Posts Categorized: urbanista diaries

Oh Dear Mumbai

The Taj Mahal Intercontinental Hotel and the Gateway to India
Photo of the Taj Hotel and the Gateway to India taken by Ms. Jen with a Nokia N82 on 02.19.08 from the Mumbai Harbor.

Thurs 11.27.08 – For 2.5 days in February 2008, I stayed in the Colaba district of Mumbai at the end of the Urbanista Diaries adventure in India. I stayed a little less that 2 blocks from the famed Taj Hotel. I ate a small supper the second night at the upstairs bar at Cafe Leopold. I enjoyed wandering around on foot the southern part of Mumbai.
Most of all, what I did experience of Mumbai made me love it the way I love Los Angeles and London. A big sprawling vibrant world class city. The kind of city, like LA or London, that you either love or hate. After being in Mumbai for 15 minutes, I was deep down happy. It was love on first sight.
Yesterday, my heart went out to Mumbai as the news of the terrorist attacks on the Taj Hotel, the Oberoi, Cafe Leopold, the Jewish Center, and the CS Railway Terminus.
I first heard of the attacks on Twitter when an Indian friend wrote a cryptic anguished tweet, I went to the BBC and saw no news, 10 minutes later there was. The news and crisis has continued to unfold over the course of the last 36 hours, getting worse. And made worse by having been at 3 of the 5 places that have been attacked. And worse for loving the city.
Oh, Mumbai, I am dreadfully sorry. Words are failing me to express the upset.

Urbanista Diaries: Best of Mumbai

Mumbai: Arrival area of the Mumbai domestic airport Mumbai: Loading up a car Mumbai : Magazine shop Mumbai: Driving to the hotel in Colaba Mumbai: The Aquarium Mumbai: Streetside pavillion Mumbai: Taj Mahal Hotel entry way with horse sculptures Mumbai: A view of Colaba Causeway from the window of the Chinese Restaurant Mumbai: Fruit Vendor Mumbai: The Old and the New Mumbai: Street dog asleep Mumbai: Red scooter Mumbai: Floral arch before the Gateway of India Mumbai: Boarding the ferry boat to Elephanta Island Mumbai: The southern Mumbai skyline from the Harbor Mumbai: Ferry boats and oil island pier in the Mumbai Harbor Mumbai: Watching the waves Mumbai: Small bovine greeter at Elephanta Island Mumbai: Elephanta Island sculptures Mumbai: Elephanta Island guardian lions Mumbai: Rotunda with dogs Mumbai: Getting a photo taken in front of the Elephanta Island train Mumbai: Feeding the terns while departing Elephanta Island Mumbai: Ferry boat grate Mumbai: Gravity is a Myth Mumbai: Colaba at night Mumbai: The nice scarf vendors Mumbai: Pink! Mumbai: Synagogue Mumbai: Street Lunch Mumbai: St. Thomas' Church Mumbai: Crossing the street Mumbai: At the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Mumbai: The subway Mumbai: The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Mumbai: Sidewalk tiles Mumbai: A view through a doorway Mumbai: Sonopic Ultra Sound Clinic & family planning
All photos taken by Ms. Jen in Mumbai, India, with a Nokia N82.

The above photos were taken in Mumbai (the city formerly known as Bombay), India, from Mon. Feb. 18, 2008 until late Wed. Feb. 20, 2008 while on the Nokia Urbanista Diaries. Mumbai was my last stop in India and my second to last stop before passing the ‘baton’ on to Ryan Gallagher.
What to say about Mumbai? Within 15 minutes of being away from the airport and driving the hour plus south to my hotel, I knew that I was going to love this city. Mumbai is great big beast just like my other two all time favorite cities: Los Angeles & London. Mumbai is the Indian sister city to a mash up of LA & Miami. Big, spread out, something going on all the time, lots of lovely art deco to modernist residential architecture from 1920s-1960s (like LA & Miami), lively, and more than a bit chaotic.
I stayed at a hotel that came recommended by Lonely Planet in the Colaba district of southern Mumbai, as I could walk to most of the stuff I wanted to do from there. In the 2.5 days that I was in Mumbai, I walked around as much as possible, took as many photos as possible, and took an afternoon ferry out to Elephanta Island in the Mumbai Harbor.
I would like to go back to Mumbai and spend more time exploring the city, as 2.5 days was not enough.
Click on a thumbnail and then navigate through the lightbox slideshow by putting your mouse over the top right hand side of each photo, titles along the bottom.
Enjoy the photos, I have only the Austria photo essay to do to wrap up the all of my favorite photos from my leg of the Nokia Urbanista Diaries trip.

Urbanista Diaries : Best of Goa Photo Essay

Goa: Trip from the Airport to Panaji Goa: Downtown Panaji at Night Goa: Stars at Hotel Nova Goa: Rohit Drawing a Map of Mumbai for Me Goa: Tribute Goa: Advertising & Photography Goa: Lunch Patio Goa: Mosaics Goa: Hanging Garlands Goa: More Floral Garlands Goa: Art Deco Penguins Goa: Lovely Building Goa: Temple Entrance Goa: New DuPont Paint v. Old Portuguese Building Goa: The Times of India Goa: Our Lady Luna Goa: Our Lady Looking Over Goa: Layers of Blue Paint Goa: Noah's Ark Goa: Stop, Drive Safely Goa: Sumit & his N95 Goa: Dry Mermaid Fountain Goa: Domino's
Photos taken by Ms. Jen with a Nokia N82 in Goa, India.

[After a mad six week hiatus, I am back to posting my Best of Urbanista photo essays…]
As a wrap up for my Urbanista Diaries adventure, I am going to be publishing photo essays of my favorite photos that I took in each city that I visited. Some of these photos are in my flickrstream, most of them on the website, and some are new to everyone but me.
The above photos were taken in Panaji, Goa, India, from Fri. Feb. 15th, 2008 to Mon. Feb. 18, 2008. Why did I stay for 2.5 days in Panaji (Panjim) rather than go to one of the Goa beach resorts? Well, I both in Bangalore & Kerala I asked taxi drivers their recommendation for Goa, and they both said: Panaji. I wanted to go to the city (Urbanista, after all) in Goa that was the most Indian rather than the attack of the Euro-Aussie-Whatever-Party-Piglet-Beach. And I am glad I did.
Panaji was a great mix of old school Portuguese buildings, 1940s art deco architecture, 1960s concrete brutalisme, with a good dose of India. It was laid back with a strong tourist component. Most of the other tourists or holiday makers I met were down from Mumbai for the weekend.
Unfortunately, I did not get to Old Goa and the Bom Jesus Basilica, mostly due to a crooked cab driver who I would not let gouge me. Next time I will walk the 9 km rather than be shook down. I will go back eventually to see the Bom Jesus.
Click on a thumbnail and then navigate through the lightbox slideshow by putting your mouse over the top right hand side of each photo, titles along the bottom.
Enjoy the photos, two more cities to come.

The NY Times on Urbanista Diaries

Hello New York Times
… Uh… the Urbanista Diaries campaign started in mid-January and ended in early March and your article came out on April 7th. Why wait to run the article a full month after the “live” portion is over?
If you are reporting on how Nokia is marketing with a new strategy of “hiring” bloggers and/or the marketing brilliance of the Urbanista Diaries, the why did you not interview one of the four of us?
I was not hired to go on the Urbanista Diaries trip, I was given a really cool opportunity to travel to India with a great camera phone, the N82, and do what I do every day – take lots of mobile photos and moblog them to a website with geo-data.
On the hiring bit? We were not paid, nor were any of the four of us given a phone. In fact quite a few of the phones were ‘lifted’ by DHL employees or Her Majesty’s Customs on the way back to the UK after the Urbanista trip was over*. WOM World (1000 Heads) bought the plane tickets and reimbursed our hotel, food, and local transport. Nokia reimbursed / paid 1000 Heads.
WOM World (1000 Heads) has a policy, that not only do the bloggers get to be honest, but we also return the phones after the trial period. That is a loan, not a hire or a buy.
Yes, Nokia is above the curve on internet marketing, more importantly they are including the mobile community, which in turn creates brand loyalty. Apple or LG or Sony-Ericsson have never offered me to trial a device nor have they asked my opinion on its use or software. Nokia has. This is good.
But, NYT, please do a wee bit more research. kthnxbai.
* Yes, for the record, I am angry about this – crooked business makes me indignant. Given that the phones were to go back to the UK, I would have preferred them to arrived in Oxfordshire in one piece, not the box arriving but missing the phones out of the middle. If I ever meet up with the DHL dude who giggled upon receiving the last N82 for shipment… To the Moon! Fed Ex & USPS have my business from here on out.

My First Flickr Video : The 4th Chennai Photowalk

The 4th Chennai Photowalk

Originally uploaded by Ms. Jen

Sun. Feb. 10, 2008 – I had the pleasure to join up with the Chennai Photowalk Flickr Group folk to participate in the 4th Chennai Photowalk up Mount Road (Anna Salai) . Good fun, great photographers & conversation.

Video captured by Ms. Jen in Chennai, India, with a Nokia N82.

Uploaded by Ms. Jen on 26 Mar 08, 8.53PM PDT.

The Big Switch Over, or Back to My Nokia N95

The WOM World folk let me keep one of the Urbanista Diaries N82’s through SXSW for better photo taking, but today I had to reset it back to factory settings & wipe the extra memory chip in anticipation of shipping it back to the UK and returning to the daily use of my Nokia N95.
To get my Nokia N95 back into daily use, I updated it to the most recent N95 update and optimized the files. Per usual, the update wiped all my settings and programs, so I had to reinstall ShoZu and Joiku, as well as redo my blog settings in Lifeblog. Only problem is that the 20.0.0.something update for the N95 has made Lifeblog incompatible with this install of Movable Type Open Source 4.1, or if not incompatible at least it won’t recognize the correct settings. The N95 12.0.0.something Lifeblog worked just fine with this MTOS 4.1 install, and so did the most recent update / OS version for the N82. I have run through the phone’s Lifeblog settings 7 times and reset them each time and it still can’t find this blog. Bah!
When I met up with Charlie in London a couple of weeks ago, he was surprised that Lifeblog was installed on the N82 and said that the N82 would most likely be the last phone that would have Lifeblog. Charlie unofficially confirmed what I had supposed for sometime now, that Nokia has left Lifeblog to die.
This will be a problem for me and my daily moblogging from my phone to this blog. I have tried for a few years now to convince various Movable Type perl developers to make a mobile blogging plugin that would work across a variety of mobile platforms to moblog photos and text to one’s MT 3.x or 4.x install, but to no avail. David Jacobs told me that his company, Apperceptive, has made such a plugin for paying customers and will be releasing a version to the public, but it has not happened yet.
Charlie is currently working with David on a blog for Nokia and hinted that one of the side projects would be a mobile blogging plugin for Nokia phones.
Please, please, please…


Mefloquine: 42 Days Into It and I am Over It

While I am *supposed* to take my anti-malaria pills, Mefloquine, for another 2 weeks, I am over it and done. I will not be taking my pill tomorrow due to 3 weeks of mild building up to medium bad reactions on a daily basis.
The first week or so, the only reaction I had to the medication was feeling like I was on 5 shots of expresso at any given time and not sleeping more than 5 hours a night. By the end of the second week on the drug, I was having occasional nightmares and feeling agitated. The last two weeks I have continued sleeping badly, having nightmares, feeling agitated and upset over small things, etc.
When I was in India, all of the non-US travellers I met were NOT taking any anti-malarial preventive medication and were very surprised that my doctor put me on it. Since I have returned, several British friends told me to throw the mefloquine away and only to take it when I actually get sick, as they had more reactions from the medicine than any other sickness they may have experienced in India.
When I was so tummy sick earlier this week, I had more folks email me or tell me in person here at SXSW that I should go off the mefloquine, as it may be contributing to my tummy illness.
So, this morning I called the Kaiser Permanente Advice Nurse to see what they thought about my reaction to the medication and if I could speak to a pharmacist, but as usual the Kaiser Advice Nurse was THOROUGHLY unhelpful. And wanted me to come into an LA doctor appointment, I told her that I was in Austin, and then she got exasperated with me and said that Kaiser could not help if I was not at home and why did I not call when I was in India (Uh… $1.50+ per minute phone charges to be put on hold for 20 mins. I think not).
She told me to go to the emergency center in Austin. I pointed out that they might not know much more than she did and would it not be better to leave a message for the doctor who prescribed the medication to me or the pharmacist at Kaiser? No, she said, I should go to urgent care here and not take any more of the medication until I can get into Kaiser next week. WTF?!?!? End of call.
When I get back I am changing health insurance. I hate Kaiser. In the meantime, as to not have more insomnia, nightmares, tummy and emotional agitation, I am not taking my pill in the morning. Larium, I am over you.