November 19, 2004

The Travel

It's been a while since I arrived here and it’s time to share some experiences.
I have been sharing accommodation with some of my co-workers. Most of the houses here are two storied and the stairs, which, are from with in the house, can be really dangerous for the babies of less than 3-4 years, if they are not supervised. These stairs do not have a proper door on both the sides and if kids move without supervision, the can easily fall down. However, I managed to find a single storied house. Otherwise, we would have had some real trouble while controlling our daughter.

The journey from Mumbai to Muscat was good but too bad from Muscat to London (Heathrow). In this LEG, I was sitting in the centre row with other passengers on both the sides. I had one old lady on one side of my seat and a boy of 10-12 years of age on the other side who was travelling with his mother, and incidentally she who had a frowned face. She was shouting at other passengers at the slightest provocation and caused a great amount of disturbance (turbulence in the aircraft???). At Abu Dhabi, the crew realized that there were two extra passengers in the flight and we all were expected to get down and again board the flight. The extra passengers could be located sooner nonetheless. These were 2 females who had a valid boarding pass but of some other flight (BTW they were allowed to board the plane in Muscat using the same boarding pass???)))

The service in Gulf air is not good. I did not get water because the air hostess was serving tea to passengers in other rows. The toilet paper was not changed because the available staffs were busy with collecting the ‘after dinner garbage’ (and there were only 3-4 staff).By the time I reached Heathrow, I was too tired and did not have any capacity to travel further. However the climate in London was good and the fresh air had refreshing effect on me. I took a bus from London to Nottingham and reached home by 2:00 in the afternoon (On 31st Oct).

The next day I was in office and since then I have been trying to settle down.

CapitalOne is a one of the prominent employers here. The facilities for employees are good. There are some vending machines for different purposes. We have a vending machine where we can charge our access cards with some money and later this card can be used for payment in other vending machines or canteens (at least I am aware of, there is a possibility that there can be many more). I usually come to the office by 8:00 or 8:30 AM and leave by 5:00 5:30 PM. Some times it can be later than this but very rarely it happens.Work wise, I am finding it OK and with English accent being the only challenge to overcome. There is a dress code applicable here and which many of the employees do not follow. Since I am here as a contractor, I follow dress code religiously with me wearing trousers and shirts daily (A shock to all my friends back home). I wear jeans only on weekends and not everyday.

Its getting cold nowadays. The night temperature is close to zero and sometimes below zero. Since breeze keeps blowing, you feel colder and have to use caps and gloves. (though still have to buy them). I use tram for my travel to and from office. Tram and Bus network is very good and we do not have to buy a car or two-wheeler for this purpose.We avoid going out beyond 7:00 in the evening. It’s not safe to be out after it gets dark. The crime rate is very high and punks are also around.

It snowed here last night. The falling snow was looking excellent under yellow-orange coloured street lights. A layer of snow was visible on roofs and gardens at dawn too. It looked beautiful.Some days back there was news in the paper. It was about a team building exercise carried out somewhere in UK. Since the team members new to each other, making a porn movie amongst the willing team members was taken up as a team building exercise and the makers were talking about ‘next time’. It’s one of the real weird stories.

The shopping malls here are full of Asians with Punjabi speaking people more in number. Most of the times I do not feel the I am not in India. If the shopkeeper is an Asian, he will talk to you in Hindi or some local language. Many are Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. I met some one and he introduced himself as a Pakistani. We talked and after some time I enquired about his native place in Pakistan, “Kashmir” was the reply. I took me a while to understand that he was from POK. After this I stopped talking to anyone about native place.

These days the news papers are filled up with stories of events in Iraq and Prime Minister Blair’s stand on Iraq war.More about it in the next text...

No comments: