Thursday, October 03, 2002

India Departs.

Trip Day 8

Friday, 10/4, 10:00 am Chennai Time

Yesterday as we drove back from Fisherman’s Cove, Keith and I tried to plan out all the activities I should accomplish after he leaves. It is incredibly obvious I need at least 4 more days! J ha! But I will not have the time, and really am missing my Sara, so I will work hard and smart with the time I have.

On the drive back, we come up the ‘new’ highway, where they are doing construction. Keith explained to me that encroachment is a large problem here, folks will just build houses and shacks wherever convenient, property lines be damned. Well, when you are building a highway, it is bad news for a house to be in the way. Solution? Just bulldoze the right of way, and clear the space you need. As we are driving back, we can see shops and homes with as much as the front three quarters sliced away. As if a giant had cut them like a birthday cake. I guess if you build in a known right-of-way, you kind of should expect it, but I wonder how I would react to waking up and seeing the living room traveling away in the front of a bulldozer?

Since India has such a large population, employment is an issue. The answer? Do NOT hire out so much large equipment, instead, utilize the labor pool better. Which they do. The construction techniques are amazing, people using 15th century iron digging implements, moving dirt behind bulldozers, women carrying rocks in baskets on their heads, men carrying rebar two men to a length. Build a rock bed, spread dirt over the rock, lay in some rebar, pour concrete, have a fellow with a brush paint lines. Amazing.

When we got back to Chennai we had a quick lunch at the Taj, OH, btw, if you want to see photos, their web site is

http://www.tajhotels.com/luxury/coromandel_chennai/new.htm

I am being thoroughly spoiled. J

After lunch, we went to the Cisco Office, said some hellos, and I spent time with Aparna trying to work out my travel plans. Apparently Cisco Travel has booked me a non-stop adventure full of pain for the flight back to the states, and we are trying to sort it out. I do not think it will happen, as the airlines want to charge a cancellation fee, and I feel very VERY bad about doing that just for my comfort.

So We chat for a while, then I hit some email, trying to catch back up to speed with folks in San Jose. Working split days is rough, information does not move quickly enough, and I worry that we could be doing better.

Keith delivers his Accents course, and I feel it is well received. If all the people listening ONLY remember one thing, I hope it will be the “Slow Down, Speak Louder” part. It goes well, and I think he is evolving a very valuable course.

Back to the hotel, where he cleans up and repacks for the flight back. We meet Mr. N & Mr. K in the hotel bar for drinks before departure, The Aussie gals sing, and now some of the natives believe our stories. Mr. N and I depart for the Radisson hotel’s famous Kebab Factory restaurant. Leaving the driver to take Keith to the Airport, I am sad. There goes my guide. Now I am really at it by myself. Eeek! He has asked me to keep a better record of where I go, and what I see, so I will try to be more specific with addresses and photos for the next few days.

The food at the Kebab Factory is delicious. Basically, you sit, they take drink orders, then ask you “veg or non-veg” and that is your menu selection. For the next hour or so, the waiter, clad in bright orange jump suit like factory worker, comes around and drops different things on your plate, fish, chicken, lamb chops, etc., that have been kebabed! After dinner, desert was an Indian ice cream that was heavy on the cream. I thought it wa sliced banana at first, then I ate it, and OH MY! Amy form Amy’s Ice Cream may have a competitor in the really sweet and tasty and high zoot caloric contest!

Arul, I mean, Mr. N, has dismissed his driver, so we have my driver take him home, then me back to the Taj. I feel very bad for keeping him out late, and suggest a late morning, I will stay in the room and work a little from here.

Wake up at 6am, with the sun, and realize I have not heard from Sara in a while, and I freak out a little. What if she crashed her bike? What if terrorists abducted here? Aliens? Lions? Tigers? Bears? Oh MY! No, she is not online, and I do not get any email. So I look for anyone I know online, Someone in San Jose, to call her. Sharon, one of the wonderful test engineers from my past team is online, and offers to call Sara’s cell and ask her to log on to AOL IM. YAY Sharon! She gets Sara! YAY! The Aliens have been vanquished! Sara is online! We chat for a bit, and I feel MUCH MUCH better.

Run downstairs for some breakfast, and everyone is asking where Keith is. And disappointment that he left. Eeek! Maybe now they treat me worse, cause the big boss is not here? Nah! Breakfast is great, then back to the room to write some cards. I printed address labels before I left home, so I could just write the card, then slap on a label and not have to look up the address. I hope it does not look too cheesy. On the other hand, I am sending cards from India, that is cool?

It is about time, I will go look for my driver, and head to the office to arrange my day trip to Bangalore on Monday. Oh, yeah, my nose is not as runny now, I can breathe through both nostrils, however, I do have to go back to Bangalore Monday, so I will clog it right back up. Doh!



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