25 March 2012

Bangalore or Bust: A Travel Log (Day 6)

Author's note: For the next several weeks, I'll be posting tidbits of a travel log, which I kept during a two-week business trip (the reason I was in sporadic contact with the world recently). Enjoy!

For those who haven't yet seen the other posts in this travel log, check them out:

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5

(And again, if you're interested in seeing more photos than I'm providing, check out one of my co-workers' blogs from the same trip)

Day 6, Tuesday (2/28):

One of the big news items out of India today was the auto-rickshaw drivers union declaring a one-day strike (desiring to raise the standard fare rates and such to combat inflation, improvement in working conditions, etc.). I’m not sure their effort had its intended effect of “crippling” the country, though. In fact, it was a glorious day as far as we were concerned, at least traffic-wise, on our way to work and back. We constantly joked that they should have "stuck it to the man" and carried out that strike for at least the next two weeks...

This was taken in pre-strike conditions...and in light traffic. You can imagine how much better it was when almost none of these things were on the road.

Combined with leaving a little bit earlier on both ends, we were able to cut both drive times in half (about 30 minutes either way). The workday is getting a little easier, although IT issues again plagued me most of the day. I think the plan to make me feel like I’m home may be going a little overboard at this point.

For those who enjoyed the bomb-searching entry guards at the hotel, this was the barbed wire they had guarding the walls of the facility.

It wasn't all security measures, though...some great foliage around the hotel as well.
One of the statues on our daily drive into work
 
With our traveling group having our fill of the local cuisine (topped off by issues from the previous day’s lunch, as mentioned in the previous post), we discovered that Pizza Hut has a fairly large presence in this country, and so we made a special effort today for lunch to order a few. Some of our Indian team members joined us, ordering a vegetarian pizza for themselves, and the Americans ended up getting a pepperoni. It actually tasted less spicy than the ones back home, which seemed ironic in a way. All that said, it was a welcome return to something a bit more normal for us. Our stomachs were definitely thankful, but not nearly as much as when we decided to go balls-to-the-wall for dinner, and visit an actual steakhouse near our hotel (maybe a mile or so as the crow flies, but about two or three miles using the various twists and turns of the city)!

Millers 46, great little place in Bangalore…not sure how stereotypical this could be, but the western theme of the place went quite well with all of the Asian waiters dressed in cowboy attire. Also a tremendous value, where a massive T-bone with sides (although they claimed the vegetables were “boiled”, they seemed a little hard/raw, so with the cucumbers from Monday's lunch on my mind, I passed on those) and two small glasses of Pepsi cost the equivalent of around $12 (taxes included). Great place, even if the driver had to ask around to find it.

Two of my cohorts in crime, all smiles in anticipation...

Sadly, I didn't think to get pictures of the waitstaff

The next time we came here, the T-bone was a bit more appetizing, but still made our mouths water with every bite.

 Also discovered that our hotel is apparently the “in” place to hold receptions and stuff around here, as the last few nights have included massive receptions of one type or another. There’s not really a “parking lot” per se, so it makes for entertainment watching the drivers navigate around. All in all, things are going well. And now that the stomach is happily digesting something familiar, it’s time to call it another night.

And that's all for today...be sure to come back for the next installment...