I just came back from my 3 weeks Bangalore business trip. As usual, I got sick every time I went to Bangalore. I have been coughing, running noses, watery eyes, skin rashes, lack of energy, allergy reaction, all thanks to the heavy polluted environment of India. It will take me a couple of weeks to recover from the India disease. Sometimes I wonder why do I travel to India, can’t I simply deal the problems of the India team by having a few weeks of late night meetings?
It’s my forth trip to India. I am no longer amused by the new scenery nor the new cultural experience. I don’t even bother to plan any traveling on weekends. My daily routine is going to work, then have a nice dinner in a non-Indian restaurant. I spent most of my time in weekend browsing books in the bookstore in the shopping mall next door and catch up with my own reading in the guest house. The nice dinner at the end of the day is my own meaning of life in Bangalore and that keep my sanity.
Traffic in Bangalore seems less busy this time. I am not sure it is due to the global recession or due to the road going into Electronic City is finally paved. I guess the finical meltdown do hit Bangalore. Wipro, our outsourcing firm and the biggest IT firm in Bangalore, suppose to have a reputation like IBM in the 70’s that it will never layoff any employee, but recently they just cut 10% of their work force. When I have lunch in Wipro campus, the cafeteria is obviously less crowd. In the past, I couldn’t even a seat when I went to lunch on 12:15p. Now I don’t even need to line up at 12:30p.
This time I am traveling to Bangalore with a colleague who enjoy nice meal or good food in general. He claim that it is a waste of time going to restaurant waiting to be served. He rather grep a sandwich for quick dinner then spent his night hanging out in the pub. Pubs in Bangalore close at 11p and dinner start late at 8p. By the time we usually finish dinner at 10p, he don’t have much time left to go to the pub. Luckily I met a dining buddy, an engineer from Motorola in Beijing, so I don’t have to dine out alone or dining with a bowl of gold fish. In a 5 stars restaurant I went to, the waiter will bring you a bowl of gold fish you for your company if you dine out alone so that you won’t feel too lonely.
I brought my dining buddy to the nice restaurants in town and we chat about anything over dinner. He said he is so glad that he met me, so he don’t have to stuck in the hotel every night, like other visitors from Motorola. Talking to my dining buddy makes me learn two things about the hi-tech industry in Beijing. First is that development cost in Beijing is high, almost comparable to Europe or America, so they are outsourcing to India too. Second is that Western visitors actually feel more comfortable with Chinese culture than Indian culture even though Indians speak English (sort of). Motorola visitors from UK lock themselves up after work in Bangalore because they don’t feel safe going outside of the hotel. But when they are in Beijing, they are happily explore the city every night.
My colleague love to check out the night life in the city, so I company him to check out a few pubs in Bangalore. Since I am the restaurant guru, I picked some of the most fancy and most expensive pubs in Bangalore. It is just wrong seeing guys dancing Bollywood songs in the dance floors with each other. It looks funny in the Bollywood movies, and it looks even more funny when you see it in real life. I don’t even like going to pub or clubbing in Vancouver, obviously I won’t enjoy night life in India. What’s the point of going to clubbing if you are not planning to pick up any girl, and who would be interested in picking up an Indian girl anyways? Somehow my colleague seems enjoy hanging out in pub quite a bit, he manage to hook up with some local guys and they even invite him to house party. For me, drinking beer and watching cricket on big screen TV is acceptable. Having a few pool games and beat some local guys is pretty fun. However, it took us quite some time to hunt for a pub with a pool table. Apparently, pool is not a common game in India.
A new hotel open within 5 minutes walking distance from the office. I heard that company is going to close down the guest house and put all the visitors in the new hotel. It is nice that we don’t have waste time stuck in traffic in the morning rush hour. But the hotel is in the middle of nowhere. It will be really boring staying at Electronic City after dark and needless for me to I will have to travel into town to have a nice diner anyways. The hotel has a restaurant offer buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday, but the food does not taste very well. The buffet have a pasta station, the chef will cook your pasta right in front of you as you made the order. The pasta station offer three choices for spaghetti sauce, the red tomato sauce, the white cream sauce and the yellow curry sauce. Indian curry spaghetti is most weird spaghetti I ever had and obviously it sucks.
My Bangalore trip this time is pretty mundane, nothing interesting worth mention. The highlight of my trip is that I bought quite a few books form the bookstore in the shopping mall next door. English books is much cheaper in Indian than in Canada, on average it only costs a quarter of the price. I bought 6 books in total and already finished reading two of them while I was in Bangalore. Not a bad accomplishment.