Friday, October 04, 2002

India Departs.

Trip Day 8.5
Friday, 10/4, 4:15 am Chennai Time

Whee! I did it. You all KNEW I would. I did. I have DRIVEN a motorcycle in Chennai! Yahoo! My pal Kandan helped me out, we rode his Suzuki 150 through the mad streets of Madras. Then he pulled over and swapped spots. I drove, he passengered.

More in a sec on that.

My Driver did a wonderful job this morning, we came through traffic just fine, and stopped for some photo shots. I keep updating my Yahoo Photos site (see sidebar for link) and just did. There are some shots of Fish Cove and Keith, and the crazed Aussie singers in the bar, and MilkStraw Psycho Cow drink, as well as some of me on the MIGHTY 150.

Got to HCL Headquarters, and got to work. Found a way to help the lab in Bangalore with a large problem there, it is WAY too cold for the engineers, so we found a standards site, that will allow the facilities guys to raise lab temperature some. Then worked on getting my airline ticket to Bangalore for Monday’s day trip.

And yeah. Kandan! The man! He showed me his bike, we went for a ride. I got many questions answered. People do not customize bikes here, because there is heavy tariff on modifications. If you put a different exhaust pipe, the cops will nick you, and ticket city. Bore the cylinder? Ticket and fine. Too custom, fine. Paint the gas tank? Fine! Wow, so everyone drives very sedate 50 – 150cc machines that run about 40mph. Someone needs to bring a YSR50 over here and clean the clocks.

Kandan also showed me a Pulsar 180cc. Indian manufactured, very powerful, 23hp. Though I like his Suzuki, it is very clean. Bikes also come with Sari guard as standard equipment. Then we went for a spin. I tried to shoot over his shoulder, and give the biker perspective, traffic is nuts, streets are narrow, and everyone lays on the horn, less warning, more driving by sonar, warning others you are there.

When he pulled over and we swapped places, I was jazzed. Riding bikes is cool All bikes, Anywhere, anyhow. The 150 is not v strong, and they shift with a 4-down pattern. Meaning you are in neutral, click the foot-pedal down, first, down again, second, down again third. I am used to 1 down, 5 up. Shifting up is really down, and down is up? I got confused, but managed to go through traffic at speed, not get us killed, and make U turns, and pass auto-rickshaws, and break the recommended speed limit.

YAY Kandan! My wish was fulfilled, I have ridden motorcycles in India! I am a hooligan on Many continents. Photos on the web.
After the ride, I gave him some copies of the Las Vegas Extremes Video, and Crusty Demons of the Dirt, just to encourage hoooliganism. Unfortunately, I am so strapped for time, I had to decline invite to his home. Next trip, I swear!

Back at the office, I met with Ravi, one of the brightest minds in my business division. We walked next door to Hotel Aadithya for lunch. What we call restaurants, they call hotels, what we call hotels, they call Luxury Hotels. Anyhow, had “starters” of baby corn and spring rolls, then ate way too much spicy shrimp curry with my hands, topped with fruit salad for desert, and I am full like pig. The conversation was great, he gave me some spectacular ideas for my lab team, and has offered help as necessary. YAY!

Back to the office, Mark (did you crap your pants yet guy) shows me the most beautiful earrings he bough his wife, classic cut emeralds surrounded by diamonds in a heart shape. V cool, V classy, V NOT Sara. I will not spend tons on stuff she will not like, but they were still cool.

Trying to arrange trip to Bangalore, uploading photos, meeting with Shajahan, my direct Report here, talking to people, distributing chocolate, yay! Good day at work. Hopefully I will have plane tickets here soon, then can go to hotel for a shower, I am filthy. I plan to spend the weekend shopping for trinkets, will keep posted.

Charles!

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