you should try Delhi at night. The driver started the car and locked all doors. We searched for seatbelts but there were none. Then we passed a last control station where he had to pay for the parking place and moved on the streets. From what i’ve read somewhere, you don’t have to pass a test to get a driving license in India, you just buy it, which explains alot … I’m usually pissed when one truck tries to overhaul another one and blocks a single lane, but try to imagine the following picture: Driving more or less blind in Delhi’s dust and suddenly there are 4 trucks showing up in front of you driving next to each other on just 3 existing lanes without any kind of lights on 😉 It was really amazing and scary. You were also hearing horns all the time coming from everywhere. When our driver came to crossroads with red traffic lights blinking, he just used his horn a couple times to ensure the possible cars coming from other sides would recognize him in time and wait even if they have green traffic light. And thats how they do it all the time. For foreigners it looks like everyone is driving on every side of the street, they always blow the horn for every occassion… when they drive into a curve they blow the horn to signal they are coming. They also blow the horn shortly before a crash is about to happen and everyone seems to know what to do…
We reached our appartment at like 2:45 am after passing soldiers or security personal which was sleeping in chairs at some corner of the street. The appartment was ok for us, enough for the night and we got the promised 2 bottles of water and almost instantly fell asleep for the huge amount of 3 hours. At 5:45 am our cab was waiting outside to bring us to the train station. We made contact with another nice english guy there, who was also a student for Koenig.

Welcome to Smog Delhi at night

Welcome to Smog Delhi at night

Somehow the train station and trains kept reminding me on the “80 days around the world” movies. The train station looked more like third world country and so did the trains. We had tickets for the “business class” with AIR condition, but we still didnt have the trust to accept their breakfast. While traveling for 6 hours you can see alot of the wonderful countryside india has to offer, of course along with very poor people living in very small boxes next to the rails. Now and then the train had to stop for cows which were crossing the rails. Even though there were some loudspeaker announcements telling the current destination, we were worried of never finding the proper station for us to get of the train. Asking the train personal was of no help either, because its probably one of the jobs where they use cheap workforce which has not been trained to speak english. Either way, in the end another passenger told us that DehRadun was the end station anyway. After 6 hours of noisy traveling we finally reached our destination DehRadun.

Business class seats

Business class seats

In DehRadun we stumbled over our new english friend again and together we looked for the exit. The exit area was crowded with indians trying to convince you to drive with them or buy random stuff they were carrying around. Our cab driver from Koenig spotted us and brought us to our hotel. The streets were overcrowded with people and vehicles of different kinds and the traffic was a complete mess compared to european standards. Everyone was driving on every side of the road, motorbikes sneaking through every hole they could find and people crossing the streets on top of that. After some driving along the streets we were shocked when we saw a huge sign with of our hotel name on it and a huge ruin behind it, but luckily we drove past it. Fortunately it turned out to be a new building of the same hotel which was still under construction. When we finally reached our hotel we were happy because everything was better here. It was less noisy, well protected by lots of security personell and even though by far not german 4**** standards, it was still pretty nice and clean. After some dinner (chili potatos awsome!) in the hotel restaurant for european prices, we went upstairs to finally get some sleep.

Yummy Hot Spicy Chilli Potatoes

Yummy Hot Spicy Chilli Potatoes

Day 3
At 7:45 am my mobilephone interrupted our sweet dreams and we went downstairs for some kind of breakfast. While waiting in the hotel lounge for the cab driver to pick me up at 8:20am i made contact with 2 more Koenig students. Shortly after 8:45 am the cab finally showed up and we were driving to the apartment house to pickup a few more students. Driving towards Koenig we have seen alot of people on the streets, trying to sell stuff, carrying around things or making fire in front of their houses. I am not sure what or whom they were burning there or for what reason, but the smell was totally breathtaking. Here and there you see dogs running around, looking for something to eat in piles of trash and garbage that is lying around everywhere. Further we saw a cow on the street and everyone trying to drive around it. Koenig’s Building seemed to be in a nice area where lots of companies were building their own houses.

Koenig Location Deh Radun

Koenig Location Deh Radun

At Koenig i met my trainer in lab 17. I still cannot remember her name properly, but she seemed to be a very nice and helpful person. She started by teaching the first 3 Oracle lessons that day. In between we had someone asking for the type of lunch we wanted, and i choose something unspectacular — fried rice again. In the dining room i met alot of other students, mostly from the UK, one from the netherlands and a few indians. I think there were people of every age from 20 to 50 and all very nice guys. Once we finished that day at like 4pm, my cab driver brought me back to the hotel. The Koenig students meet once a week in a restaurant called “Black Pepper” and i was invited too. We met up with the other two students who live in same hotel as us to travel to the Bar. Here we made first contact, bargaining with Tuk Tuk – drivers to get us to the restaurant.. 30 rupees seems to be the upper limit, you shouldn’t pay more.

The evening was great fun with lots of nice european people and some indians. We had a blast and i think it was one of the best experiences here so far 🙂

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