08 April 2012

Bangalore or Bust: A Travel Log (Day 13)

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
Day 6
Day 7
Day 8
Day 9
Day 10

Day 11
Day 12

(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 13, Tuesday (3/6):

It’s been rather disturbing to me to read the Times of India (the country’s national paper) each day, and every day I seem to see a news story about someone committing suicide. Today’s was a front page article about a 16 year old who threw himself in front of a Metro train yesterday, the ones we had just ridden the day before. In fact, this occurred at a station barely a mile or so from our hotel. I’m not certain whether life here is just that much more disparaging (which given the conditions, one might be able to believe) or that American papers just don’t give the event coverage when it happens (another believable possibility). Either way, it’s been sad to read about young (such as a pre-teen setting herself on fire) and old (a middle-aged man hanging himself) alike taking their own lives. Side note: There were actually two more stories later in the paper about more suicides as well. This was the first time that I recall seeing this many in one paper.

A long day was punctuated by several meetings throughout. Today’s training session bucked the trend of most of the recent ones, and had increased attendance. Hopefully everyone got as much out of these as we’d hoped. Between all of the meetings, and other goings-on from back home, it was a bit of a hectic day. Then, another long drive back to the hotel in traffic…

While driving along, watching a young boy urinating off the top of a construction pile, I couldn’t stop pondering the state of Bangalore itself. Trash lines the streets, when it isn’t being burned randomly throughout the city. Debris from construction or other sources just piles up wherever it’s placed. My personal opinion is that Bangalore would be a gorgeous city if there was simply some effort taken in the disposal of refuse and debris. However, I think I’ve only seen one small trash can in all of our walking excursions around the hotel. In a city of nearly ten million, one would think they’d be more prevalent. Of course, given the care (or lack thereof) that is shown in the roads and sidewalks, it’s really not surprising that trash disposal has been granted a similar fate.

This is the sort of thing that would get our HOA in a tizzy

My kingdom for a trash can

Can't really see from this vantage point, but the "river" was filled with trash too

Two members in our group were going out with some of their team tonight, and another was staying at the office late, so I was on my own for dinner. Being the ultra-adventurous sort, I decided to have dinner by myself at the hotel. Gave me plenty of time to finish up reading Battle Dancer by K M Tolan. Great read, for those who haven’t checked it out (though I’d highly recommend picking up the rest of his Dancer series first).

And then finished up the evening by catching The Day After Tomorrow on one of the local movie channels. Rather a disturbing to be watching a movie in English, and still get inundated with the English subtitles as well…though it does help in catching the background dialogue going on with foreground conversations, which you wouldn’t ordinarily hear.

People have asked me in the last few days whether I’m excited about getting back home. Many asked me similar things (about being excited and/or nervous) when I was preparing to come over here nearly two weeks ago. I was neither of those two then, nor am I feeling any excitement about heading home. It will be good to get back to normal, but it just is what it is…not good, not bad, just part of the job.

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