Where Am I Now? Hyderabad, Madhapur India aka Hi-Tec City (South-southeast side of India closer to the Bay of Bengal than the Arabian Sea.
Where Have I Been? This morning I awoke several times in Agra. Once at 2am local time, then again at 4am and finally at 5:15 I gave in and got up. The electricity promptly went out for 2-3 minutes which I have come to find is a common occurrence. The people in India seem to do breakfast right. 2nd full day in India and 2nd full breakfast buffet – think brunch-like…too bad the rules of eating prohibit us from enjoying most of it. From Agra we took the 6 hour drive back to New Delhi via a “shortcut”. We have come to find out that “shortcut” is another name for 2-lane road with heavy construction traffic (think trucks hauling huge rocks going slowly especially up hills) which means our little car had about 2 hours of passing to do on this windy 2-lane road. Passing in India could be regulated a bit more tightly. We passed 3-wide in the same direction heading into oncoming traffic. We passed with lights flashing, horns honking as cars in the oncoming lane approached. Trucks too. We passed and then decided passing wouldn’t work. We passed on the left. On the right. Going up hills. Around corners. The secret seemed to be Karma…I guess. As I have no other rational explanation how we avoided all of those head on crashes.
Once in New Delhi it was to the airport where we paid our driver 16000 Rupees for the 2 days of very good service and stewardship. The airport was filled with porters following our every move to help move our bags move very small distances. I have decided this will be my last porter usage of the trip. The flight from New Delhi was roughly 2 hours. A full meal and beverage service was provided for the entire plane of which my 3-6 pm local time crash prevented me from partaking. The jet lag for me seems to be the worst at this time…this time corresponds with the wee am hours in Eastern Time. Small spaces like planes don’t smell like the same small places at home.
Hyderabad is super modern starting with their state-of-the-art airport. It was also nearly 15 degrees celsius cooler outside – almost spring-like but with a touch of monsoons. We are staying at the Westin Hyderabad Mindspace which is one of the most modern hotels I have stayed in (it is super fancy Stewart!).
Here are some of the thoughts I remember (today was a slower day of travel):
- Honking is viewed as a polite courtesy here. It tells a slower vehicle you are going to overtake. Even still, it is still a bit too loud for my taste.
- No elephant sightings today but several camels, cows, goats and monkeys on the road (literally) on the way out of Agra.
- Breakfast consisted of mainly bread again today (we have been asked to avoid any uncooked foods, foods in unboiled water and any liquids that don’t start out as a sealed bottle of water. The hot tea gets better each day!
- Yesterday’s monkey on a leash experience has helped us coin a new phase: “Monkey on a Leash” to describe someone who is about to or already has lost their mind with anger. In a sentence: “That guy went ‘Monkey on a Leash’ when the car accidentally hit him while walking”.
- 2-lane roads are to be avoided at all costs. The difference in speed from one kind of vehicle is too great and life is too precious to play chicken during transport.
- Queueing is not something people care to do much of in India. This is a difficult concept for a guy from Charlotte. It means I could be holding the door for a very long time unless I take on the less courteous “when in Rome” philosophy.
The next few days will be spent in Hyderabad largely on the campuses of Bank of America and a few select vendor clients. We have been told running outdoors in Hyderabad is safe and not worse for your health than not running (apparently in the other cities you would be doing more harm than good to your lungs due to the smog). I’ll report back how it goes so long as the monsoon has subsided.
Today’s Food Intake: Breakfast buffet of mostly bread products with a variety of honey. I did eat some cheese, hash brown potatoes an Indian curry dish and tea. 1 Kashi bar to help wash down my daily malaria pill (preventative). Some trail mix. For dinner it was a glass of red wine, 4 calamari pieces (no sauces) and sea bass with cooked broccoli and potatoes.
No pictures today. Stay tuned.
Tomorrow’s Destinations: The BAC Continuum facility in Hyderabad (across the street from the hotel).