As i begin my last day of work here and start contemplating the true tourist part of the trip, i’m getting very excited. My hosts here have offered to help me find accommodations (can’t afford to continue in a 5-star hotel on my own dime), arrange a trip to Mysore, and a trip to Banerghatta National Park. i’m really looking forward to that.
When I finally made it down to the lobby yesterday, I had just missed the arrival of the Prime Minister of Nepal. He is visiting India and making nice, but mostly has come to Bangalore, it seems, to check out the IT industry and see what might be possible in his own country. Astoundingly, he’s staying at the same hotel where we are staying. This means that the place is crawling with police and press. Yesterday, we weren’t even allowed to the leave the hotel at the time we’d planned because roads were closed to allow for his arrival. During his arrival, rose petals were thrown down upon him and floral garlands were strewn around the necks of his entire entourage. I missed all of this, of course, and arrived just in time to see the last stragglers coming in and a member of the hotel staff diligently sweeping up all the rose petals.
Because of other road closures, we took a slightly different route to work yesterday. This didn’t make much difference to me because I’m completely disoriented here anyway. However, I did get to see a boy grazing his goats, in addition to the usual feral dogs and cows on the side of the road. At one point, on a busy stretch of Hosur Road in Electronic City, there were cows lying down on both sides, severely restricting the flow of traffic.
We had a very productive and interesting day of work, and even got to observe some folks in the midst of doing exactly the kinds of work that we pay them to do. It was really eye-opening to see just how professional the whole gigantic operation is. I know this seems naive, but I pictured business over here being much different. I could honestly see coming to work here every day, though I just couldn’t bear the traffic.
For lunch, we had Domino’s Pizzas again. They’re nothing like what we have in the States. Our hosts tell us that Domino’s is the best pizza you can get in India. I particularly enjoyed the one with spiced ground lamb.
I tried Indian coffee for the first time yesterday and am now absolutely hooked. It’s incredible – very dark roast and brewed very strongly. There’s almost a chocolaty overtone to it. I haven’t tried to adulterate yet because I am so enjoying the intense experience of the pure beast.
We got back to the hotel very late last night, so we headed straight for the bar. Mike and I enjoyed our beers, he had more Spicy Chicken Angels (their name for the weird wings), and I enjoyed a veggie lasagne, which was surprisingly good. I got to bed by about 1, and then woke up around 5. I managed to stay in bed until about 6, but then got up and started bustling around. I don’t know why I can’t just get a normal night’s sleep. Oh, and I’m still dizzy. I think it started on the plane. Stress, perhaps?
Since I was up so early, I managed to make it to the breakfast buffet. I had a couple different veggie pakoras with chutney, some perfectly ordinary khir (which is good, even when it’s ordinary), a couple palak paratha and some baigun bartha. These last were in a separate part of the buffet that offers solely organic foods. Very nice. My apologies for the spelling. After I finished eating, I realized that there was someone making fresh dosas. Maybe tomorrow…
There’s a lot of unrest here these days. Throughout the state of Karnataka (where I am), there have been attacks on Catholic churches, burning sacred objects and creating general chaos. The papers refer to the people behind these acts as “miscreants,” which I just love. The general consensus seems to be that these acts are politically motivated, and not strictly religious in nature. I obviously don’t understand the political landscape well enough to even know what that means, but it’s troubling.
I was watching the news this morning and was struck by something. There was a story about the Indian space program (I didn’t know there was one), which must cost a basketload of money, and it was followed immediately by a story about the millions of homeless and ill after the flooding in Bihar. I wondered about the spending priorities, and realized it’s the same as in the States, where we’re happy to spend billions on a space program while millions are hungry and homeless.
I’m sorry to say I have no pictures to share today. I found out yesterday that photography is strictly prohibited on our hosts’ campus, which means that my photos from day 2 are completely illicit. Oops. Please don’t tell anyone. 😉