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Greg

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India trip: pictures and notes [Apr. 3rd, 2016|08:09 pm]
Greg
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Since this was my third trip to India, I decided to more of the "write down random notes" instead of the "exhaustively recap my days" approach.

- I started to feel pretty nauseous on the ride back from the airport to my hotel. (which takes almost an hour despite there being very little traffic at 5:30 AM on a Sunday - the airport is way north of the city) I was worried, and then something jogged my memory - this happens every time! I think the reason is the 20 hours on airplanes (the smell of the food they heat up gets to me after a while) plus the bumpiness of the roads. Once I got to the hotel I felt better quickly. Something to remember for next time...
- That day I took a nap and then went out with Dev from the office and Lincoln from Shanghai. We stayed in Bangalore but we saw a lot of cool stuff:
<- A tribute to Kalpana Chawla, who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. This was at the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum
<- We walked down the oldest street in Bangalore, which was full of street vendors. (and people!)
<- Dev is very popular at this orphanage-type place that he volunteers at :-)
- I took melatonin again this time to help me sleep, and it helped a ton. I was still tired on and off for the first week, but I never had a problem sleeping at night. I took it for a week after I got there and a week after I got back. It's great stuff!
<- For lunch one day we went to Absolute Barbecue. It was crazy! The kitchen looked pretty exciting. Also a fire blanket sounds warm and cozy!
<- A selection of crazy meats you could order.
<- I had emu (on the left) and shark (on the right). They were both pretty good, although the emu was a bit tough.
- The office was under construction while I was there - they were preparing to open the second half of one of the floors we occupy. There was a tarp separating us, but I'm pretty sure the dust in the air bothered my allergies. (also, it got pretty warm in the office...)
- Just like last year, there was a big cricket tournament going on while I was there! This time it was T20 cricket, which takes around 3 hours to play. (Bizarrely, "T20" itself stands for "Twenty20". I'm not sure what the second "twenty" is for?) Anyway, I had a lot of fun watching games in the evening in my hotel room. I'm pretty sure I saw some coworkers with some kind of fantasy cricket setup, too :-)
- It actually rained a day I was there, which was new for me! (Bangalore has pretty distinct wet and dry seasons) I was worried that the rain would make the ride from work back to the hotel worse than usual, but it actually seemed a bit better, probably because most of the motorcycles were off the road.
<- We had a chai at the Ranga Shankara! Here's me and Mahesh.
- I like to watch cricket on TV, but ohhhh man the commercials. Each team gets 20 overs in T20 cricket, and there's a commercial break between each one. There's also a commercial break whenever any batsman gets out. So that's 40something breaks in 3 hours, or one every 5 minutes. The breaks are short, but they also play the same damn commercials over and over and over again. (If I hear that OPPO "Bright and Beautiful" song one more time I am going to lose it!) It's annoying to have to mute something that often but 100% worth it.
- Another guy from Austin and I went to MG road to do some shopping. A guy with an autorickshaw told us the shops here were expensive, he could take us to cheaper shops a few streets away for 20 rupees (around 30 cents). We said no, and he followed us around for like 15 minutes before we finally gave in. (honestly the shops where we were weren't exactly what we were looking for anyhow) So he took us to a few shops. At the first one I bought a few nice things, then I found those things for less than half price at the second store. Oh well :-/
<- Just a reminder - it's still legal in India to have a job only men can apply for. Also worth noting: that age limit!
<- A very nice model of the Taj Mahal. I ended up buying a tiny version of this at a different shop.
<- The mosque down the street from NI. It is big! You can hear the calls to prayer from where I sit.
- Monday I got a ticket to a cricket T20 world cup match that was being played in Bangalore! The ticket was given to me by Rakesh, a friend who wasn't feeling well and was unable to go. There was another ticket with it, but no one else at the office wanted it (there may have been some confusion about this), and I briefly toyed with going by myself, but it seemed a lot for me to handle alone. (later a few locals agreed with me, which made me feel better :-) )
- Some days are tough. I sat in on a Bangalore-Austin meeting, so we had the cab pick us up at 8 PM afterwards. For some reason I thought traffic would be better then, but no! It took 45 minutes to get home. We went directly to the restaurant by the pool at the hotel, where we sat next to a table with two guys smoking, which didn't do wonders for my allergies. There was also a loud party on the second floor, and they kept singing and cheering and such - I assume they were drunk, although who knows. Usually the kind of thing I smile at, but I was in no mood, especially since our food took a solid 45 minutes to arrive. I didn't get back to my room until 10 PM!
- Another friend from work very generously got me a ticket to the India-Bangladesh cricket match on Wednesday! This deserves a post of its own.
- Thursday was Holi, the festival of colors! It involves putting colored powder on people's faces. Word to the wise: clean it off with a dry paper towel, using a wet one makes it much stickier.
<- People at work celebrate Holi, the festival of colors.
<- I was also included :-) Later that morning I got yellow'd and purple'd.
- On the way back I spent a 23 hour layover in London. When I got there I took the Heathrow Express into town - it was a bit pricey but the ride was quick and pleasant. I was hoping to have more time but I did manage to hit up the London Eye and have a beer and shepherd's pie in a pub while watching soccer. So, not bad!
- I managed to have a time change on the way there (Daylight Savings Time happened the day I arrived) and on the way back (British Summer Time hit the day I left London). It was confusing.
<- On the way back, I spent a day in London. First stop - these cool pods at Heathrow Airport! At the console on the left you select your destination, then the doors open and you get inside...
<- The pod is arriving at the station. I'm not sure what the pods on the right are - maybe they're charging or something?
<- Next I went to the London Eye! It is tall.
<- The people in my capsule. It was a little crowded but not too bad.
<- Me on the London Eye with the Millennium Bridge in the background. (why didn't I take a selfie when the capsule was higher? Oh well...)
<- As we got higher you could see more of the Thames.
<- Nice artwork at the Baker Street tube station! (note that the Sherlock Holmes is made up of tiny Sherlock Holmes's!)
<- This...slot machine? looks hilariously complicated. There are reels at the bottom, some kind of Deal or No Deal game, and more stuff I don't understand. (as seen at a pub near my hotel)
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