Well my first night’s sleep in Pune was hot! Even with the ceiling fan on I was boiling, but I didn’t want to sleep on top of the blanket because I’d probably get bitten to death by the mosquitoes. A couple of times in the night I was woken up by them whining past my ears! So I ended up sleeping with the blanket over my head too! I really don’t like the noise of them it really freaks me out! Yuck!
We got the keys to our new apartment at about 11am that first day. The apartment is a short walk away from where Tom had been staying, on the main road that runs through Kalyani Nagar. It is in a secure gated estate called Silver Oak Society. There are four apartment blocks that surround a small lawn area, a swimming pool and a club house. Ours is the first block you come to and the apartment is on the top floor, which is the 7th floor. Luckily there is a lift! On each floor there are two apartments. (Ours is the one on the left of this picture).
Each apartment has two front doors, one door leads into the main apartment and the other leads to the servant’s room that opens into the main living area inside.The main front door leads into a short corridor, with the servant’s room on the left and then it opens up into a large living space.
On the left is the kitchen, main bathroom and the first bedroom with an en suite bathroom. Opposite the front door through the living area are French windows that lead onto the first terrace.
To the left of the living space are two bedrooms opposite each other, both with en suites. One of these leads onto a large terrace that overlooks the main road and gets the sun, pretty much all day.
The terraces are the best part of the apartment! The views are amazing! You can see so much of the surrounding area. There are lots of apartment blocks around, as well as open green areas and lots of trees.
However the area is not quiet. There is constant noise from the road, cars, bikes and lorries all beeping their horns over and over. Some of their horns sound like joke horn sounds that you would possibly hear at a fairground. Some of the cars also have novelty reversing noises that sound like an old mobile phone ringtone, so far I’ve heard, the Titanic theme tune, Greensleeves and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star! Weird!
Tom had to go to work that afternoon, so I was left on my own. It was exciting to be in the apartment and I liked it all, but some of it needed a good clean. So I decided to brave it and venture out to the shops for cleaning supplies.
Most of the shops here are strange, it’s like going back in time to the forties to when the grocery shops would serve you; you tell them what you want and they go off and get it. One problem with that here is it that you can’t see everything they sell in their shop and it is difficult to explain to them what you want especially if you only know what the brand is called in the UK and not what it is here, e.g. Domestos is Domex here. The shop keepers also only seem to speak limited English; here they mainly speak Marathi (which is the language of this state, Maharashtra).
Just walking around Pune on my own was a bit scary at first, everyone just stares at you! It’s as if they have never seen a white person before or as if you are an alien! I just had to try and ignore it and try and walk around confidently even if I wasn’t feeling it at all.
On the way back from the shops, I got hassled by a small girl about 6 years old begging for money. It was quite unnerving because no matter how many times I said ‘Nahin’ (No), she kept grabbing my arm and walking in front of me. It was quite upsetting seeing her like that but I didn’t really know what to do apart from walk away. I felt really mean, but apparently you shouldn’t give them your money because it encourages more begging. The best way to help is through local charities that help street children and their families. I hope to volunteer at a place that does this type of work at some point.
The rest of the day, I spent cleaning one of the bathrooms, I was pleased and relieved when I’d finished but annoyed that I still had another three more to do at some point.
Coincidentally, my dad was also in Pune for business so we arranged to meet him and his work colleague for dinner. I always find it weird meeting people in places that I don’t expect them to be in. Like when I’ve met my mum or dad and my work, it’s strange because they are in the wrong setting somehow.
When Tom came home from work, we all met up at the apartment then walked five minutes down the road to a restaurant called Soho. I was surprised when we walked in there. It was under cover with open sides. It was very big, ultra modern, with comfy seats, soft furnishings and nice warm lighting. It seemed a million miles away from what I had expected to find in India, it looked like any funky bar/restaurant that you would find in central London. It was lovely. There was a choice of Indian, Italian or Chinese food. We all chose Indian; well seeing as we are in India it seemed silly not having some of the local cuisine. We all shared a starter, had a main course each and had 8 Kingfisher beers between us -all of this only cost £40! It was so cheap, but delicious.
Tom and dad had fun trying to order a cab back to dad’s hotel, because they couldn’t get the taxi operator to understand what they were saying. Around here, most taxi drivers are really bad with directions and don’t know where many places are so you have to give them a landmark to go by and hope they know it. The only place they seemed to know was the McDonalds, five minutes’ walk in the other direction from our apartment.
It was really good to see my dad and we had a lovely evening but it was really sad saying goodbye to him because it was like, that’s it, I’m on my own now. I can’t wait to see all my family again and I am looking forward to when they can come out and visit us.