India, week 2 (the final week!)

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Monday 2/11 late evening

Pretty uninteresting day. I got home a bit late and didn’t feel like going out, but hopefully I will tomorrow, at least to the park or something. I am planning on meeting people for breakfast at a small café – here’s hoping I don’t get sick!

Random India topic: (well, random India building topic) The elevators in the NI building are crazy. On one side of the room are two elevators, and on the other side is another one, but they operate independently! So whenever anyone wants to go up, they press “up” on both sides and whichever shows up first they get on, thus guaranteeing that almost half of all elevator stops are wasted. (“almost” because it’s possible someone else enters the lobby in between and catches the second one) This is somewhat mitigated by the fact that the “close door” buttons actually work, and work quickly!

(I was told that they operate independently because the one elevator is the service elevator, while the other two are regular ones. But no one seems to treat the service elevator as special in any way…)

It’s also possible there’s some sort of crazy elevator algorithm going on. This evening as I was leaving, my driver pressed down on both sides. Both “regular” elevators were above us, and proceeded to go all the way down to the ground floor without stopping for us. The service elevator started at the ground floor and eventually made its way up to our floor and picked us up. So…I don’t know?

Wednesday 2/13 morning

Not having a good 12 hours or so. Last night I got the inevitable case of traveler’s diarrhea (taking meds for it now), and then I tried to download movies for the trip home but I can’t because I’m in the wrong country (gonna try on VPN, I guess?). Then this morning I got locked out of my Nokia account, the lights in the bathroom didn’t work, forgot my water bottle when I went up to breakfast, had a frustrating conversation with a hotel worker about the bathroom lights, finished my last Kindle book while waiting for the car so I bought a few new ones only to have trouble downloading them (which I did eventually fix), and now my laptop can’t get on the WiFi here.

Traveling, especially to a foreign country, requires a lot of patience – you have to be very flexible. Usually I’m good at that, but I think I’ve used up my patience for the day already and it’s only 10:30 AM…

Thursday 2/14 evening

OK, things are better now. Went out to lunch and dinner yesterday with work folks, which was fun, although I think I way overate. (and the antibiotic I’m still on bothers my stomach some) Today I did my last presentation-type thing at work, which went better than I expected. This evening I had the driver drop me off at Bangalore Central, and ate at the food court there. (grilled paneer for dinner and gelato for dessert!) Then I walked home. I think one of the big mistakes I made the first week was not getting out of the hotel more – to be fair, I was worried about traffic, but it’s really not that big a deal if you cross at lights and are extremely careful 🙂

I also got to play some table tennis today at work (in the table tennis room!) – unsurprisingly I’m pretty rusty, but I had a good time!

Hard to believe tomorrow is my last day here (my flight leaves at 8 AM Saturday morning = getting up super-early :-/ ) – I’ve gotten to know people here and generally had a good time, despite days like yesterday. It’s going to be weird readjusting myself to “normal” life and not having someone drive me around everywhere!

(still irritated I can’t rent movies for the plane rides home, though…)

Saturday 2/16 morningish

On my way back to Austin! Got up crazy early, checked out, and rode to the airport. I remember just two weeks ago thinking the drive from the airport to the hotel was crazy. Now I think “Lane markers! Nice!” even if they aren’t universally respected. Although I did learn that instead of stopping at a red light, another option is to lay on the horn and just drive through.

At the airport there were two security lines separated by sex – it looks like the women’s one (which was empty, incidentally) had more privacy for pat-downs. And I guess it’s a good thing, because the metal detector beeped for every single person, so everyone got pat-downs. Did a little duty-free shopping to try to spend my last rupees, and then we boarded where my backpack was inspected again.

Been alternately watching movies and napping – seen “Looper” and “The Candidate” so far, and there’s still 6 hours to go! Movie selection is pretty good, and we’re flying close to Iran – maybe I should watch “Argo” 🙂 (Ed: I did, in fact, watch Argo!)

Random bits:
– While we were waiting to board, a British Airways person went around and gave candy to the kids that were around. (I wanted candy!)
– I was served breakfast by a flight attendant named Jean Luc! Awesome.
– When I checked in I was offered an upgrade for the equivalent of $250. I was briefly tempted (it is an 11 hour flight!), but that’s still $22/hour, and all I seemed to get was a few extra inches of legroom.

Later

I wandered around Heathrow for a while and had some sort of meal. (I think that was my fourth or fifth of the day…) I was starting to feel kind of crappy near the end of the flight, but getting up and off the plane helped a lot. (I think the smells were getting to me)

I’m on the Chicago flight now, and I hit the seating jackpot – window seat with an empty seat next to me! Really digging the extra legroom. Entertainment system isn’t on-demand, but they still have a good selection of movies – watching “Arbitrage” now and about to eat another meal…

Afterwards

I made it home. I don’t mean to be overdramatic, but maaaaaaan I felt pretty terrible afterwards. I’m getting old! And then jet lag, etc., etc. But that notwithstanding, it was a good trip, and I know some things to do differently next time!

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