Mario Aguilar: Blog en-us (C) Mario Aguilar (Mario Aguilar) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:00:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:00:00 GMT Almost a complete year Wow,  today is September 1st which marks 365 days since we got on the plane and left NJ.  Crazy as I think about the fact that a year has gone by!  We have faced many situations throughout this past year, but overall I think we can say that it has been an experience! It does feel like the year flew by at a fast pace, so I am hoping the next one does too ;)

I just learned that there is a huge bus and taxi strike scheduled tomorrow.  Last time there was one, it was a joy to walk along the streets.  It felt like a scene from The Walking Dead as no cars and barely any people were outside.  Even though it has been a year, the constant honking is a nuisance.  This is where headphones and our ipods come in handy - these have become our best friends whenever we catch an Uber or at the gym. 

This past week Mariana decided to make tamarind popsicles!  We both grew up having tamarind as a refreshing juice during the hot summers.   Here is a link to Mariana's blog post.   We both find it interesting whenever our friends say "tamarind juice??"  I thought everyone drank it.

She also made an amazing tasty gluten free bread - as Mariana has to be careful and make sure she eats only gluten free.  MMMM it was so good that the first loaf was done in less than 24 hours! She baked another one that has survived for a few days lol

Over weekend we went to a charity event at the fancy hotel - Shangri-La.
The event was sponsoring an organization that helps children get away from the lives of prostitution and drugs.  It was heart breaking listening to the stories of some of the children, but it was great to hear that they are being helped.


As I write this, the property team is installing balconies in the back.  After living here for a year, they finally got around to putting up balconies in the front and back of the house.  From what I was told is that after bribing the correct people, they finally got approval to finish the job (after a year).  

These are some of the wires running along the back as they weld the pieces together.  It looks like it may rain soon, what safety? It all good here.


One a side note:  I am missing out on a lot of concerts back in the NJ/NYC area.  The one that I wish I could have been around for is Prophet of Rage.  As a huge fan of RATM and Cypress Hill, I know I would have been in that moshpit rocking it out as I did when I first saw RATM in 1997!

Here is a bootleg of "Bombtrack" 

(Mario Aguilar) Thu, 01 Sep 2016 16:57:35 GMT
Price for you is ... It has been over two weeks since I last write an entry, and currently I have some free time before I get back to finishing up some errands.  The weather has been nice lately.  A nice cool breeze flows throughout the apartment, followed by the quick passing rain shower.  I cannot complain as it is comfortable.  

So let's see what has happened since my last entry.  Well the most current event is that we sold our Expat-mobile.  The expat mobile is a Toyota Innova, that is mostly owned by expats or used to drive expats around India.  They are comfortable and spacious, but we did not need one anymore.  Since the day we fired our driver, we have been using Uber or Ola to get around Bangalore.  The fare is super cheap as it ranges from 70 - 245 Rupees, equivalent to $1.05 - $3.70! 

With the ease of having Uber, our expatmobile mostly stayed parked in our spot and we would occasionally use it for a weekend trip or an errand.  After putting up for sale, we had a few families look it over and one family jumped onto it quickly.  The car fits their needs better as they have two small kids.  I am happy we sold it as it is one less headache to deal with.

This past Monday was India's Independence Day, but don't think that it was all party as our 4th of July celebration.  To us, it was just another regular day.  Most of the stores were open and children had to attend classes as we saw them waiting for their school buses. Therefore it was just another day. Mariana went into work as she gets another day to use at a later date for vacation.  I met up with our friend and hung out playing Star Wars X-wing. He is an avid boardgamer who has introduced us to many games, X-wing being one of them.  It has become my favorite once a weekday hang out; we order food, have some drinks and escape reality for a few hours (and you do need something like this in order to stay sane here).  Finding set pieces for the game is hard in India as the prices are double or triple than the regular price in the US.  But I have some found some sales on Amazon India where the prices have been lower than the US.  

Over the weekend Mariana and I went to walk around Cubbon Park, which was the very first time we go to it! We took the metro that is located only a short walk from our home and it stops right in front of the entrance to the park.

After our stroll, we decided to walk over to one of the brewpubs - The Biere Club and have a nice cold beer.


Most of the breweries are nice but I do have a complaint: all the brewpubs in Bangalore are never consistent with their selection. Some days you may be lucky where all the drafts are available, only half are ready to be poured, or be unlucky by drinking a bad beer.  After visiting the various breweries, i have narrowed down where to get the best IPA, Wheat, or Tripel, of course each at a different brewery.  And forget about finding a good Stout here, they are water downed!

Now, why the title to this post?  Well, I will keep it short but basically if you are an expat, expect to be charged an exorbitant amount compared to a local!  An example to this is that we recently were in the mist of renewing our lease, as it is only an eleven month lease here, and we went back and forth to reach an agreement.  It has left a very sour taste in my mouth pertaining to the structure of negotiating and dealing with the landlord and vendors here. I have learned to give the following simple statement to a foreigner who is thinking about moving here for work: "You will be paying more than a local!" 


(Mario Aguilar) Thu, 18 Aug 2016 08:58:45 GMT
Peanut butter ! It is Monday evening here and it feels like the day just flew by.  As I think of it, the last 11 months have flown by!!  I can't believe that it is almost a year since we moved from Jersey.  I look forward to flying back in October to visit family, friends and run the NYC marathon!

Wondering how training is going here? is tough!  Running outside is not fun, as someone put it "It is trail running through these streets!"  Aside from the uneven payments, we have to be careful of potholes, packs of stray dogs, dog shit, cars, motorcycles, trash, burning trash, and more trash.  So yes, lots of fun!  So it is an adventure as we put in long runs.

So this weekend we went to the movies to see Ghostbusters in IMAX.  Something I do love about here is that going to the movies is super CHEAP!!  Ticket prices for IMAX ranges from around $4.50 - $7!!  But do not think that it is a crappy IMAX theater, I would say it is so much better than the ones back home!  Humongous screen with deafening sound system, just awesome!  The only crazy thing is that there is intermission and some censorship!!  What the hell?  Actually makes it laugh when curse words are beeped out.  I have gotten used to the intermission as you get around 5 - 10 minute break to go back out and refill your snacks or use the bathroom.  

My quick review of Ghostbuster ... it was HILARIOUS!!  I am a huge fan of the original (not the sequel as I think it sucks!) but I went in with no expectations.  I will even say that this version stands up against the original, maybe even better!  So go see it if you haven't yet.

This weekend two movies open up that we're excited for:  Jason Bourne and Suicide Squad. Back to the IMAX we go!

Before I log out here, I want to share a picture of something I love: bread and peanut butter!  Mariana decided to bake a peanut butter loaf and gave it a try on Saturday night.  Well it was completely done by Sunday evening!  (I did not eat it all lol we shared with others.)


It was a hit!  Using the home made peanut butter we make, she baked another one this morning before going into work.  Yummy in my tummy!  Cutting two slices and spreading some jam, it becomes a PB&J sandwich!  

Alright, till next time here is another picture from Japan.


(Mario Aguilar) Mon, 01 Aug 2016 16:13:32 GMT
Hello again! Wow!

It has been a long time since I made an entry to this blog!  I had a feeling that it would be put to the side as time went on here, but I was thinking of all the things that have occurred and it should share with all of you :).

So I will do my best to write often, even if it is a sentence.

Currently it is monsoon season with rain almost every day.  When the rain comes, it comes down hard!  Some days it would last only half an hour or the whole day!  Last night it began to rain around 6pm and did not stop raining till around 11am this morning.

I do not need to go into detail as I will share some pictures!  Enjoy!

You can just imagine the headache it is to get around this city.

But anyway, it has been months since I last write and many things have happened.  We have met people who have become really good friends, we fired our driver and maid, visited Sri Lanka, a few places around India, went back to visit family and friends in NJ, and am getting closer to finishing up my Master's degree.

It just hit me that August is only a few days away...last year at this time we were getting everything finalized with preparing for the move.  Time is moving by quickly...

Until the next time I log on and write something, enjoy the following two pictures from our Japan trip.  I will try to post up more pictures from our Japan trip at a later date.

The true center of the world!The true center of the world!The true center of the world!

(Mario Aguilar) Fri, 29 Jul 2016 14:38:21 GMT
Happy New Years! Happy New Years to all (six days later, never too late to say it)

We are back from a very awesome vacation as we traveled throughout Japan and Hong Kong (I will try to write more about it later).
I would have loved to have stayed in Japan, but couldn't.  I look forward to going again!

I had originally started the following post weeks ago, but did not get a chance to post it up.  So here it is: 



Growing up in the lively streets of Newark, all I knew of Thailand was this:

Yes!!  I recall all the Tiger Knees followed by Tiger Uppercuts as we played Street Fighter II.  

It was until many years later that I realized that Thailand has some of the beautiful beaches in the world.  Since we are on this side of the world, why not take a nice very long weekend trip?  So that's what we did!   

We spent a few days in Phuket as we beach hopped around the island, and spent a night at Phi Phi Island.

After all beach relaxation, we spent a night in Bangkok:  walking around one of their Red Light districts, which was a great place to sit down, grab a beer and people watch.  We also went to the huge Chatuchak market; it is massive!  We think we only saw maybe 1/4th of it all!  It is definitely a place to visit again and spend an entire day. 

The following are pictures from our trip;  I won't get into too much detail.

Till the next time:



Yum!  Pick your fresh seafood, watch them cook it, and eat a delicious meal!  ... Too bad we had eaten right before or else I would have tried some of those colorful fishes.

Beach hopping; each one with their own calmness and beautiful waters.



The waters so clear and warm.  

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At one of the stops, we rented a kayak and paddled out far, enjoying the sun and tranquility. 

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Even jumped off a boat, which I would never do unless peer pressured by all girls.  

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See those three green spots in the middle of the picture?  Mariana and Angie decided to just snorkel away and see how close they could get to the beach (Where they recorded a movie with DiCaprio - strategically named "The Beach" :)  )

One of the hundreds of super friendly cats that live on Phi Phi Island.


Relaxing on a rubber canoe, while being paddled around and through this:

One of the last stops we did was go to James Bond island, right after this the rain started, but at least we were heading back.

Back to Bangkok we visited a few Buddha temples, and shopped at Chatuchak market. 

The Golden Buddha - estimated value of $250 million USD

The Reclining Buddha.... This did seem very familiar, as if I had been here before....oh wait!...

THAT'S right!  It was Sagat's stage!  lol.  

Map of Chatuchak market; a shopper's delight!

Having a beer on our last night at the super small yet super crowded Cheap Charlies.

See you all soon!

(Mario Aguilar) Wed, 06 Jan 2016 09:02:33 GMT
Thanksgiving It has been some time since I last wrote something.  Mainly due to how busy it has been the last few weeks.  The biggest headache was that we finally received our sea shipment.  It arrived last Monday, but we have been busy with putting things in place, removing all these boxes, and finally feeling like it is our home.  Even Luna is happy that our sofa is back as she would love to lay on it all day.

Currently it is 1:10pm – Tuesday, and once again our internet is down.  Some days I totally dislike it here, especially when issues like this occur.  I do not understand how this city is called the Silicon Valley of India, yet they can’t support a reliable internet connection!!  Hell, they can even supply a good cell connection!  So now my plan to book travel details for Christmas is at a halt, till this “fantastic” connection is back up.

Therefore, this is the reason why I am here sitting down and writing this. 

Last week was Thanksgiving, so all of you reading this…Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!   …hmmm I just realized today is December 1st!   Wow!  A few more weeks and it will be New Years!

Getting back to my thought on last Thursday, it was one of the first days that I truly missed being back home and feeling homesick.  It did not help knowing that it was a holiday back home, and yet here it was just a normal day here.  It was nice to speak to family, so that helped a bit.

We did celebrate it here though as some expats had a dinner gathering this past Saturday.  It was fine and fun, as we get to know a few more people that are also here battling the small issues that are presented by this country.   The couple are originally from Chicago, btw my favorite city.  The husband has some common interests as me:  hockey fan, a gamer, lifts weights, enjoys math and an introvert – so a cool person. 

The prior week there was also another Thanksgiving feast at a 2 floor bachelor pad with swimming pool. The expats that live there sure are doing their best to accommodate themselves here, and help the locals – if you get what I am saying.  At first the party was attended by expats from the US and England.   There was lots of food:  turkey, stuffing, corn, pies, salad plus beer, alcohol – the usual Thanksgiving amenities.  The majority of the food was cooked by another expat who is from Long Island – I met her years back as we went to a Devils vs. Islanders game at the Rock.  And she is also part of the cat owner’s clan – she has three cats, two originally from the US.  So it’s nice to know another east coaster.

… It is currently 8pm Tuesday. The internet connection has been spotty due to the rain.  An option is to get a backup from the cell phone company.  Well time for me to post this up, and head out for a beer at one of the local breweries. 


Till next time…. 

(Mario Aguilar) Wed, 02 Dec 2015 15:00:39 GMT
Weekend trip This past weekend we went up to Hampi, in northern Karnataka.  
More info at 

It was about a six hour drive to reach, so our day started at 4am on Saturday.  The drive by itself was a thrilling adventure!   I would wake up from naps to see trucks coming head on in our direction!  Insane driving on these roads as those in a hurry will cut off others, no matter if they are on the opposite side of the road.  

As we got near our destination, we hit a huge traffic jam!

We got stuck behind this massive herd.  The driver did his best to drive around them, at one point we were surrounded and moving slowly with them.  We became part of the herd!  It took us 30 minutes is get in front of them.  

We finally reach the resort, which was located off the road, hidden among all the rocks.  A beautiful location that is situated among nature.  There were monkeys walking around the site.  Some were just doing their thing on our porch, not caring that we were there.  

After dropping off our items, we went to travel around Hampi.  In order to get to it, one must take the small boat across the river.  At present, the river is at its lowest.  But the locals said it is a different story during monsoon season.

You need an entire day to see all the ruins.  We did our best to see most.  After negotiating a fare with one of the autos (rickshaws), we made our way around the city.  Following are some pictures from the sites we saw.  



After a few hours under the heat, our sweaty bodies were ready to call it a day and head back to the hotel.  But guess what, our hotel rooms were ones without AC!  Oh yes!  So it was a pleasure going to sleep in a very hot room!  

On the bright side, dinner was great! It started off with some yummy appetizers under the stars with a bonfire.  We called it a night after a few hours, and went to sleep in the heat.

The next day we did a nature walk among some interesting rock formations.  From the distance, you can also see the vast terrain with mountains composed of different shaped rocks.  It felt as if I were walking among The Flinstones neighborhood.



Reaching the top of the hike, we were presented to a magnificent view of the land.  It was breathtaking!


A beautiful way to end our weekend trip.   


BTW:  yesterday was Back to the Future day!  The trilogy is one of top favorite movies on my list.  Actually, I can watch BttF II all day.  Within the movie they predicated that the Cubs won the World Series.... well they were close on their predication, but the METS swept them!  

I just can't believe that the year the METS reach the finals, we won't be around to celebrate.  I recall how crazy the streets were in 2000 the last time the METS were in the World Series.   But I will celebrate here in India.




(Mario Aguilar) Thu, 22 Oct 2015 18:31:06 GMT
Please do not form a line ... Alright, so I want to write about one thing that pushes my patience to the limit.  That being the fact that people do not believe in waiting in line.  If they can push themselves in between two people, they will.   

This happens anywhere here; as you drive, on the cashier line, at the airport....maybe even at the mens room, who knows!?!

It first happened to me at the airport in Mumbai as I was removing my bag and placing it on the belt, when a guy just cuts right in front of me.  WTF?!!?

I was warned later to expect this throughout.  Last night as we were at the hospital (just getting a checkup, nothing major), I saw how it was chaotic at the "front desk."   The nurse would be helping someone, then another person just butts in with their information.  Next thing you know, there are more people just crowding around.  

It recently happened to me at the supermarket.  I was waiting with my items at the checkout when I notice this guy walk behind me and move himself in between me and the person in front.  I raised my voice telling him that I am next. He says "but I only have two items....i can go?"  
Hell the fuck no!!  First you cut me, then you ask if it was ok to cut??  Fuck off!

I just stepped in front of him and told him to wait!  He just stood there for a few, as I took my time placing my items on the counter.  Finally he walked away to another counter. 

There is a great quote that I can relate to: "Beware the fury of a patient man"

Don't push if you don't want to be pushed back......


I'll leave you off with one of my favorites from the 90's ...btw:  I am among that insane crowd, about 15 feet from the stage.  


(Mario Aguilar) Thu, 15 Oct 2015 10:15:18 GMT
Monument of Love "How someone could love their beloved so much that their dedication to them became one of the wonders of the world."


It is Friday evening here and have a bit of time before I go out for a walk around the neighborhood.   Today we finally received our curtains, the internet is up and running, Luna has her "run at the speed of light across the rooms", and I am blasting loudly some Slipknot, so yes now it feels like home.

So before I step out, I want to quickly write about a beauty that I got the pleasure to witness two weeks ago.  There are no words to describe this breathtaking site.  I have seen it on tv and never imagined I would have an opportunity to see it in person.  

We took flight out to Delhi, spent a day there site seeing, which I will write more at a later date.  The next day we took the 3 hour drive out to Agra, and we were greeted by the magnificent site of the Taj Mahal.  


The site was crowded, but being tourists, we were able to skip the long lines.  It felt like we had the FastPass at Disneyland.

From the entrance I could sense the magnitude of the tomb, and as we continued to walk towards it, the building would expand exponentially.  I was amazed learning that the entire site is symmetrical!

I will keep it simple and say that I was in awe.  We were advised that if we have the opportunity again, to spend the night in Agra and get up to see the sunrise, sunset, and/or moonrise with the Taj Mahal as the backdrop.  

Alright, time to go for a quick walk before sunset.

Till next time....

This is the mosque on the left side of the Taj Mahal.  In order to keep the symmetry, a second building was built on the other side, an identical replica but it's empty inside.

(Mario Aguilar) Fri, 09 Oct 2015 12:22:42 GMT
Fly away goose... So it's been quite some time since I sit down and write a post....the main reason is that we have been busy the past week as we settle into our new home.  One of the huge headaches I was dealing with was the lack of urgency to get my internet connection back.  It went down on a holiday, which was a Friday, so the majority had a nice three day weekend.  I did finally get connection back yesterday after escalating the issue with various different parties.

But aside from that issue, the past few days have been great!  Luna arrived safely last Thursday.  I was so worried, so I was elated when she arrived.  First thing she did was rush out of the kennel and give us headbutts.

She has now settled down to her new home... as you can see in the picture, she is enjoying movie time with me

I also have been happy that we got some of our shipment.  The packages sent on the air shipment arrived the day before Luna.  We got most of everything we wanted, but there were some packages that were placed on the sea we didn't receive any of our cutlery, plates, the essentials to have a meal.  But the biggest disappointment was that I received all my ps3/4 games, yet none of the systems!!!  What a bummer!  I just have to be patient.

Thank goodness that I can still have my expressos! That arrived in the shipment, as well as the transformer.  Some of Mariana's appliances don't run 240v so we needed the black box of happiness.

As mentioned, we have been settling into our home.  Today we had to checkout from the hotel.  We had one last breakfast and said bye to the pleasant staff at the Hilton.  They were wonderful, always with a smile and trying to make sure we were having a nice time.  So far all the people I have met have been welcoming.

Now I am enjoying our new neighborhood. Lots of people going out for an early morning walk/jog/run.  Also we are close to a variety of stores.  The thing I love is that our street is situated far enough from the crazy traffic that it's so quiet during the day, yet so close to it that we can just walk to the main road and be among the hustle and bustle. 

Ok, so maybe wondering why the title...well one of the biggest events here is having brunch on Sunday! It's the thing to do, and I understand why. For a flat fee you can explode your stomach is endless food, as well as kill your liver with endless drinks.  Now, I was a victim of the latter.  I will admit that I over did it, but I will tell you why....because I let myself enjoy the poison named Vodka!  


I was a fan of vodka drinks during my younger college days, but have put it aside for many years as I am not a hard liquor drinker anymore (i do occasionally have A drink of Whiskey.... sad I couldn't bring my whiskey bottles...that's another story).  
Well the person we had brunch with is a fan of vodka and kept ordering drinks and shots...and more shots...and drinks...on top of that, some delicious food...and another bottle of vodka.   As the story goes, the bathroom became my friend. ...poor soul who had to clean it up...I would go into more detail as I laugh about it now, but I would rather tell in person.

So lesson learned, put Vodka in the vault and just stick with a beer. 

Ok, time to finish up some errands.  Next time I will write about our recent weekend trip.

...oh by the way, I still follow up on sports as MLS and MLB games are being played during the morning hours here.  I saw the Evil Empire get eliminated this morning.  Woohoo!  Now its time to play ball....LETS GO METS!!!!!

(Mario Aguilar) Wed, 07 Oct 2015 15:54:33 GMT
Excuse me Ms. Swift .... This past Saturday we decided to take a day trip to Mysore.  Roughly a 3 hour drive from Bengaluru.

I must admit that history classes never sparked my interest (which is the complete opposite of my dad as i call him a walking library).  Therefore I will be honest and say I do not know much of India's history.  But after our trip, I started to read up on their rich history.

We began our trip at 7am as six of us, along with our driver, headed to Mysore.  Our first stop was at the final resting place of Tipu Sultan.  As stated before, I did not know any of the region's history, but was in awe at the beauty of the location.

As many places that we visited, we had to remove our shoes in order to walk among the grounds.  We were not allowed to take pictures inside the tomb where Tipu and his parents lay.


We went to see Tipu's summer palace, where we were not allowed to take pictures inside.  The structure is beautiful!  Very rich with details all over the walls and ceilings.  As we began to walk back to the front gate, people asked to take pictures of us (not me as I must have blended in that day...).  Ok, no problem, it happened to me while at the Botanical Garden, so I was expecting it here as we were a group of foreigners.   

That's when I said to our friend Mariana, "they must know you are Taylor Swift."  We got a kick out of that and called her Ms. Swift throughout the rest of the day.

Our driver then took us to where Tipu was shot, as well as the dungeon that held British officers.  Close by was another temple and we decided to just take pictures outside.

Again, people asked to have their pictures taken with us.  But then that is where it got a bit scary as a huge group of men surrounded our friend.  My Mariana pulled her away from the crowd and the rest of us walked along side of them, as their bodyguards.   The rest of the day dealt with the same as we did our best to make sure no more people asked for their pictures.

But aside from that nerve-racking event, we saw some more beautiful sites.

We stopped by St. Philomena's Church, a stunning church.  But sadly no pictures allowed inside.

After lunch, we went to Mysore Palace.  It is vast and needs to be seen in person.  But once again, I could not take pictures on the grounds or inside; which is a down point because the halls inside the palace look like those from Disney movies; rich in color and extravagant.  The rule does not make sense as everyone is taking photos of the grounds with their phone (I was able to walk around with the GoPro), yet no one is allowed to use their pocket or DSLR cameras.  They were very strict on no phones inside, as I saw a guard yank a phone off a lady after she took some pictures.
Yet, I did sneak out my camera fast to snap the picture below.

After the palace, we made our way up Chamundi Hills where stands both a statue of Nandi and Chamundeshwari Temple.

After that we called it a day, and made it back to Bengaluru.  It was a great day as we met new people, and I realized that India has a deep history that I look forward to explore more of.



Btw:  we came across a man playing a flute who had a cobra and monkey.

(Mario Aguilar) Mon, 14 Sep 2015 14:46:33 GMT
The Dark Knight Rises again Bengaluru It is 1am local time, while it is 3:30pm back in Jersey.

It's been a week since we have arrived to India.   Somewhat crazy that a week has already gone by.  It has been interesting has I have had to adjust to the change in time, as well as to get used to the differences.

There are a lot of things that I have already come accustomed to; and when I have more time, I will write about them.

I should get to sleep as we are planning on waking up at 6am and be ready for our driver to pick us up at 6:45.  We are heading down to Mysore for a day trip with a few new friends. 

But before I hit the sack, I wanted to write about an awesome local brewpub we found.  I am excited as it is near where our future home will be located at.   The brewpub is named Toit and has, what the locals say, one of best local beers in the entire city.  And we could not disagree.

It is three floors of beer happiness, and they tell us that it gets very crowded on the weekends.  I can see why; the food was good and the beer was delicious.

I ordered what they call the Dark Knight (hmmm sounds very familiar to something...even it's logo looks familiar)

Overall, we give it high marks and look forward to trying their other beer during our stay in Bengaluru.

Now off to sleep.....


(Mario Aguilar) Fri, 11 Sep 2015 19:46:13 GMT
Can you take a picture with me? So something strange happened to me today....

Today our driver (yes my driver;  feels strange having one, as if I am like Driving Miss Daisy all over Bengaluru...but that's for another story entry....) took me site seeing around the city.  He picked me up at noon and off we went.  First place we went was the Botanical Gardens.  It is a huge park, lots of people visiting it, but not many foreigners.  

Edward Scissorhands section of the garden

So I make my way through it; feeling overwhelmed a bit as I am by myself and walking among locals, as well as strays dogs, some monkeys and lots of trees.  Even at one point I felt I was being followed so I made my way back to a more centralized part of the garden.  It could have just been my "Newark awareness" kicking in, like Spiderman with his spidersense.  As they say "you can take a person away from Newark, but you can not take Newark away from the person."   Anyhow, I kept enjoying the garden, taking pictures here and there amongst the locals.  

At this point I notice two guys taking photos as well and one of them comes up to me saying "Photo?"  
I reply "oh, you want of pic of you both?"
He says "oh  A photo with you"
huh?!?!?!  with me?! sure.  hahaha

Strange, but they both wanted a picture with me.  I must stand out like a crazy person dressed differently.  Of course, since almost no one here wears shorts and every male wears a button down or plaid shirt.  Those that know me very well know that I despise feeling hot, and I always wear shorts when it is warm.  So it will take some time for me to start wearing jeans or slacks on a regular basis on these warm days.  

So I end up taking pictures with these guys individually and they say thanks.  I guess I do not mind, but it did catch me completely off guard. 

After the gardens, I went to see other spots around the city.   Now I am back at the hotel; just had a delicious dinner with Mariana and time to relax and think about what to wear tomorrow so I can stand out even more .....


(Mario Aguilar) Wed, 09 Sep 2015 14:13:52 GMT
Day 1 - Goodbye NJ I wrote the following almost a week ago and finally getting around to posting it up....

Currently it is  2:42am Eastern time and I am sitting on an Emirates flight heading towards Dubai.  I am drinking my third Patron Cafe as my mind is settling down with the notion that we have left our home, family and friends in NJ.
It has been a rough couple of weeks, very stressful.  Packing is not fun,imagine getting things separated between what to pack for our flight, what to put on our air shipment (which arrives "hopefully" 4 weeks later), what will go on the sea shipment (roughly an 8+ weeks till arrival), and what will be placed in storage.  That task not only gave me headaches, but also ruined my eating habits.  My somewhat healthy eating every 3 hours had to turned into only and barely eating one meal a day.  I completely lost my appetite and oddly enough had taken a liking to have a beer (or two) late at night.  And not one of those crappy water down piss water beers ( sorry Angel) but more of those "I will put your ass on the ground" 8%+ beers.  Especially after I found my new favorite, the Riverhorse Trippel; a 10% beer!!
So my nights had turned into this; pack, go through papers that had been saved for years, stress out, then have a beer on an empty stomach and whala, instant calmness.
Days leading up to when the movers came, our home had become a mess! Boxes all over, no place to sit comfortably, even Luna had a tough time to find a spot to lay down on the sofa.  I actually could not wait till the movers came, but once they did it was overwhelming!
They arrived on time and moved in like troops storming into the battlefield, with a plan on hand and with execution....but with faults.  I don't know if all our stuff was placed on the correct shipment as it was difficult to oversea the entire group. There was a guy for each room and we did our best to make sure things were packed and placed into the correct shipment.  I believe the majority did, but not too certain in the kitchen.  After the movers left, Mariana noticed things were packed that were not supposed to be. So that means we will have items to give away as their original destination was to be placed in a donation pile.
After the movers left, it felt surreal...walking into our home and hearing an echo.  All of our things were taken away and only our luggages remained. We have been living out of our luggages for the past few days, while crashing at my sis-in-law's place.  Even Luna settled down in her temporary home....My sweet furry Luna will wonder what is happening as she will make her way to us.  I hate that I have to wait a week or two, hopefully not three, until we see her again.  I just hope she travels safely.  She may hate us for putting her through this long travel, but she will be happy to be with us!
Well I should get some sleep. The majority are sleeping and here I am still awake. I had just finished watching San I don't know if it was meant to make me laugh but it did! I thought it was an awesome comedy!!...
I needed a laugh as today had been an emotional day...breaking down for abit as I realized how much I will miss family.  After speaking to my niece, it hit me hard that we will be away for a long time.  Of course we will make our way back to visit but it's not the same as we won't be able to spend time with her and family. (as we are her favorite titi and tio)  Wow....just thinking that she will be 7 (or 8 if we stay 3 years).  .... 
Alright...time to rest my eyes as we still have 9 hours to go.... Or maybe I should walk back to the lounge and order another Patron....or maybe a Chivas 18 or Glenfiddich 15.....choices.....
(Mario Aguilar) Tue, 08 Sep 2015 12:49:30 GMT