Well, I overslept this morning (which is a story, in itself), so I don’t have much time for today’s update. Here are the highlights:
We got to meet another bigwig, an SVP, at our vendor yesterday. Had a very indulgent and delicious lunch with him, including a sort of paneer korma that was absolutely scrumptious. The funny thing is that I woke up yesterday with absolutely no appetite. I didn’t feel sick, but just not hungry. As soon as I started eating this amazing food, though, my appetite came drooling back.
After a really intense and interesting presentation from our vendor, we conducted a town hall meeting. I created the presentation and Mike presented it. It went really well, in this extremely impressive auditorium that the vendor has, with what they claim is the world’s largest big screen TV. Wow. The amount of money this company has is absolutely mind-blowing.
After our meetings, we went to dinner with our hosts. Our driver took us to a mall in the middle of Bangalore called the Forum. It pretty much looked like a shopping mall anywhere in the world, except that there are metal detectors and people who search your bags at every single entrance. Oh, and there were very young, uniformed guys (they looked like Boy Scouts, actually) who searched the boot of our car before we could come into the parking garage. At any rate, the restaurant wasn’t open yet when we got there, so we went to the attached pub, which was called Firangi Panni (like frangipane). We had beers, mouth-watering meat skewers, and very tasty, deep-fried corn-and-garlic fritters. Mmm… One thing I noticed: the bartender was very careful to place our coasters in front of us so that the name of the pub faced us. Nice attention to detail that you never see in the States, where bartenders just throw down coasters without a thought.
The restaurant finally opened and I was absolutely blown away. It is called Sahib Sindh Sultan. Check it out here. It’s a theme restaurant based on the first ever passenger train in India, which ran between Mumbai and Thane. The train cars were named Sahib, Sindh and Sultan, and the staff of the restaurant dress as either sahibs, sindhs or sultans, depending on their jobs. Half of the restaurant (and the half we were fortunate enough to eat in) is actually a recreation of the train cars themselves, including luggage racks (with luggage), ancient metal fans on the ceiling, and periodic train station announcements. Yes, it sounds like a cheesy theme restaurant, but the quality of the food made the theme totally interesting. If the food had been terrible, it would have been a different story. We ate crunch pappadum with a spicy chutney, a delicious bread called kulcha, a very spicy, saucy murgh makhani-type dish, some spinach dal, and chicken biryani. Our hosts, Pramod and Sanjay, were amazed at my tolerance for Indian spice. Mmm… Once again, we left feeling completely overstuffed.
When I got back to the hotel, I got caught up on email and went to bed by 11, with a goal of getting lots of sleep. I was feeling sort of dizzy and lightheaded all day yesterday, and attributed this to jet lag. I got to sleep, but was awakened at 6:45 in the morning by a cell phone call. I was alarmed to hear my phone ringing, looked at the display, and saw a very long series of numbers. Concerned that this was an important call, I answered it, and it turned out to be an Obama volunteer. I told her I was in India and couldn’t talk, and she apologized profusely, even though she did nothing wrong. After I hung up, I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep, so I took a Benadryl, ate a Luna bar, put some “Sound Sleep” essential oil on my pillow (provided by the hotel, of course) and tried to settle back in. What seemed like moments later, my room phone rang. It was Mike, telling me that our departure time from the hotel today would have to be delayed by an hour because the Nepali Prime Minister is staying in the hotel and they’re restricting traffic on the roads around the hotel during his arrival. I’m hoping to catch a glimpse of him. Anyway, I hung up the phone and discovered that it was 11 a.m.! So I think I should be caught up on sleep. Still feeling a bit dizzy though. Oh well.
So far this trip has been largely about meetings and eatings. Tomorrow will be my last day of work, though, so the stories will change.
I didn’t have the chance to take many photos yesterday, but I hate to post without pictures, so here are some pictures of things in my hotel room.