Ahoy, back t'ya lair scoundrel

During my internship in India, I've kept some documentation in which I jotted down how the Indian Experience was for me. As for my natural feeling for literature and drama - plus the fact that pirates are awesome - I started calling these my Captn's Logs.
At first this was just a joke, a title for on Facebook. Howest demanded the same sort of reports and I was about to clean these and put these on the internship tool, as I noticed that my international mentors started to refer to these reports as Captn's Logs themselves.
Using that unique opportunity, these Esteban-Is-In-India-and-Writes-About-It notes are now known as my Logs. Aaargh Matey, and ere that day, M'Rum is Always Gone.

Captains's Log 1 - Januarrrry 24

Captain's log: Entry 1: Tuesday's ‘Tellings
Hey Earthlings,

"A small step on the map, a giant flight in real life". With this poorly used and half stolen quote, I'd like make that 'goodbye post' before my departure. For those who don't know yet, I'm leaving for my Internship in India, to go on an amazing adventure until mid-June, hopefully one of many adventures to come in my life. :D Right now, I've successfully passed the great voids of the terminal and slain the border control dragon, waiting for my boarding, arrrr, to ya airrrship flying to Istanbul. This evening, 18u50 GMT+1, I'll board an even bigger bird and fly to Delhi and finish off with a little flight to Chandigarh arriving at 12u35 local time (7u05 GMT+1). I'll report back to ya guys when I get there. ;)
Yeah, you reading this might got you thinking "dafuq, a post from Esteban, and in English" well yeah, I'm not a frequent Facebook user but I'm vowing to keep a blog/vlog/whateverog to let you guys know 'what's up'. Surely you'll get sick of these much too long, witted posts soaked in low level jokes and illogical sentences, but hurray, on the top right of this post is 'ye olde unsubscribe' button. Click to salvage your puny soals and have a honorable discharge out of the ranks of my Facebook troops.
However, I'm getting of track and need to finish this to keep this from growing to a full size novel. ;) Know that I'm going to keep you guys in mind and I want to thank you all for the many "goodbye" gatherings (or the "yeey, the fuckr's gone-gathering"). Now I'm saying thank you, but beware when I return I'll be finally able to say:
"Thank you, come again."

I'll keep you updated, bubey.

Captains's Log 2 - Januarrrry 29

Captain's log: Entry 2: Sunday's Summary
Fellow humans,

When I wrote my first Captain's log, I thought I was going to an adventure. *enter bilbo baggings meme* But I never suspected the 'going' was going to be the adventure. Never I would have imagined that I'd find myself sleeping on the floor of the airport, using my excessive amount of luggage and clothing as a pillow, but there I was, at Delhi Airport, sleeping next to an electricity outlet exhausted from the 4u30 time difference which is equal to the loss of my amount of sleep.
Fighting for every minute of sleep, because I want to leave the next plane as an enthusiastic and especially, awake, intern, ready to fight the world and make the best first impression ever.
I did arrive on time, and in the 4 days that I've been here, I've already got so many stories. As some of those stories will only interest some of you, I'd like to introduce the [subjects] in brackets. Whenever I talk about a specific subject in this post (which clearly exceeds the suggested daily amount of readable text), I'll mark it with those brackets.

[The Indian Way Of Living]
For all the cheap asses out there who are reading this, India is your Walhalla, your devils crest, your safe haven. I just hassled for a 60 Rupee Rickshaw ride, who I successfully got down to 50, realizing that my minute of hassling only won me like 6 cents or so. You can buy a coffee here for 10 rupee, a 600ml of coke for 35 and a meal for less than 100 rupee. I'm making Dagobert Duck happy, as these low prices are my goddess of luck. It's really amazing how fast you adapt this new way of living.
Indians are wonderful people. Always ready to help, always saying hello and very trustworthy. They have a superpower of driving in complete chaos and even a bee hive would be jealous of the randomness that spawn on the Indian roads. I'm loving the ways of transportation here. I travel a lot by uber, but when I can, I take a Rickshaw. These small three-wheelers, carrying about 15 people at most, drive through the Indian traffic with an elegancy like you wouldn't believe. Being part of that packed lump of people at the back, is such a great feeling. Costing only 10 rupees to go from the university to the nearest city named Kharar, it's by FAR the cheapest way of travel.

Yes, fellow nerds, gather and gaze upon the information technology in this far away country. As a trial lesson, I've been given a week of ASP .NET 4.6 basics, that I can teach to first year students. These courses normally are very theoretic, so I'd be the one to bring in a little more practical touch and learn them how to actually code as well. Tomorrow, I'll be giving my very first lecture, so in Captain's Log 3, I'll be happy to tell you how it went, and what I'll do for the next 5 months.
The infrastructure itself is ancient. There is no other way to put it. The Wi-Fi here at school has a login system, like you'd expect. Only they did it with a Fortigard captive portal (and no, it does not support a mobile view, because only 90% of the Wi-Fi is used by mobile connections, so that's so not necessary. :p ) instead of our good, trusted, WPA-2 Enterprise. I didn't know how lucky we are at NMCT to have such a widely covered Wi-Fi network, with WPA2 Enterprise. Because here at CU, the only thing covered are the outdoor gardens and the hostel, giving a whopping speed of 22mbps close to the AP, and 0.5mbps when you put 5 meter and a wall between you and the AP. Giving that this works with a captive portal and a download limit, you'll find yourself spending 10 minutes on the internet to send a messenger message. 5 to trying to log in, hoping that you did not already reached your limit, 3 minutes to wait until your site is loaded and then 2 minutes looking out if it has actually uploaded correctly. So, having my frustrations thrown out there, I do feel the need to stress that this is India, so that I’m glad that I have Wi-Fi at all!

[The Food]
Oh. My. God. The food is delicious. These people don't each much, but they eat a lot. Their tea extinguished my need for coffee (and those who know me KNOW the power that houses in this sentence) as it's addictively delicious. I'm lucky that I don't have to set up a tent and a bonfire at the public toilet, but that I'm enjoying this meal to the fullest.

[Food For Thought]
The Sukhna hostel houses all the internationals. Andre and I are the only intercontential internationals here, most of them are Afghanistani or Nepalese people that come to India to get better education and a chance for a better life. One of them made me totally silent. (and those who know me, it takes an awful lot to make me silent).
Two afghanistani boys approached me with a question. They don't get why I'm coming here. They all came from very far, some with the whole family budget, to live a better live, while I came here to live a worse one.
Food for thought.

I stay, sleep and (sometimes) eat at the Sukhna hostel. A huge building with a lot of really nice people. I like my stay here, but the way of living is very primitive compared to our western ways. But I got used to it really really fast.
I have strong beliefs that my mattress is actually harder than the wooden bed it lays on, but the hostel warden gave me comfy sheets, so being embraced by its warmth and sweetness, I manage to get to sleep. I do have to shower with a cup and a bucket. Warm water is only available between 6 and 8u30, so I have to be in the showers on time in order to fill my bucket with nice steamy water. Nothing can describe the feeling when I use the last bit of warm water from my bucket, as I adore that very last drop of hot water but feel the blistering cold grasp of knowing that my bucket is empty and shower time is over. It really was a big step for me to embrace this way of living, but I'm so happy that I "don’t give a shit anymore". I feel that the more I embrace the Indian way of living, the more relaxed I become and the more I enjoy the nice things in life. I really look different at each day as I’m not clinging to the things that are worrying me on a daily basis with my old habits. I learned that I shouldn't be angry or stressed about things that simply don't matter. I get up as a happy man, I live an extraordinary day filled with adventure and new culture, and I go to sleep as an even happier and richer man.
Sooooooo, Glados Incorporated won't reimburse your scroll wheel that'll surely be worn-off by now. Now these are all new impressions, new things and a new way of life, so I have a lot to write about. As I do not want to be responsible for the immense drainage of your data plan, I'll try to get these shorter, so that at least one person can read through all of this without having to charge his phone two times before reaching the end.
It's really so much that I cannot describe it all. I'm planning to really travel a lot and spend every spare minute I have on visiting new places and learning things in India. (Hmm, I do need to find the time to work on that bachelor paper as well. :/) I really use this as a personal reflection and although I am keeping a diary during my period in India, these really help me reflect on what I've seen and I hope that I can take a bit of Indian spirit to you.
As I'll try to make it shorter, if there is anything that you want to know/ask to me, just do so in the comments and I'll be happy to answer. Or if you just want to comment tl;dr, or make funny remarks on my stupid face or the fact I use this as a personal second diary or if you just want to laugh with lame jokes in the videos / point out spelling mistakes, fine by me. ;) I want these bundled captain's logs to be bigger than The Lord of the Rings syllabus. :p (just kidding.)
I've added all my stupid vlog videos (I hate seeing myself on video) and some pictures. (I'll make an album soon with all the pictures). Please enjoy.
See you guys in Captain's log 3

Bubey, dada, toytoy

Captains's Log 3 - Februarrrry 10

Captain's log: Entry 3: Friday's Facts
Puny Bloggers,

These logs tell the sagas of my travels in India who, as unfortunate as it might be, don't tell tales about epic space battles, just as other famous sagas do, but they'll be passing the everlasting tales of the indian culture. Ship ahoy mateys, with a new flag on my Facebook profile, we'll set course to the end of another log ridden with adventures and wit. Stride the sails!

Waking up at 3 in the morning isn't one of my specialties. My Miranda always used to say: "Like you can't wake up at 3AM..." (My apologies for this low level reference to all the foreign followers of my logs). But this time, it was worth it. The Golden Temple in Amritsar is "The Place 2be" for people in the Sikh religion and given, it's a piece of art. An astonishing white gurdwara surrounding a temple made of pure gold. I've made a inquiry to Oxford dictionary as there are of yet no words to describe the beauty of this place. Not only the golden temple on itself, but the whole spirit. They embrace you with open arms, they let you visit even the most sacret places, everyone is willing to give you a hand in whatever you want, even though you are not part of their religion. The whole spiritual feeling was empowered by the rule that you have to wear this badass turban and that you cannot wear shoes or socks. (And I made a proud contribution to let the gurdwara smell like a humid french Camembert cheese cellar). But even bare footed, I would never get Sikh of it. *Badoom Tss*

[The Food]
Amritsar proudly houses the biggest community kitchen in the world, serving thousands of people at once. The whole kitchen is operated by volunteers and is open 24/7. I've enjoyed my meal there and shared the table... Hmmm... Floormat with 2000 other indians, eating free food in harmony. A wonderful machine to behold, the wet dream of every efficiency supervisor.
As the first week was a success in food, I figured that I could be a little more adventurous and try out some street food. I'm a simple man, I live without regrets and this choice is also one that if I knew what would come next, I'd still do it all over again. Delicious. Exquise. Even Ramsey would be pleased. But, elas, my good friends, this unleashed the balrog in my mines of Moria. Fortunately I'm well prepared for this matter, but for now, I'm going to stay close to Westeros and it's Porcelain trone.

[Bagda Border]
From Amritsar we drove to the Pakistani border. Every day at 4h30, there is the so called Bagda Border. In this event, pakistan and India (who are at war in the north) open up their borders to exchange flags with a whole ceremony. Completely free of charge. But this is wonderful, the result is that about 10000 people gather there every day to scream, sing and shout for their country, trying to scream, sing and shout louder than the people from the other country can. The whole ceremony is ridden of that childish thought. India has to hoist their flag just a tad higher. Pakistan has to open their gates just a little quicker. Both countries are actively building extensions to the surrounding stadium to have the biggest. This is beautiful, I don't think that I'll ever witness that level of childishness on that scale. I happily joined the masses, painted two indian flags on my face and shouted as loud as I could to beat those pakistani. ;)

Being a teacher is so much fun. It's an emotional rollercoaster to see hard working students listening with passion while someone at the back is struggeling to click on 'create new project'. It gives me goosebumps whenever they call me Sir, or whenever they all stand up when I enter the classroom. I've been asked to give lectures about Cisco, Hadoop, Linux and ASP and I do them all with pleasure. Great collegues and a super sweet head of department. The latter has a wicked form of humor though. She likes to come to me with the sentence I'm already quite used to: "Oh, in 10 minutes, could you do a guest lecture about [random subject] in front of 80 people? Thanks good luck."
However stressy it may sound, I'm actually improving my ad hoc and social skills to a whole new level. People who play dungeons and dragons with me, beware. :P

[The People / Culture]
Promised, this is the last story I'll tell, for as I'd be getting a lawsuit from Facebook for overloading their servers. On our way to Bagda Border we had a flat tire on our taxi. Well such things happen so we decided to take it very philosophically and we'd just go for a walk while waiting for our driver to fix the car. On our journey we stumbled across a Cricket stadium where the local team was performing a match. We decided to take a look, but upon entering the stadium we were spotted by one of the players. After some discussion they stopped the game and all came our way. Before we knew there was a line of Indian people waiting to take a selfie with "The white guys". Now I can officially say that I once was a bigger attraction then a local cricket match. ;)
I get that a lot around here. People staring at my blue eyes or being amazed by a blonde beard (for which they like to congratulate me). It is awkward, I never know what to say to these guys.
The amount of "hello, how are you? Where are you from?" conversations I had is staggering and if this were the Sims I'd have hundreds of friends right now and I'd be able to get a promotion whenever I went to work.

This log is brought to you by me and my magic quill, from Manali in the himalayas. As the 10h bus drive provided me with enough time to write an encyclopedia, I'd figured that I'd bring my beloved friends another log sprinkled with some lowkey references and my typical jokes.
I'm planning on a huge adventure here and if I snap a snazzy picture or if I encounter some "schoon balustrades" here in the Himalayas, then I'll be sure to keep you posted. I already included a sneak peak from my bus window. Only one more hour and we're there. :D
But as the wifi in these mountains are as scares as pokémon (goddamned not a single pokéstop) I won't be able to upload funny videos with this one (although I've made a few.) I vow that I'll make an appendix on this log whenever I'll reach a WiFi Walhalla, and provide you with the vlogs you so crave. But here are a few pictures to quench your thirst.

Capt'n's Regards,
Esta Ben Sir (How my students call me)

Captains's Log 4 - Marrrch 15

Captain's Log: Entry 4: Wednesday's Whispers
Puny Soldiers of my Blog,

Strap on your helmets and prepare your fingers, because a long scrolling journey is coming your way. I still remember the day I wrote the third captain's log. It seems like a lifetime ago. But this is surely for the better. My travels, good friends and occupation kept me busy and that's a nice thing to have. But for now, let me end this paragraph with a white line. A white line that allows you to get up, grab a coffee, sit straight and find the position where you left of more easily.
Welcome... To Jurassic Blog nr 4.

[New Delhi]
When we last met, back in the realm of blog nr3, I was but an India rookie who had only visited Chandigarh, Amritsar and Manali.
Now I’m an India novice who has also Delhi, Jaipur and Rishikesh to his name.
My first pit stop after Manali was Delhi. I went there for the IIT Workshops. THE computer university of Delhi and I was psyched accordingly. We took the train to Delhi. My very first train ride in India and let me tell you, it was awesome. Packed with people, watching Star Wars on smartphone together with my friend Himank, while people were passing by trying to sell me everything, from tea to keychains.
We visited the Akshardham temple, the second largest gurdwara in the world (and I already visited the first one, in Amritsar) It was beautiful. All-round marble and stone elephants everywhere you'd look. Unfortunately one is not allowed to take pictures of this beauty, so I'll have to come back here with my future house architect to show him how it's done.
Psyched and prepped I sat there in the front row of IIT Delhi, ready to brush up some serious IT knowledge but already after the first minute it hit me. This was not going to be how I hoped it would go. The guy started to explain the basics. But the basics of the basics. And after an hour or two he would cover up some more basics of those basics. A day wasted but hey, I've officially been a IIT Delhi student now. Future employers, beware!
To mop up the New Delhi bracket I can safely say that I was sick. Very sick. The pollution of the city got me and scored a homerun. I was reduced to a talking walking pile of meat who was concerned about nothing else than get home and sleep.
I bow my head for you Delhi, and I hope that we'll meet again in better conditions

Ah how pleasant was the trip to Jaipur. Two 'local' busses brought us to a distant place 260km from home. (And yes, De Lijn, I'm looking at you driving no further than my neighboring town on a Monday morning). This place was beautiful. A plethora of temples and typical eastern buildings. A beauty for the eye. I also met some good tailors along the way and I was sure to leave Jaipur a few rupees lighter, but a custom tailored suit and mentally richer.
A beautiful city with awesome company. Thanks Anne-Sophy ;)

As I have to keep every trip short (or otherwise this 'post' button changes its content to 'submit essay') let me summarize the beautiful Zen yoga place of Rishikesh to the Holi festival.
Whoever is up for throwing me a BBQ on my return will hear the whole story nonetheless. And oh, yes. The real challenge will not be to hear my stories, but will be to get me to shut up again.
But I deviate, Holi is awesome. It's a whole day of hugging people and throwing paint in each other’s face. If you ever wake up with the feeling: "hmm, I could become friends with a quarter of the world population" fear no more. Because on Holi, whole India is friends with each other, as long as they get a good chance to throw some paint right in your face.
So after this collective moment of making Picasso paintings out of each other, I took a refreshing shower in the Ganges itself. Getting in the freezing cold water was probably the hardest thing I've ever done, but I've got a huge advantage; for me it's not that hard to switch off my brain and just lunge in there. You see, everything has its bright side.

So in these three weeks since I last reported to you, my feeling has become even stronger. I'm getting used to the relaxed way of living and not making a problem out of everything. Here we can all be friends and if people are nice to you, you are nice to them. In this way we thrive. Elas, it's not all sunshine and sometimes I cringe a lot when I see that I as a white guy paid five times what the Indian paid for the same thing. An Indian will never steal from you without you knowing, he's going to get your money with you agreeing. ;)

By far my computer is the most powerful machine to be found on campus. I had the luminous idea to introduce the people to Windows Server, but too late I realized that this required a 64-bit processor. Little did I know that this was a very rare thing in life. But again, everything has its bright side. At least I will gain some cringe resilience to all the outdated systems I will encounter on further stages in my life. For now, I'm using all creativity I got to make the best with given tools. Teaching ftw!

So yeah, I have the feeling like this post was like a real blog, rather then just a chain of witty jokes on my part. In fact, the level of jokes is too damn low in this post, but ah, at least I could tell my story. I postponed the 4th log for way to long and now I pay the price. I have to give actual content instead of jokes :/ pfff imagine the pain that I'm going through, to not feed the punning beast in me. But fear no more, because after log 4 there will be a log 5, and my adventure here will continue for about 3 more months.
So, I'll set sail with this one. Any remarks, questions and whatevers you might have, drop them down below and if you appreciated my writings, be sure to drop a little thumb, so that I know that people are actually reading this nonsense. ;) :p

Captain out
*drops mic

Captains's Log 5 - Month O'Showers 22

Captain's log: Entry 5: Saturday's Sayings
Ahoy Scoundrels,

It has been a while since I polluted your walls with a log of mine. But for the better! This is only because I'm having a good time and well filled schedule. It is only in times like these, during travelling and transportation, that I can utilise and refine my literature skills and suck up a few minutes from your precious time with my senseless blabbering. But time to dust off and start using my subject brackets again.

As my friends, family, students and other scallywags here might know, the internship is mighty fine. It's amazing how fast I got used to being a teacher and I'm sure going to be sad whenever it comes to an end. My head of department and collegues are super nice to me. There is a very agreeable work pressure, though I try to take plenty initiative (of which they are amazed; is there really someone who volunteers to do more work than expected? Yes. Yes there is, meet Esteban. :P) although the name Esteban is a name I haven't heared in a long time *Insert obi-wan meme*. As this name has already taken numerous forms and iterations, my students have decided to start calling me Ben. As people here tend to be more comfortable with that, I started to introduce myself as such. Yes, sometimes I do take the easy way out. :P (Buy they still expect me to remember 100+ student names such as saikrishnareddy (no offence to you bro if you're reading this, just using an example. ;) )) So, the meme was not only a meme, but also an inspiration *insert Ben Kenobi meme*
Although, I'm sidetracking (something that I tend to do a lot in my lectures), I'm having lots of fun and they give me enough time to cope with all my other assignments. My bachelor research is going steady and I hope to finish within the next month. ;)

Since my arrival here, I already travelled a lot. My perception of distances has changed ludacrusly but it has rendered me able to see a lot of beautiful things and do a lot of awesome stuff. The pace with which I'm exploring the world alone will be enough to provide a major setback once returned to Belgium. ;) By now I did, in order of appearance, Amritsar, Chandigarh, Manali, Kullu, Delhi, Jaipur, Rishikesh, Jaisalmer and last but definitely not least Agra. India is amazing. Travel a day towards the north and you're up on the mountains between the clouds. Do the same distance to the west and you're in a desert riding a camel. ;)
The stories that I gather on these trips are too much for facebook. Marc would call me again complaining that my post takes up one of his hard drives. I'll only give you the promise of those stories. The promise that we'll grab a fresh belgian beer and tell them on my return. ;)

If you're reading these mini-thesises for the lame jokes and witty humor; here's one for ya: "How do we call a belgian intern in India." ~ "A liquid".
With staggering 42 degrees I'm sometimes convinced that I fell into some lava (because obi-wan definitely had the higher ground). Every day is a fight between my basic survival instinct to stay inside and do nothing and my compulsion to go out and enjoy the sun that I so crave in my homeland.
But, my dear friends, I have been blessed. My room is equipped by man's greatest accomplishment in these dire times of need: the Air-conditioning. It saves my life and I sacrifice some baby-blood daily to keep the damn thing running.
But I can go on rambling explaining how hot it is here, but let me give you this little fact in order to settle it once and for all: After a trip on the rickshaw, and thus being in the direct sun for an hour I returned to my room and I was shocked, I forgot to turn off the AC and it was freezing! I had genuinely cold in my room. Twas only then that I noticed that my AC was set to 28 degrees. So yes, family from canada who read his, weep at the thought that I once had cold in temperatures that equal our summers. :P When we set 28 degrees in Belgium, we call it heating. Here they call it AC. :P

[Future Plans]
Right now, I'm sitting on an IndiGo Flight (superb planes btw) on my way to mumbai. Although northern​ India still has many secrets for me, It's time to go visit south. I'm landing in Mumbai in a few minutes, so I'll stop my preeching here. As my stories and experiences here get wayyyy to much to lay it all down in a post, know that you can always say hello in a chat in order to get some stories out there. ;) I've met so many people, lived in a desert town without electricity, rode a camel, took a bath in the ganges, parasailed in the Himalayas and played holi in rishikesh. In other worlds, I'm enjoying the fullest from the chance that has been given me.
And finally, even though I'm having fun, I really mis you fuckers. I love you all and I will be rejoiced once I set foot on land back in Belgium. After all, I only have a month and a half left here.

Love and greetings to you all,
Kind Regards,

Your Capt'n,