My niece was orginally going to visit me in Bangalore during her Christmas vacations. But when I got sick last month I decided that I'm not yet set up well enough in Bangalore to be a good host to her. So I decided to go to Pune to visit them. Then tickets became hard to find and we had deadlines coming up at the end of the month.
Last week though, it occurred to me that one of the big reasons I came to India is so that I could meet up with family. I decided to chuck work and just leave, so I jumped in my friend's car (he was planning on driving to Pune for a wedding) and did the 850km, 17 hour drive to Pune. I didn't drive (though I offered) so it wasn't as tiring for me. The drive was okay; the roads were a mixture of amazing (for india) divided highways and smaller two-lane undivided roads that were in the process of being converted to highways. As great as the divided highways are, I'm still nostalgic for the small roads that go through a village every 20km. The divided highways are becoming as boring as america's interstates.
I spent Saturday with my parents, talking to banquet managers at various hotels to decide on venues for the wedding. That was fun and I'm actually pretty excited now. I spent Sunday chilling with my sister and nieces. Instead of taking a nice afternoon nap after overeating, we ended up watching a terrible movie. Then we went up one of the tekdi's (hills) near my sister's old apartment for a fast walk. It's such a luxury to be able to do that here. You can be in the middle of the city and just go up on these tekdi's for a walk or jog and escape most of the pollution. That said, there were some idiot kids on dirt bikes riding around on the hill. When we saw them they were on their way home after being yelled at a bunch of regular walkers (including my sister). I think it's awesome that the Pune-ites are so protective of their open spaces.
We came back and turned on the TV to hear about the tsunamis that had hit the region. It's crazy that there were three hours between the earthquake and the time when the waves hit the Indian coast. It sucks that our meteorologists didn't know to expect them coming. Though supposedly they had some information but didn't react fast enough.
Anyways, I didn't totally chuck work. I'm online from my cousin's place this week and trying to get a bunch of work done remotely (which I should get back to doing right now).