This is my 5th trip to Bangalore. Instead of staying in the guest house, this time I am staying in a new hotel in Electronics City, which is only 5 minutes walk away from the office. When I first went to Bangalore 2 years ago, there wasn’t any business hotel close to the office, but now at least 4 new hotels has opened. My hotel is acceptable, but there are still many little things that drive me nuts in the usual Indian way. For example, the room has a do not disturb light outside of the room, but somehow the room service always ignore the sign. They will ring your door bell at 7:30a giving you your morning newspaper, then ring your door bell again at 8:00a asking you whether you have laundry for the day. Like a typical business hotel, the room comes with a comfortable bed and a large working desk, but they don’t have any lights over the desk. I have to move a pole light from other side of the room to light up the desk area. For whatever stupid reason, the hotel decide only to turn on the boiler from 6a-10a and 6p-10p, if you want to take a shower in the afternoon or at night, sorry you only have cold water. Given that most flight arrive India after midnight and almost every traveler want to take a hot shower the first thing after checking into the hotel, it leaves a very bad first impression. I swear I will never go back to this hotel again.
Bangalore has changed a lot since my first visit 2 years ago. The toll bridge linking Electronics City to Bangalore is finally open. Now it only takes 15 minutes from the office to Forum Mall, compare to over 45 minute in the past. Taking the bridge costs Rs45 a day, saving 30 minute for $1 definitely worth the price. However, I suspect the bridge won’t last very long. They forgot to build proper rain drain system for the bridge. When it rains, the center lanes are floated with water as deep as a feet. The bridge opens for the first monsoon season and the pillers already shows signs of rusting and water damage. Our company even issue a warning to the employees warns them not to use the bridge during heavy rain.
Looks like the outsourcing business in Bangalore is doing well. I have met a lot more foreigner this time compare to 2 years ago. There are quite a number of German staying in my hotel and they work for different companies. We love to exchange Indian stories, whining how annoying some of the Indians are and we all agree it sucks living in Bangalore. There are many new non-Indian restaurants opened in last year, Japanese food is in fashion in Bangalore, with the number of Japanese restaurants tripled. Some 5 stars hotels start offer sushi at their Sunday lunch buffet. I am very skeptical about idea of eating raw fish in India, I don’t want to get any food poisoning in Indian. The the number of western restaurants is blooming but the quality of service is deteriorating. In the past the service was supreme, there is always a waiter available when you need one and they call the customers Sir or Madam. Now, maybe the restaurants is spoiled by western customers, their service is no difference from with what we get back home. Food and gloceries is still cheap in Bangalore, although there is an annual 20% pay increase in the high-tech industry, the rest of the people are still very poor.
I see more traffic lights and less cows on the road. The city seems to be less chaotic, I wonder it is just my illusion because I am getting use to the chaos. I hire a cab via the hotel to take me to nice restaurant every night as usual. Somehow the drivers are clueless about the address and they don’t know how to read Google map. To make sure I can dinner on time, I jumped to the front seat and navigate the driver. Since there is no street signs in Bangalore, telling you which street to turn is useless. Google map comes up with a solution, in addition to the street name it also list any landmark at the street corner. The driving instruction in Google map tells you turn right at KFC or BP gas station, pretty neat. I can’t wait to see Google street view comes to Bangalore.