The International Diner has a lot to answer for. This newly opened establishment in GK1, New Delhi, is the worst restaurant I have ever had the sorry misfortune of dining in. With some minor assistance from the loathsome Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), who seem to unrelentingly torment and test cricket fans on a near daily basis, this shoddy eating place has tried its utmost to singlehandedly ruin my February. A couple of friends joined my wife and me for dinner at the new diner earlier this month; the very same night three of us succumbed to chronic food poisoning. A couple of weeks later two of us contracted typhoid from the contaminated food we had eaten in this unhygienic eatery. Eating out is supposed to be an enjoyable treat, but this is not always the case in India. Our Friday night dinner outing certainly turned into a nightmarish debacle from which I’m yet to fully recover.
It’s a common adage that everyone makes mistakes but only the real dumbasses don’t learn from their booboos and keep repeating the same schoolboy errors. And it must be said India’s preparations to host major international sporting events definitely falls into category two. It seems no lessons were learnt from their diabolical Commonwealth Games fiasco and the Cricket World Cup has ignominiously followed suit … Eden Gardens stadium renovations not completed in time, last minute venue changes for matches, difficulties in purchasing tickets, ticket delivery problems, archaic security protocols (no digital cameras, lip balm or even sunscreen are allowed into many of the match venues) and, most shockingly, we see empty stadiums for almost every game the host nation isn’t involved in. In a country of 1.3 billion cricket fanatics this is nothing short of criminal and a serious indictment of the BCCI and the inane bureaucracy that thwarts cricket fans at every turn.
Despite the challenges of watching live cricket in India, Katherine and I overcame the gauntlet and joined a few friends at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in Delhi for a fun night out watching South Africa cruise to victory against the West Indies at the start of the CWC group stage. Lets hope it’s a sign of good things to come at the business end of the tournament towards the end of March.
My India Whitewater book project is progressing well. It’s presently marginally behind schedule, although the plan remains to try and have the inspirational coffee table book completed by mid-April and for it to hit the shelves by mid-year. Keep an eye on this website and www.aquaterra.in for further updates.
Travel wise it was a relatively quiet month, although I was also fortunate to travel to Orissa on a livelihoods assignment for CRS and I will be headed to the northeast early next month for some more work covering their HIV work up there. What I’m most excited about, however, is a weeklong trip to cover multi-day elephant-back safaris in Corbett Tiger Reserve during March. So, there are plenty of exciting travels and assignments to look forward to in the near future before Katherine and I undergo the daunting task of packing our life into boxes as we prepare to ship out of India in early April.
The next exciting chapter awaits us…