Thursday, July 30, 2009

An email from US Consulate-- Must read for Ahmedabad Expats

Consulate General of the United States of America

American Citizens Services Unit

78, Bhulabhai Desai Road, Mumbai 400 026, India

Telephone: 91 22 2363 3611, Extn: 4306; Facsimile: 91 22 2367 7026

E-mail: Website:

Date: July 30, 2009

Dear American citizens:

We bring this message to your attention so you can carefully consider the information it contains. Please pass along the information below to the American citizens in your area or put this information on your notice boards for dissemination. Thank you for your cooperation.

Worldwide Caution

July 30, 2009

The Department of State has issued this Worldwide Caution to update information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against American citizens and interests throughout the world. In some countries, the worldwide recession has contributed to political and economic instability and social unrest. American citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. This replaces the Worldwide Caution dated February 2, 2009 to provide updated information on security threats and terrorist activities worldwide.

The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas. Americans are reminded that demonstrations and rioting can occur with little or no warning. Current information suggests that al-Qaida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in multiple regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics including suicide operations, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, and bombings. The July 17 bombing of the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta, Indonesia, where at least nine people were killed and six Americans were among the 50 or more injured; the February 2009 kidnapping of an American UNHCR official in Pakistan; the kidnapping of four European tourists in January on the Mali-Niger border; the kidnapping of two Canadian diplomats in Niger in December 2008; and the kidnapping of NGO workers along the Kenya-Somali border in July 2009 all illustrate the continuing desire of extremists to strike Western targets and perceived interests.

Extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional weapons, and target both official and private interests. Examples of such targets include high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, and locales where Americans gather in large numbers, including during holidays. Terrorists attacked two hotels, a railway station, restaurant, hospital, and other locations frequented by Westerners in Mumbai, India, on November 26, 2008. Over 170 persons are believed to have been killed, including six Americans, and hundreds were injured. On September 20, 2008, terrorists bombed the Islamabad Marriott Hotel killing two U.S. Department of Defense employees and one Department of State contractor. One private American sustained minor injuries. A July 9, 2008, terrorist attack on Turkish police guarding the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey, killed three police officers and wounded other police personnel. The March 15, 2008, bombing of an Italian restaurant in Islamabad, Pakistan, injured several Americans.

Americans are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems. Bombs exploded near city buses in Tripoli, Lebanon, on August 13 and September 29, 2008, killing twenty-one people. Other incidents include multiple anti-personnel mine detonations on passenger buses in June 2008 in Sri Lanka, multiple terrorist attacks on trains in India in 2006, the July 2005 London Underground bombings, and the March 2004 train attacks in Madrid. Extremists also may select aviation and maritime services as possible targets, such as the August 2006 plot against aircraft in London, or the December 2006 bomb at Madrid's Barajas International Airport. In June 2007, a vehicle was driven into the main terminal at Glasgow International Airport and burst into flames, but the bomb failed to detonate.

The Middle East and North Africa

Credible information indicates terrorist groups seek to continue attacks against U.S. interests in the Middle East and North Africa. Terrorist actions may include bombings, hijackings, hostage taking, kidnappings, and assassinations. While conventional weapons such as explosive devices are a more immediate threat in many areas, use of non-conventional weapons, including chemical or biological agents, must be considered a possible threat. Terrorists do not distinguish between official and civilian targets. Increased security at official U.S. facilities has led terrorists and their sympathizers to seek softer targets such as public transportation, residential areas, and public areas where people congregate, including restaurants, hotels, clubs, and shopping areas.

In January 2009, unidentified gunmen opened fire outside the U.S. Embassy in Sana'a, Yemen. No injuries were reported. On September 17, 2008, armed terrorists attacked the U.S. Embassy in Sana'a, Yemen, killing several Yemeni personnel, one embassy security guard, and a few individuals waiting to gain entry to the embassy. On January 15, 2008, a roadside explosion in Beirut, Lebanon killed three Lebanese and injured an American citizen. On December 11, 2007, two vehicle-borne explosive devices were detonated at the UN headquarters in Algiers and the Algerian Constitutional Council. There were a series of bombings in Morocco in March and April 2007, two of which occurred simultaneously outside the U.S. Consulate General and the private American Language Center in Casablanca. Additionally, an attack took place on the American International School in Gaza in April 2007. These events underscore the intent of terrorist entities to target facilities perceived to cater to Westerners.

Potential targets are not limited to those companies or establishments with overt U.S. ties. For instance, terrorists may target movie theaters, liquor stores, bars, casinos, or any similar type of establishment, regardless of whether they are owned and operated by host country nationals. Due to varying degrees of security at all such locations, Americans should be particularly vigilant when visiting these establishments.

The violence in Iraq and conflict between Palestinians and Israelis has the potential to produce demonstrations and unrest throughout the region. The armed conflict between Israeli forces and Hamas in Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009 raised tensions and sparked demonstrations throughout the world. The Department of State continues to warn of the possibility for violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests in the region. Anti-American violence could include possible terrorist actions against aviation, ground transportation, and maritime interests, specifically in the Middle East, including the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, the Arabian Peninsula, and North Africa.

The Department is concerned that extremists may be planning to carry out attacks against Westerners and oil workers on the Arabian Peninsula. Armed attacks targeting foreign nationals in Saudi Arabia that resulted in many deaths and injuries, including U.S. citizens, appear to have been preceded by extensive surveillance. On February 22, 2009, there was a bomb attack targeting a popular tourist destination in Cairo, Egypt's Old City. Tourist destinations in Egypt frequented by Westerners were also attacked in April 2006 resulting in many deaths and injuries, including Americans. Extremists may be surveilling Westerners, particularly at hotels, housing areas, and rental car facilities. Potential targets may include U.S. contractors, particularly those related to military interests. Financial or economic venues of value also could be considered as possible targets; the failed attack on the Abqaiq oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia in late February 2006 and the September 2006 attack on oil facilities in Yemen are examples.

East Africa

A number of al-Qaida operatives and other extremists are believed to be operating in and around East Africa. As a result of the conflict in Somalia, some of these individuals may seek to relocate elsewhere in the region. Americans considering travel to the region and those already there should review their plans carefully, remain vigilant with regard to their personal security, and exercise caution. Terrorist actions may include suicide operations, bombings, kidnappings, or targeting maritime vessels. Terrorists do not distinguish between official and civilian targets. Increased security at official U.S. facilities has led terrorists to seek softer targets such as hotels, beach resorts, prominent public places, and landmarks. In particular, terrorists and like-minded extremists may target international aid workers, civil aviation, and seaports in various locations throughout East Africa, including Somalia. On July 17, three NGO workers were kidnapped by unidentified gunmen from their base in Mandera, Kenya, located on the border with Somalia. Americans in remote areas or border regions where military or police authority is limited or non-existent could also become targets.

Americans considering travel by sea near the Horn of Africa or in the southern Red Sea should exercise extreme caution, as there has been a notable increase in armed attacks, robberies, and kidnappings for ransom at sea by pirates in recent months. Merchant vessels continue to be hijacked in Somali territorial waters, while others have been hijacked as far as 300 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia, Yemen, and Kenya in international waters.

The U.S. Government maritime authorities advise mariners to avoid the port of Mogadishu, and to remain at least 200 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia. In addition, when transiting around the Horn of Africa or in the Red Sea, it is strongly recommended that vessels travel in convoys, and maintain good communications contact at all times. Americans traveling on commercial passenger vessels should consult with the shipping or cruise ship company regarding precautions that will be taken to avoid hijacking incidents. Commercial vessels should review the Department of Transportation Maritime Administration's suggested piracy countermeasures for vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden.

West Africa

The terrorist group, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), has become increasingly active in the West African countries of Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, as well as in parts of North Africa. AQIM uses regions of these countries as safe havens and platforms from which to conduct operations. Formerly known as GSPC (Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat), AQIM has been designated a terrorist organization by both the United States and the European Union

AQIM has declared its intention to attack Western interests and targets. AQIM is known to operate in the northern region of Mali, the southeastern region of Mauritania, and along the border between Niger and Mali. In addition to being a threat to Westerners, AQIM contributes to civil unrest and banditry, which reinforce longstanding security concerns in West Africa. U.S. citizens are urged to avoid travel to these areas. U.S. government personnel are required to obtain advance written approval to travel to these areas. For additional information about travel in this region, please consult the Country Specific Information (CSI) for Mauritania, Mali, and Niger.

South and Central Asia

The U.S. Government continues to receive information that terrorist groups in South and Central Asia may be planning attacks in the region, possibly against U.S. Government facilities, American citizens, or American interests. The presence of al-Qaida, Taliban elements, indigenous sectarian groups, and other terror organizations, many of which are on the U.S. Government's list of foreign terror organizations, poses a potential danger to American citizens in the region. Terrorists and their sympathizers have demonstrated their willingness and capability to attack targets where Americans or Westerners are known to congregate or visit. Their actions may include, but are not limited to, vehicle-born explosives, improvised explosive devices, assassinations, carjacking, rocket attacks, assaults or kidnappings.

In June 2009, gunmen stormed the Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar, Pakistan, and detonated a bomb that resulted in several deaths and scores of injuries. In February 2009, Taliban insurgents conducted a coordinated terrorist attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, which resulted in the death of at least 26 and the wounding of 50 individuals. Between October 2008 and June 2009, several American citizens were kidnapped in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In November 2008, coordinated terrorist attacks on luxury hotels, a Jewish community center, a restaurant, train station, hospital, and other facilities frequented by foreigners in Mumbai, India, killed more than 170, including six Americans. On November 12, 2008, an American government contractor and his driver in Peshawar, Pakistan, were shot and killed in their car. In September 2008, more than fifty people, including three Americans, were killed and hundreds were injured when a suicide bomber set off a truck filled with explosives outside a major international hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan. In August 2008, gunmen stopped and shot at the vehicle of an American diplomat in Peshawar. Also in August, three western non-governmental organization (NGO) employees, along with their Afghan driver, were gunned down as they traveled south of Kabul, Afghanistan. On June 2, 2008, a large bomb exploded in front of the Danish Embassy in Islamabad, killing at least six people and wounding nearly 20. In May 2008, a series of coordinated bombings occurred in market and temple areas of the tourist city of Jaipur in Rajasthan, India. In Afghanistan, kidnappings and terrorist attacks on international organizations, international aid workers, and foreign interests continue.

Previous terrorist attacks conducted in Central Asia have involved improvised explosive devices and suicide bombers and have targeted public areas, such as markets, local government facilities, and, in 2004, the U.S. and Israeli Embassies in Uzbekistan. In addition, hostage-takings and skirmishes have occurred near the Uzbek-Tajik-Kyrgyz border areas.

Before You Go

U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration web site to obtain updated information on travel and security. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal security. For additional information, please refer to "A Safe Trip Abroad".

U.S. Government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert. These facilities may temporarily close or periodically suspend public services to assess their security posture. In those instances, U.S. embassies and consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens. Americans abroad are urged to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

As the Department continues to develop information on any potential security threats to U.S. citizens overseas, it shares credible threat information through its Consular Information Program documents. In addition to information on the Internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, outside the United States and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Friday, Eastern Time (except U.S. federal holidays.)

U.S. citizens may contact the American Citizens Services Unit of the Embassy or the Consulates General for further information. Each of the telephone numbers listed below is available 24 hours a day for emergency services. (The “+” sign refers to your international access code, which is 011 if dialing from the United States or 00 from most other countries.)

-- The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi is located at Shanti Path, Chanakya Puri 110021; telephone +91-11-2419-8000; fax +91-11-2419-8407. The Embassy's Internet home page address is

-- The U.S. Consulate General in Mumbai (Bombay) is located at Lincoln House, 78 Bhulabhai Desai Road, 400026, telephone +91-22-2363-3611; fax +91-22-2363-0350. Internet home page address is

-- The U.S. Consulate General in Calcutta (Kolkata) is at 5/1 Ho Chi Minh Sarani, 700071; telephone +91-33-3984-2400; fax +91-33-2282-2335. The Internet home page address is

-- The U.S. Consulate General in Chennai (Madras) is at 220 Anna Salai, Gemini Circle, 600006, telephone +91-44-2857-4000; fax +91-44-2857-4443. The Internet home page address is

-- The U.S. Consulate General in Hyderabad is at Paigah Palace, 1-8-323, Chiran Fort Lane, Begumpet, Secunderabad 500 003; telephone: +91 (40) 4033-8300. The Internet home page address is

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Some much postitive points about India

OMG!! I got food poisoning...

Oh my... I have not really got sick since I have been here but the good Doctor to me to have lunch and he got sick then I did. I thought I was going to die. Well, actually, I would have had to get better before I died. ha ha ha

I called the real doctor and he was at my house in about 15 mins and gave me a mean injection and a few hours later....almost as good as new. I felt much better.

Another thing happened that shows that India is not so is really kinda nice...

The other night (Saturday) we had another game night. My friend rode the "widow maker" to my house and on the way his bag, of cds and scotch, fell off. It had many other important things but as any Ahmedabad Expats knows these are the most important. Anyway, he was quite upset but it did not hurt our night as he had asked someone to go look for it. They did not find it, though. But the next day I get a delightful email that said:

"I got a text msg said, "hey, did you lose a bag?" and I thought how the hell did he know I lost my bag.

In my bag I had my scotch, my CD's, my phone cord, a towel, a change of pants and shirt in case I got wet and my notebook. The notebook had my friend's phone number from the other day when he offered to help me and I said I would call him the next morning. So guy from the society here had found my bag and looked through the notebook for any kind of contact, found my friend's number and called him,.

I sent someone to go and go it and EVERYTHING was there!

So anyway, it certainly made my day go much better. What a great country!"

That is two nice stories that, anywhere in the world, you do not hear very often. So, the next time you think of India think of the kind doctor that comes to your house and cares for you, with top notch service, and think of the honest citizen that returns your bag of invaulable cds and scotch. Thank you India!!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Misc Pictures of our Ahmedabad Expat Life....

Me feeding a baby tiger...I got a lot of private time with her. She kept roaring at me...She is so beautiful..

Ben at Hard Rock Bangkok.. He insisted that we go there twice..I wonder why?

I was ready to take him home in place of Ben...

They are better trained than most men I know...

What can I say...We were in the Bangkok airport

Bangkok Hard Rock

Ben and his girl "killer V"

Ben and Rowen...She is the cutest and sweetest girl..

Ben loves the girls

Rowen says "Ben's shoes are smelly"

Dylan, Ben and Rowen at Ben's Pajama party...He host it while mommy host the grown up parties...

He is an excellent host

Ben after he cleaned his face...

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Hello! I have been one busy girl......

Things are going well in Ahmedabad. It is finally raining. Each day I am meeting new and interesting people. My life is very exciting. God has truly blessed me.

I have been getting a good response to my blog so, that encourages me to do more. Thank you for all the support.

I have been hosting "parties" that everyone seems to have a lot of fun. At least that is what they tell me. ha ha

Ben is doing really well in school and socially. He is really thriving.

Some of our expats are leaving or have left but we are getting new ones everyday which sometimes makes for a nice change. I do miss the ones that have gone though.

I will continue to update daily and if you email me and I am a bit slow on the response .... I am sorry.. I am just busy. I will get to it. But please keep the emails coming.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Ahmedabad Expat Friendly Places

I wanted to start the listing of expat friendly here are some of my thoughts...

Curry's Restaurant on SG HWY--serves excellent non veg, and the wait staff is very helpful. The restaurant seems to be very clean and the bathrooms are also, clean That is a big plus. I believe that you can judge a place by how clean the restroom is. My favorite dish to get there is the grilled prawn sizzler and the hot fudge nut sundae. Hmmm.....

Indian Airline--- not so expat friendly--- I took this airline recently to Thailand. We flew first class but the air host were very rude. The food was ok but the tv selection (mostly Hindi and OLD English shows) was not that of Singapore airlines or Emirates. The hassle of getting a new ticket each time we departed was insane. We waited in long lines and the people were less than helpful. I was so disappointed with the service that I will not fly them again.

Please tell us what you think...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

What I have to say about being an Ahmedabad Expat -- moving advice

My post about advice on moving here......This was done about 1.5 yrs ago....Tomorrow I will add what I have learned and how this has changed. Also, look for more videos and pictures from our trip to Thailand.

Expat Advice: Moving to Ahmedabad, India

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Ahmedabad, India

Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.


1. steak/more food

2. Better converters

3. boots


1. Jacket

2. Sonicare toothbrush (doesn't work here with the brown electricity)

3. skirts

What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?

My advice is have someone that is familiar with the area and housing market find and negotiate the terms of the house. You are likely to get it cheaper and the best location.

What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?

We live in a flat. Which works perfect for us. A few other expats live in flats as well but for the most part they live in bungalows. But one thing we all have in common is we all live in gated secured communities.

How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?

We actually paid someone before we came to set up our home. But, in my husband's business that is something that we do. Locate and set up housing for foreigners in India. So, we base it on location to malls, stores, and other places we find expats like to frequent. We also, consider the place of employment along with cost.

Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?

I have not been in the US in nearly 2 years so I do not know is housing is more expensive. But, I do know housing cost here are on the rise. Most expats I know pay at least $1,000 per month for rent. But our flat is a bit smaller (there is only 3 of us) but still is 4 bedrooms and we pay a little more than $500. The best part is we are in a great location. I take the smaller flat vs. the big bungalow for the location any day.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Oprah says.....

The Sex Files

Dr. Laura Berman and Oprah
An active sex life isn't just good for your relationship, it's also great for your health. Dr. Berman says frequent sexual activity makes you look seven to 12 years younger, improves your immune system by 33 percent and decreases heart disease by 50 percent. It also decreases stress and insomnia and acts as a natural pain reliever, especially for menstrual cramps and headaches.

Dr. Berman says couples need to keep gender differences in mind when striving for a good sex life. Men take an average of five to 10 minutes to reach orgasm, while women need about 15 to 20 minutes. "If men are a microwave oven, women are a slow-burning stove," she says. "It's a big difference."

I am a firm believer in this and have been for years.....

Thursday, July 16, 2009

More trip stuff..........


Hard Rock Bangkok....

Everywhere we went the girls loved him

Hard Rock Bangkok

Me in my new DG glasses

See what I have to live with

Me and my new Armani glasses

Rickshaw ride

Dunkin Doughnuts!!!!!!!!!

Giving at the Temple

This is the largest reclining Buddha in Bangkok

Temple in Bangkok

These were cool

Bangkok city

The UN building

Picture of the King

I bought several of these rings. They are hand carved out of wood. They are beautiful.

More to come tomorrow!!!!!!!! Stay tuned!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More pics from the trip.......More to come tomorrow........

At a temple in Bangkok

Temple in Bangkok


Rickshaws in Bangkok

He believes in Peace and Love

Silly kid

His favorite place to sleep

Asleep again........

On a bus in Bangkok

She gave him a massage......

My traditional massage

That Thai girl did this to me with a traditional massage...if you ever get the chance get one!!!

Ben eating quail eggs...He loved them


Tomorrow I will be posting more pictures and some videos. I will also be telling about my trip.... So, stay tuned!!!!!!!! Hope you are enjoying!!!!!