When water becomes a luxury!

OMR, as it is called was promoted as the "destination" for IT companies in Chennai in early 2000's. No doubt, this promise has turned true to some extent in attracting IT companies on the corridor.

 Ramesh, was one of the those who decided to live and work on the corridor. He bought an house , five years ago. For the last five years, one of the major problems for him has been the increasing maintenance bill. The bill has been swelling primarily  due to the growing "water supply" bill from the tankers. Most of the stretch lacks potable water ( underground water is too salty to be used for any purpose!) and so, fetching water through tanks ( owned by local politicians)is the only option for most of the flats. 

A couple of years ago, when the zone was reclassified into "City limits", residents  rejoiced considering the fact that now the municipality will take care of fixing the water woes. In reality, the panchayat water connection which was available earlier, completely stopped and the reliance on water tankers went up from 70% to 100%. Ramesh almost shells out Rs 10,000 for water almost every month now.( The amount usually goes higher up in summer). 

When the residents association of the flat represented their woes to local counsellor  ( elected representative of the ward), he demanded Rs 3 lakh a month to ensure corporation water supply. When another resident managed to get an appointment with the chairman of the "Water Board", the interview turned futile as the "Chairman" asked him , "Who asked you to buy an house knowing that there is NO water". The resident could do nothing except to shoot back a question "Who asked you to provide the approval , when water was not available". 
Net result:- Residents keep paying the exorbitant water bills apart from paying their EMIs. Traffic problems and incomplete flats are other issues on the road that require another post to elaborate. 
Whenever, government promotes a place as the next destination and the real estate prices shoot up- the middle class/ working class are definitely not the real beneficiaries!
Lesson :-Ensure  basic infrastructure  availability before you buy a flat ( easier said than done :-) )

Oslo- Copenhagen weekend getaway

Taking a cruise to Oslo is a good thing to do , if you  are looking forward for a weekend travel option from Copenhagen.

DFDS operates a cruise almost everyday between Copenhagen and Oslo.

You get a glimpse of the" fjords" as you enter Oslo through the sea route. If you plan to take the return cruise on the same day from Oslo,then you can use the "hop on hop off " tour options available at Oslo.

Oslo is a small and pretty place. It is more expensive than Copenhagen, so please ensure your wallet is rightly loaded when you plan to take this tour!

Rome and Venice - Travel tips

I did a 3 day trip of Rome and Venice from Copenhagen. Here are a few  tips for visitors from those visits.

1. Most of the attractions can be covered by walk and you can follow the crowd to reach the attraction. ( esp. in summer).
2. 24 hour travel pass on public transport can be of help when you need to move around from one cluster of sights to another .( Please prefer the metro trains . I found the buses highly unreliable in Rome)
3. Coloseo (Colosseum), Roman Forum and Palantine hill are all covered under one ticket. Try to get your entry ticket at Palantine hill & Roman forum instead of Colosseum. ( The tickets can be bought from 8.30 AM). You can then visit the historic Coloseo anytime of the day with the same ticket ( of course, before it closes down) getting past the waiting crowd. Taking a guide just for the sake of beating the rush may not be a great idea unless you don't mind burning extra Euros!
4. Vatican museum- To get an entry ticket without waiting in the line, Please go there past mid-day. 
(Both clues 3 and 4 worked out for me . I picked those clues from the web ! )
5. Read about the history of Rome and the places you plan to visit. This can add more depth to your visit.

Next to Venice ( High Speed trains are available between Rome ( Roma termini) and Venice ( Venezia S Luzia) very frequently. Book your ticket in advance to save some money ( trenitalia.com)!)

Most of Venice can be seen by walk or by sailing. I found the public transport "Vaporetto" as an economical option to go around the place. 12 hour/ 18 Hour/24 hour / trip tickets are available. 

Enjoy your trip!

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Weekend trip to Vienna.

Vienna or Wien is a calmer city compared to the other European capitals during summers. Vienna is well connected by bus, train and air to the other major cities. Booking well in advance would fetch you very economical fare for both travel and accommodation.
If you are flying into  Vienna, there are two options to get to the city. Take the costlier non-stop CAT( city airport train) if you are travelling till city center "Mitte". S7 is an economical option and take to you even ahead of "Mitte".  The train tickets are valid till you reach your destination in Vienna city ( i.e it is valid on trams, U-bahn and bus after you alight in zone 100)- Of course, within the validity time.

http://www.wienerlinien.at/eportal/ can be handy to plan your routes around the city

Please have some 10 Euro notes handy as many machines may not accept cards or bigger denominations of Euro to get the ticket from the ticket machines.
If you are taking the CAT back to airport, you may can check-in your luggage and get your boarding pass at "Mitte" before you board the train.

When you are in Vienna~

Buying a day ticket for all modes of transport including the yellow " ring tram" is a great option to move around in the city and covers trams, buses, S line and U line trains (Zone 100).
Vienna card also may be considered as an option , if you think that you see value on the card for yourselves.

The ring tram offers a quick view of the historical city in about half an hour time. It also has an audio video system with different language options to give details about the different places in that route. The Austrian parliament, Hofburg palace, St Stephens cathedral, The city hall are a must visit among them.

Apart from it, the schonbrunn palace is a must visit place and you can easily spend half a day there relaxing in the gardens and enjoying the beautiful landscapes.

Belvedere palace, Hundertwasser house and Wiener Risenrad are the other tourist attractions in Wien.

The viennese ferris wheel is a landmark in the city, more than a hundred years old and has survived the world war 2. What makes this amusement park different is that compared to the others elsewhere, the entry is free and you pay only for the rides you take. There are more rides for kids, toy train and also "Madame Tussads" museum all within Prater.

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