Ooty Chocolate, house hunting and the kindness of strangers…

Greetings from India!

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It is the evening of Jan 15. We arrived in the wee hours of Jan 4.  So we are what, day 11,day 12 in? The first 5 days are a blur to me now.  I remember staying up all night and sleeping all day.  Remember the condo was huge and that there was a city to be explored right outside our door but we were either sleeping like vampires during the day or walking around like zombies at night and we didn’t do much of anything the first week in. I take that back we did do some things…I just can’t remember what.

Ooty Chocolate. How do you spot a newbie in India? They’re the ones taking pictures of stores called “Ooty Choclate” and cows roaming the streets:). India is a whole different ball game my friends, different from KL, and different from anywhere else in the world I have ever traveled.  I have had my “oh my what have we got ourselves into” moments,
luckily those moments have passed and we are now very optimistic about our next few years here:).  I owe my excitement and positive attitude to my husband, who gives me way more credit that I deserve, to the Shell welcoming committee (nice, nice ladies who I think are as much fun as they are lovely) a sweet, kind woman that I had met only once in KL and yet who has gone out of her way to make time for me and hold my hand through my first days here and my introduction to the Overseas Women’s Club…..to the real estate agent who really listened to what I said about what I wanted in a home here and finding it for us! We are just a week and a half in and I am so excited about everything….truly and I can’t wait to be settled in our India home. Oh for those of you who keep asking, nooooo I don’t have a phone yet, long story short, we have to be registered with the FRRO.  Don’t ask.  But cannot get a sim card, cannot register Bruce into school, cannot do anything without this registration thing and we finally have all our documents to proceed with this task tomorrow.  Crossing fingers all goes well and I will have a mobile phone before weeks end! So now to the exciting news, our new home! Well, the house we’ll be renting to be exact, but it will be our home come Feb. 1 and we are most excited to move in and make it our own. But before I show pics of the house we chose, let me show you a couple of houses that we also looked at.( Update. FRRO took all day.  It is now Monday evening, Jan. 16….a long day but a productive one. I will be getting my mobile phone tomorrow and start interviewing schools for Bruce this week, yes!).  Now more on the house search.


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The Independent House…or the Rikki Tikki Tavi house as I liked to call it….
This house was a compilation of buildings all around the same size connected by yards and courtyards. Each building contained one bedroom and bath on the top floor,  then a shared area like the kitchen, or living room, or dining room on bottom.  So it was about four buildings, with one bedroom only on each top floor. This wouldn’t work for us as we didn’t think Bruce was old enough for his own building :-~  There was also a huge pool with a swim up bar…it was a “house” that had enormous potential but not for us.
As I climbed into the minivan our driver turned to me and said “madame if you choose this house you will need a snake catcher”. He then told how he had visited that home a few days before (his good friend is a driver there) and that he was present when the “snake catcher” captured a cobra. A COBRA!  To which I replied, “and you are only telling me this now???? After I wandered the whole grounds?”  “Yes madame, they already captured the cobra there was no need for you to be alarmed”. Hello? What if the cobra had a wife and kids? They could still be there….EEEEEK!!!!!!!  This cemented our resolve that living in a gated community might be best if we are to avoid cobras….the house search continued:)

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This house was located in the Prestige Ozone subdivision.
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Who needs a big yard when you have this ginormous park right across from your house?
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The rooms were large and bright….but we have alot of pool/patio furniture…and the yard was not big at all…yes, the park across the street was nice…but we wanted more yard, more yard..

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I could go on and on, and show you ten other pics from ten other subdivisions etc, but let me cut to the chase…this is our soon to be new home! This house was so pretty.  The owner put a lot of thought and effort into making it bright, roomy and comfortable.  All I could think of when we viewed this house was that it would be such a great place to relax in. And I can’t wait!  The yard is spacious and did I mention a jacuzzi on the rooftop? A mini waterfall in the backyard? A sauna? Heehee and the kitchen came with an oven!  Every single house that we viewed on our search was devoid of an oven.  Big huge sigh…….Feb 1 seems so far away, but that is our move in date and we literally cannot wait!

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Side view of the small covered patio area and backyard. Can’t see the little waterfall from this pic but it’s there:)  And below is the jacuzzi on the rooftop. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Looking forward to relaxing in the jacuzzi with John and a bottle of wine.

I can just picture myself in the jacuzzi after a long hard day………….no seriously I can picture myself there…

And we can picture our friends there too when they choose to visit! There are two guest bedrooms. One is downstairs that opens up to the beautiful front porch and yard, the second guest room is up on the roof that opens up to the jacuzzi area….Who will be our first visitors? We will also have a wine refrigerator up there too!

Now….my guest blogger….John.  Or as our friends in KL call him “Gentle John”.
Hello from India,
Finding a home here is a strange mix of simple and challenging.  The Bangalore housing market is quite stratified and the large population of expats here has really blown up the price of the reasonable properties, and more importantly, reduced availability.

This is really the wrong time of year to look for a house as an expat.  The best time is the summer as assignments are ending and expats are moving in and out in time to enroll their kids in school.  As a result, we have found that a lot of availability of the good properties is quite poor, with established areas only having 1 or 2 marginal properties on the market.

We really lucked out with Indu, who is a realtor whom Cynthia befriended.  She was able to understand what we were looking for, and she had some properties up her sleeve which we would never have seen without her help. Indeed, because of her, we were able to find the house we settled on, and we definitely owe Indu dinner and a round of drinks!

Like they always say, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”.

And those were John’s comments on the home search. A  few more pics of the new house…….I’ve deliberately left out the pics of the living room and bedrooms.  Want to wait until our furniture is in before I post those pics:)! The house has lovely furniture in it now, but I would rather post those pics when the house is “ours”.  Days are flying by, really going by too quickly….hoping my time here doesn’t go by as quickly as our time in KL did. Anyway, goodnight from India, we’ll chat again soon.

Love, peace and God bless!

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