Sunday, June 21, 2009

Home Sweet Home

IMG_1251On Thursday night I made it back safe & sound from my trip to India. The trip was very good, and much less traumatic then I was expecting. The food was good, the travel was not as bad as I was expecting (though there are limits to how 'good' a 24 hour trip can be), and the overall experience was very positive.

My trip out to Bangalore was about as short as it can be as I got switched to a two leg route through Paris. This ended up resulting in a strange 5 hour layover in Minneapolis since I didn't know my plane would change when I arrived, but it was still better then flying through Atlanta. The end result was that I left the house around 10:30am on Sunday the 7th and got to my hotel in Bangalore around 2am on Tuesday the 9th. I tried not to sleep at all on the flights which worked like a charm for jet lag as I was able to go right to sleep when I finally got to the hotel.

IMG_1216

I spent most of the flight to Paris reading The Name of the Wind, which was very well written. I was disappointed after a strong start when it got horribly mired down in 'magic university' storyline. The trip to Bangalore was spent watching movies (the flight to Paris didn't have personal videos). I watched The International but fell asleep before it was over (and didn't care one bit since it was boring). Then I watched Valkyrie except for a few parts in the beginning that I dozed through. After that it was some Disgea DS and watching some Big Bang Theory episodes that I had ripped to my iPod.

Arriving at the Bangalore airport at midnight isn't quite as strange as you would think. Getting my baggage took forever because, while they have a very normal looking baggage conveyor belt the bags came out at a speed that made me think they had five guys in the back running to and from the place each carrying one bag at a time. As we'll see later, that might not be far from the truth.

My driver was friendly and being 1am by this point, there was no traffic on the roads so the trip to the hotel was relatively quick. That was the only time I saw the roads not crowded, although there were a lot of miscellaneous people walking the shoulders of the road. I assume they were a combination of homeless and people whose schedule's have them working until midnight or after.

IMG_1218

My hotel (The Zuri) was very nice and looked much like a trendy hotel in the US. The rooms had a zebra print theme, which was reminiscent of the hotel I stay at in Boston. The only strange thing about the room was that there was no clock of any sort in the room. No alarm clock, no regular clock, nothing.

One nice thing about the hotel relative to food was that breakfast was included with the room and they offered a nice array of western-style breakfast choices like omelets, fruit, some breads, cold cereal, etc. I even talked them into making me French Toast one day, which was a nice treat. Strangely despite the very good breakfast spread, the one thing that I really missed on the trip was peanut butter. Specifically, peanut butter in the morning on an english muffin or bagel, or even toast. Even though there were lots of very good choices for breakfast, the one thing they didn't have was what I was craving three or four days into the trip.

IMG_1343

The office was very near to the hotel which made for convenient commutes back and forth. The building we work in looked basically exactly like a normal US office building. Outside the gate, of course, it was obvious you were in India, but once you were on the grounds you could have been anywhere.

Everyone I met in the office was really nice, and I was able to get a lot done. Every day was busy, but extremely productive, which made the trip worthwhile. Tuesday-Friday was the usual business trip schedule of Hotel->Work->Dinner->Hotel, and since there was an Italian restaurant in the hotel and the hotel was only 5-10 minutes away (versus 1.5 hours to downtown), we ate at the hotel quite a bit.

During the weekend I did some sight seeing, which will be the subject of a later post.

No comments: