A very uneventful flight

My flight was completely uneventful. I got to the airport at 3 a.m., waited outside for 45 minutes, realized a machine gun was pointed right at me at one moment in line (shudder). I checked my laptop and phone but didn’t need to, and could have brought a book on board after all. British Airways is confused. No surprise there. I nodded off sitting in the bus terminal like waiting room, as Jurassic Park played on TV. Bought a tiny Ganesha figurine for a number of personal reasons. Got on the plane, took an Ativan, slept for six hours.

Now I’m in London, meeting Celia and Dan this evening in the hotel bar of where I’m crashing for the night. As it happens, my best friend is in town tomorrow on a one day pitch! Very convenient to see her here and not to have to wait till I’m back on the East Coast.

First impressions upon entering London: traffic is quiet and orderly. Where are all the interstitial vehicles that dart in and out of traffic? Where did they go?

Next impressions: I need a shower and some more sleep. I’m going to do that.

This is the day

This is what I’ve listened to on repeat since last night. Now that I note the lyrics, I think I see why.

Well… you didn’t wake up this morning —
Because you didn’t go to bed.
You were watching the whites of your eyes turn red
The calendar, on your wall, is ticking the days off.
The calendar on your wall is ticking the days off.
You’ve been reading some old letters
You smile and think how much you’ve changed.
All the money in the world couldn’t buy back those days.
You pull back the curtains, and the sun burns into your eyes,
You watch a plane flying across a clear blue sky.
This is the day your life will surely change.
This is the day your life will surely change.
You could’ve done anything if you’d wanted
And all your friends and family think that you’re lucky.
But the side of you they’ll never see
Is when you’re left alone with the memories
That hold your life together like glue

… and with that, I’m off to the airport..

Bye, Bangalore…

Molly, Departing

Originally uploaded by C+H.

Posted to my friend Chris’s Flickr stream. It’s 1 a.m. and in 90 minutes, I leave for the airport. My flight isn’t until 6:30 a.m. Oof.

On a happier note, thank you, everyone I met in Bangalore! Tonight, a number of people came by… my flatmates Carolyn and Savita, MSR friends Renee, Chris, Paul, and Kentaro, and local design tech mischief maker, Yashas. It was nice to eat cheap Chinese and drink bad beer. Chris snapped this shot shortly before heading out.

Now, I’m kind of killing time. I am largely done packing, amazing for me. Time for me to say goodbye, and see you in London.

i bought a saree!

i bought a saree!

Originally uploaded by maximolly.

i bought a saree today. it is so beautiful. it’s a kancheepuram saree designed by my friend archana’s mother and produced where the sarees are woven, in kancheepuram. her mother’s business is in its second generation and is called kafya. the beauty of these fabrics. so lovely.

now if only someone in new haven knows how to drape a saree. i have no idea.

Me, Hamish and Lakshmi at the Hampi temple

I brought Hamish to Hampi in large part because I knew that Lakshmi the elephant would be there. I’ve never met an elephant in person (believe it or not) and Hamish hasn’t met his ancestors. At this temple, you put 1 rupee in Lakshmi’s trunk. She gives it to her handler, and bonks you on the head with her trunk, thus blessing you. I did it twice. This picture is from the first time. I was completely charmed.

Caitlin, Jonathan’s wife, paid the camera fee and took this picture. When we went for my going-away dinner last week, this was the group gift. As mentioned, the frame is also wonderful: it is made of the glass bangles many Indian women wear.

Dealing with travel disruptions

My last full weekday in Bangalore is today. On Monday very early, I fly to London on British Airways, something I was looking forward to doing, but now I’m thinking it’s not going to be a fun trip. I also am planning to be in both Düsseldorf and Amsterdam next week, something I now want to do by train. That might not make things much better. I’d been looking forward to my first Eurostar trip, and I’m thinking it might be annoying and not interesting.

So this morning, I’ll head to the travel agent to sort out the train. At 9:30 on the nose (in a half hour), I’ll call BA and find out what’s going on with flights to London out of Bangalore. My assumption, at least, is that in the wake of foiling a plot, it’s probably less likely something would happen on the flight. My Indian friends here, citing their experience with spending time or living in places like Mumbai and London, say that all one can do is remain stoic. Minnesotans (maybe not me, but many of them) are good at stoicism. It’s not like it was, flying right after September 11… which I did on September 17.

More on saying goodbye to India later today.

Make love, not travel? (and my upcoming schedule)

Between the foiled liquid bomb plot and the US Embassy announcing a terrorism alert in Mumbai and Delhi (please note, I will be in neither city, I will only be in Bangalore), my usual excitement for travel is instead tense and stressed. My last day at MSR was happy, but I’m spun up in a way I don’t usually get before I go somewhere.
Is that enough to keep me home? No, not entirely. Not quite like what Bill Threkeld said in the New York Times

“I really do not understand why anybody would want to go anywhere,” Bill Threlkeld wrote. “Stay home. Read a book. Tend your garden. Make love. Drink wine. But most of all — stay home.”

Hm. That’s not quite my world view.
But just to make it clear here, this is my itinerary for the next couple of weeks. I wouldn’t usually put this information out there, but I figure this might answer questions if something happens. I have no plans to deviate from this schedule as organized.
Monday, August 14: morning flight on BA, Bangalore to London
Wednesday, August 16: train from London to Dusseldorf
Friday, August 18: train from Dusseldorf to Amsterdam
Sunday, August 20: train from Amsterdam to London
Monday, August 21: morning flight on BA to JFK
-> change airports to LGA, fly to Minneapolis
Sunday, August 27: return to LGA and get car back to New Haven

New shoes from Grasshopper in Bangalore!

my really great new shoes!

Originally uploaded by maximolly.

If only I could say the same for my pedicure… but I’ve loved these crazy sandals since my first trip to Grasshopper. Last night, the MSR contingent I’ve worked with most closely took me for a magical dinner there. It’s one of the best meals I’ve had in years–so delectable.

Grasshopper also has a boutique with shoes and clothing from Indian designers. By American standards, the prices are very reasonable; by any standards, the clothing is beautiful and unusual.

all watched over by machines of loving grace

Last night, I gave a talk at CKS on Constant, Cedric Price and Archigram (at the last minute, I decided to leave out Superstudio–it was a little outside the direction the talk took). It was a really nice audience. After the fact, I learned about half the people were architects. I’m still trying to find the right balance between being too journalisty (says my advisor at Yale) and too architecty (which made it so the talk wasn’t as accessible to some of my friends in the audience). But still: very nice to be a guest of CKS and to present to 40 people about something I love–something different than what I’ve researched this summer at Microsoft Research India.

About the title of the talk: it’s been popping up a number of places lately… it was quoted in a dissertation on Archigram, and I think Adam used it for a talk he gave at Design Engaged. My experience with “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace” goes back 18 years. I first got to know the Richard Brautigan poem by this name when I was 16, thanks to a high school boyfriend who had taken all his dad’s Brautigan books. I particularly liked this galley of it.

With upcoming flights and such, I’m going to turn this presentation into a more academic paper. I already owe my advisor Emmanuel 20-30 pages on Cedric Price … this is the jumping-off point.