Monday, 28 January 2013


After a few days of the most glorious sunshine, Laredo finally succumbed to the inevitable and it started to rain, and rain, and then it rained a bit more. Fortunately for us we found ourselves in Tenerife off the coast of Africa, after our favourite travel agent (Montse) found us a very good deal for a week in a nice hotel on that island. Which meant that we missed the worst week of rain, winds and cold to hit north of Spain so far this year. We had never been to the Canaries so it was a really good escape.

Lush vegetation, a warm climate and lots to see..just the way Marisol and I like things to be. The volcano Teide, the cities of Puerto Cruz and Santa Cruz (Cruz is a rather recurring theme, and it means the Holy Cross), and the beaches in the south were all worth a trip. We rented a car and went everywhere, as it is a small island and one can get around the whole island in one day.

What stood out?

An Indian club, with a restaurant in Puerto la Cruz, where we had a heavenly Chole Bhature and Gol Gappe!
The rock at Teide where I stood and absorbed the cosmic energies and the views which were unforgettable
The amazing town of Orotrava which is built on a hill side and all the roads run straight up the hill at scary gradients. At one point I had such a fright looking down the slope that I turned the car around and headed back the way I had come. Not for the faint hearted that town, and not good for the good 'old' people of Germany and England who were out in numbers with their crutches and Zimmer frames!

Its a lovely place to escape from the north European winter.

To see 200 photos, a tour of the entire island click here.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Take it nice and slow!

The other day there was a chat program on radio and they were talking to someone who happened to have the opinion that the world was moving too fast and that the secret of health and happiness was to take everything nice and esy and to take our time and slow down. I forget the details but the person being interviewed gave several examples to illustrate his point why we would benefit from not being in a hurry. In particular I was intrigued by the mention of megabytes of data and the fastest possible internet connections being not to this person's liking.
Not being in too much of a hurry myself, I was inclined to agree that in general it may be true, but I could not help but smile that the radio  presenter had already given up to this person's views and did not even try to probe a bit further. My opinion on this is that there are somethings that just have to be instantaneous, and the fastest the Wifi connection at home, the happier I tend to be. Everyone has got used to the 50Mb connection and if the internet response slows even a bit, we all (even Marisol!) begin to wonder what's wrong.
They should surely have asked what would have happened if our eyes and brains took their time in processing the visual information that presents itself to us every moment while we are awake. Imagine we are going to cross the road, we look in the direction of traffic and our brains take it really slow and wait 10 seconds to process the image! wham and thank you very much.
Some things have just got to be as fast as possible.

Monday, 7 January 2013

The best and the worst of 2012

It is natural to reflect on the time that has just passed by, when we get to the end of a year and the beginning of another. While one always hopes that there would be more positives then the negatives in ones life, nevertheless everything is relative and some things are less pleasant than others. Of course I would prefer to dwell on the good things that happened in 2012 and hope for the best in 2013.

The economic situation of many countries in Europe and specially of Spain worsened considerably in 2012, and its heart wrenching to see so many young people without any prospects after the completion of their studies in Universities and colleges. Many of the best minds of the country are likely to emigrate, which is a depressing thought specially when one considers what resources have gone into the preparation of those minds. On a daily level too its very obvious, with lots of businesses closing or reducing their operation, and it makes for a more glum environment than say two years ago when we arrived here. The coverage in the media, of stories of corruption and the experience of many with the banking scandals such as the preferent shares adds further to the woes of the Spaniards.

Our own situation remains unaffected, thank god, since we depend partly on the British economy which is in rather better shape so far. One hopes that the politicians know what they are doing, which is a risky strategy at the best of times. My rule of thumb usually involves not depending on either the politicians or religious orders for any projects! So far so good.

On the plus side the arrival of our second grandson Nicolas (or Nico for short) has been a great blessing and we look forward to many years of enjoying their growing up. The Bhatias network continues to thrive on the Internet and long may it last and it is interesting to keep in touch with all their projects and experiences. More  plans are underway for this year and we hope to enjoy some of these in due course.

As in other years 2012 was also full of art projects which matured with great satisfaction and we will recall all these experiences fondly for the years ahead. There was the usual round of travels and socialising which makes for a feeling of general wellbeing and that somehow we had done somethings worthwhile. In particular Dubai and Bangkok were interesting experiences. The towering skyscraper skyline of Dubai is spectacular, with its tallest building in the world the Khalifa Tower, almost 1 kilometer high! Amazingly the oldest part of Dubai is only about 60 years old, or so it seems. Nowe that the construction of all those skyscrapers has nearly finished , everything looks great, except for one thing...its unbearably hot and noone wants to walk in the heat out in the streets.

In this the heat, Dubai has something in common with Bangkok. However the old palaces and temples in Thailand are in stark contrast to the buildings of Dubai. Earlier blogs deal with our experiences during the travel, including the discovery of the missing endorsements from visas to was really disappointing not going to India after all the arrangements had been made. Nevermind, we will return in March 2013.

And right at the end of the year there was the incident with the young lady who died in Delhi after a horrific ordeal. That put a glum luster on the end of year celebrations.

Still a positive year when health, wealth and happiness were all in black (using a banking analogy, though I am not sure its safe to rely on anything that smells of bank). Once again our best wishes for friends and family around the world. In the words of one recent email with a message, you all are our Golf Balls (apologies to those who have not yet seen the glass filling message!!)