Sunday, June 12, 2011

Meeting Anil & Exploring Downtown Bangalore

This morning I awoke at 8:20 AM which was perfect timing because Babu made us eggs and toast for breakfast at 8:30 AM which is not exactly Indian but I think he wanted us to feel comfortable.  I am still confused by the dynamic between Babu and the little boy that follows him, both of which have been wearing the same clothes since I arrived on Saturday.  The little boy does not speak which adds to the creepiness as he will watch you constantly, especially while making a phone call. They constantly offer us tea and coffee and literally spend the entire day in the kitchen.  The kitchen is their territory, I had yet to enter until this evening when I utilized the ironing board to with Babu, offered to iron my clothes but I declined.  I hope to gain their respect as currently the kitchen appears off limits.  Additionally they stand in the kitchen as we eat at the dining table.  I would much rather prefer them to join us or sit in the living room because the hovering is awkward

Peiran arrived around 2 AM last night so I met her this morning.  She is from Shanghai and goes to UVA.  Daniella, the fourth intern living at Prestige Langleigh arrives at 4:30 AM tomorrow (Monday morning) which is going to be rough since we start work that day.

After breakfast, Anil, a doctor for Avesthagen who has been in contact with Financiers without Borders, arrived at our apartment and gave us a chicken-scratched drawling of the local area.  He did provide helpful insights of where the Bazaars are and the local market and relative prices for Rickshaws and the bus so that was extremely helpful as locals will continue to try to rip off foreigners.  I am still confused about starting work tomorrow as Anil said people trickle in on Monday morning and may not arrive til 10 AM but I believe we are going to go in at 9 AM.  My project for Avesthagen is working on their legal licences for their products internationally.  I feel the company has high expectations of us so I hope I am able to meet them.

Drumsticks, Indian Restaurant

Once Anil departed, we called a taxi and Peiran, Troy, & I went into downtown Bangalore which is about 45 minutes or so depending on traffic.  I ate at drumsticks which is an Indian restaurant, however, the waitress keep trying to convince us to order from their American restaurant's menu, Calypso.  We repeatedly informed her that we wanted to indulge in Indian cuisine as we will be here for seven weeks so we ordered three plates and shared them.

Unfortunately, they were out of lamb and fish so we received three chicken dishes of which the Tandoori and the second was not spicy, however the third was spicy but the rice helped significantly.  I hope to increase my tolerance of spices over the summer and build up my immunity so I can venture from westernized restaurants to local venues and street vendors.

Lifestyle Center (they actually exist from Finance class)
 There are multiple Lifestyle Centers in Bangalore.  They are essentially massive 4-5 story westernized department stores with several familiar brands.  You have to go through a metal detector to enter the department stores, however, no one appears to ever be stopped by security.  Each mall has one or two large coffee shops, but not restaurants or food courts which is strange since there are few restaurants in the nearby vicinity.  Walking around downtown, I noticed more non-Indians, whether American or European.  Still minimal but more than the past two days.  I expected this international tech city to have more diversity but I have yet to see it.

I ventured into a couple malls with dim lighting and filled with local silk and cashmere shops.  I did not enter any, as I know from before, once you enter you can rarely leave without buying anything.  Yes in the middle of the city there was a cow tied to a post with a calf around the corner.  The pollution is terrible as dust and exhaust fumes fill the air along with odor from trash.  There are no trash cans along the streets and the sidewalks are dilapidated and mostly just dirt and trash which creates an odor throughout the city.

Polluted River
View from the 13th floor terrace one of the few skyscrapers in downtown Bangalore

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