Thursday, November 15, 2007

A few updates

Hi everyone! Sorry I haven't written in a little while. This time I can't blame a power outage, just my own business and laziness. Here are some updates from my life.
  • Our office is moving - and good thing, too. There aren't enough desks for everyone and, as the newest team member, I've been floating between conference rooms and apologetically wedging in between people's desks. Today I sat in the "discussion room". That's a room that most Indian offices have near the reception area, which is for handling the many vendors and suppliers and drivers that stream in and out throughout the day. That way they have a place to sit and wait and they don't interrupt the flow of traffic. Other qualities of Indian offices? We have an "office boy" - a great guy named Naveen who takes care of things like errands, cleaning, photocopies, etc. He also brings us lunch every day. (I know, it's a tough life.) Our new office will have a cleaning staff of 4 people who are there all day every day! This seemed like overkill to me until I remembered how dirty and dusty it is in India. You pretty much have to have someone mopping all the time if you want it to stay clean. Oh, and another characteristic of our new office? We are having a puja - a Hindu cleansing ceremony - to bless the office before we start work on Monday. Here's an exchange from a meeting today. Sandeep: "Okay, so now you two have to decide whether you want a priest that speaks Tamil or Telugu." Rama: "Ai. It's so hard to find a good priest these days. We'll have to take whatever we can get." I've never had that conversation in a business meeting before.
  • A monkey came in through our kitchen window and stole our bananas yesterday. I tried to get a picture for y'all, but it scampered away before I could grab my camera.
  • I'm almost completely used to being constantly stared at. I understand that I do stand out about as much as one could within a single species. Besides, it's good for me to be the racial minority, and it's good for them to see someone unfamiliar. Because seriously...if India really wants to take its place in the world economy like they keep talking about, they're gonna have to get used to blondes. Other things I'm getting used to include crossing the street (harder than it sounds here, believe me) and haggling with vendors and auto-rickshaw drivers. Things I'm still not good at are eating with my hands (actually right hand only) and converting to kilometers. And something that will probably always bug me is no recycling. At all!
  • I took a fun day trip to Hampi, a city about eight hours from Bangalore that is the site of some ancient ruins from the Vijayanagara empire. I took a sleeper train there, and an overnight bus back. The train was fun; the bus not so much. Hampi was great, though. I'll post some pictures next.
  • In general, as I round out my third week here, I'm having a great time. Healthy and happy, if missing you all. Come visit!

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