Sunday, July 3, 2011

People know us...

I feel completely acclimated to life in India.  Taking the 335-E to ITPL (International Tech Park), eating lunch in the food court where I now know what I can and cannot handle, treating myself to a Mango Lassi in the afternoon, and enjoying a home-cooked meal by Babu after a long day at Avesthagen.  The trains sell out well in advance so I was unable to visit the ruins at Hampi or head south to Anapuzha for a weekend on a houseboat.
On Friday, I enjoyed dinner at home before going downtown.  After hours of research, I stumbled upon Zero G which is another rooftop lounge in Bangalore.  Babu called the driver and Troy, Daniela, & I went downtown which took over an hour as traffic is horrendous due to poorly constructed roads.  Upon arrival, I came across five large men guarding the elevator and after paying the cover charge (which actually go towards beverages in India) another man took us up the elevator to the 10th floor rooftop.  Zero G has an actual dance floor and several private rooms where corporate parties for Accenture and HSBC were being held as well as a pool in the back.  The drinks were decent but the atmosphere and being able to dance made it a perfect evening.  I met two employees for Deloitte who are from New Zealand and several other employees from Deloitte who are Indian.  They invited us back to their apartment afterwards and we exchanged information to meet up again on Saturday Evening.
On Saturday, Daniela and I went to Hyper City which is a grocery store on steroids, and I dare to say better than Wegmans.  However, the rickshaw ride took forever as the driver asked countless people, including two policemen for directions and still nobody knew where Hyper City is located, despite it being a new massive construction in Whitefield.  Daniela had to do price comparisons for her business plan and I accompanied her before going to Forum Value Mall to see a movie.  Unfortunately, like last weekend the movies were sold out so we walked around and had lunch before returning home for dinner.  I will try to go to the movies this week when demand is lower.  Saturday evening, Troy, Daniela, Peiran, & I braved the monsoon weather and took a taxi downtown to The Beach.  The Beach is a freestanding club with sand as the floor which is awkward at first but you get used to it.  Thomas joined us after not feeling well all week due to food poisoning and I met up with everyone from Deloitte which made for a fun filled evening as they taught us Indian dance moves.
Today, Daniela, Troy, & I took the 335-E downtown.  I really wanted to see the Bangalore Palace but of course no one knew how to get there and the rickshaw dropped us off at some fairground where a technology exhibition is taking place. However, I enjoyed the outdoor market-like atmosphere of Commercial Street.  The area surrounding Commercial Street is filled with souvenirs, scarves, sarees, and anything else you need to buy.  After lunch at a local Indian restaurant where I had buttered chicken masala, buttered naan, and ghee rice, I went on an adventure for scarves.  I came across a small store down some stairs where the men were extremely helpful and patient with us as we narrowed down from thousands of potential scarves.  They were not pushy and did not force us to like or buy any scarves and allowed us to decide which ones to see.  I ended up buying quite a few as either gifts or for myself and negotiating at the end is always fun to see how good of a bargain you can obtain.  Three tourists inside the store were asking about specific scarves and a shop-owner told one of the ladies that the Chartreuse scarf is 55,000 rupees or $1,230.  I am unaware of the significance of the material but the shop-owners brought out the scarf for the tourists and we felt the material as well.
I begin my fourth week of work at Avesthagen tomorrow.  I cannot believe how quickly time is passing and I have already learned so much and am excited to continue exploring India in the weeks to come.  Several of the executives are out of the office.  Anil and Dhiren are at a bio-tech conference in Washington, DC and Villoo (the founder) is in NYC followed by Europe trying to close some business deals.
Daniela & I at Zero G (10th floor rooftop)

Random assorted candies for sale everywhere


Just a typical scarf store.

The most crowded store I have ever been to; a hoarder's paradise

Vendor on Commercial Street

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