Posts in Life
How to Live in a Foreign Country: Six Easy Steps

1. Clothes: As soon as you land you need to decide whether you want to fit in or stand out and LOOK like a foreigner. Sometimes the colour of your skin decides that for you. But all is not lost, a few casual adjustments to your wardrobe and you can fade into the crowd. The other option is easy: just keep wearing whatever you bloody like no matter what the temperature is or how many weird stares you get. This is called the permanent tourist method. 2. Food: Either start loving the food in local restaurants or LEARN HOW TO COOK LIKE YOUR MOM. For most of us the latter is impossible, so you're left with the more adventurous option - tolerate the local food and surprise yourself everyday with new discoveries. E.g. "Yum!," or "I'm never going to that place again!" or "Oh God the horror..." Beware: after several months your adventurous nature may disappear.

3. Transport: The most fun part of any new country is the unpredictable and new buses, taxi's, roads, and train services. If you are from a country with a horrible and inefficient system you will appreciate the calm monotony of a dependable service. If you are from a country with awesome transport you will hate it and need to improve your survival skills.

4. Night Life: If you manage to make cool friends in the foreign country you will go to to the best places in town which are awesome no matter where you are (seriously, anywhere). If you don't make cool friends then you can meet other losers like yourself and stumble around the foreign country in an adventurous and potentially dangerous (in some places) manner. This is also okay.

5. Weather: If you are very good at living in a foreign country and manage the first four steps easily, then I can assure you that weather is always a problem. If you are from a very cold country you will love the warm and unbearably hot temperature and bake yourself pink everyday until you fall sick. If you are from a hot country you will hate the frozen foreign land and wonder why God has forsaken these people.

6. Language: This is the deal breaker for most people. The most practical thing to do is to choose a foreign country where you KNOW THE LANGUAGE. If you are stupid you will not do this. Instead you will try to learn an absolutely new language and in some cases, new SCRIPT, and struggle to do simple tasks like buying bread and reading the menu. You are truly an adventurous spirit because after one year of this you will either become an expert or start hating this complex and mystical foreign language. In extreme cases you can just use sign language, with a calculator, and point at things (this is also part of the permanent tourist method and locals will secretly or openly hate you depending on how polite the foreign country is).

Mastering these six steps will make you an expert in living in foreign countries, and don't let the negativity fool you, it's actually awesome fun! (sometimes).

Or check out Nine Advantages of Living in the Third World

Bournemouth
dsc09373.jpg

My first few glimpses of the streets nearby. Suddenly the importance of weather forecasts has trebled, because it could mean the difference between freezing and sort of bearable (for me). In Bombay there's no need to check the weather because the temperature varies between 25-36 degree C throughout year, and during the monsoons it rains everyday.

Vegetable Sellers on the Train
vegetable-seller-3.jpg

All kinds of stuff gets sold on local Bombay trains, especially in the women's compartments: vegetables, fruits, safety pins, cell phone covers, earrings, rings, bangles, sarees, stationary, dress material, make-up, evening snacks, you name it. What caught my eye this time was the last of the vegetable stock being sold off late in the evening - past 9pm. Within a few minutes everything is gone, because almost every woman in the compartment has to go home and cook for the family.

Local Train Signage
alarm.jpg

Crudely painted stenciled signage from the relatively new Mumbai local trains. The 'Alarm' sign inside the compartment is pretty legible, but do the same in Marathi, and suddenly it is more difficult to read especially because it's partly scratched off. Alarm Signage Local Train

I can figure out the first and last word, it says apatkaleen (something) uplabdh. Then the arrow points to the footboard of the compartment door. A real puzzle, typical of the Indian government or should I say Railway authorities. I can guess it means 'In case of emergency (aapatkaleen) use this (uplabdh)' then the arrow pointing to the footboard. God only knows what it's supposed to point to.

It's an excellent example of the typical contradictions you face everyday in Bombay. The new trains have this cool new speaker system which announces the nearest station in three languages, and at the same time the emergency help services and signage are at this level.

Ramoji Film City
saloon.jpg

An entire city of film sets, from Bollywood and Hollywood to famous monuments and what not. Located in the outskirts of Hyderabad the place seems to be more of a tourist destination than a place for movie directors to find their perfect location. Apparently, it isn't as popular as it once was in the film industry, but it's still an entertaining experience. A bright red tourist bus takes you around the massive place, while a guide rattles off the number  of movies and famous directors that have chosen locations here.

tourist bus at ramoji

Hollywood...!

Hollywood sign

This is called Hollywood st. for some reason, where the houses look western, perfect for a scene in a foreign country :)

Hollywood st

Jimmy's Drive In

Jimmy's Drive In

The gas station near Jimmy's:

gas station near jimmy's

A train engine which says Texas Mail:

texas mail

The wild west area has several actors and stunt men who perform an entire action sequence, blowing up banks, etc.

saloon

Now for the more local, Indian sets! A fort, or it would be more accurate to call it the entrance to a fort.

fake fort

Chikatpally police station, although the set was dismantled to some extent, it was worth a shot :)

Chikatpally Police Station

A fake airport, looks like what it may have looked like 10 or 20 yrs ago. Completely outdated.

fake airport set

Inside the airplane set, look at the number of tourists!

airplane set

One of the several palace sets, lit up at night.

palace set

Giant creepy statues that line some of the pavements.

statues at night