Monday, April 2, 2007

April 2, 2007 – Day 3

Went to brunch yesterday at the Taj Krishna and met some of the google ex-pats who are here. The Taj Krishna is an insanely posh hotel that has acres and acres of tropical gardens and pools and a huge buffet with a chocolate fountain. We spent 4 leisurely hours hanging out, avoiding the hottest part of the day in air-conditioned luxury - I couldn’t believe there were people lying by the pool in the sun when it was 105 degrees outside!

I met up with Shannon and a girl from the Google office and her boyfriend for dinner at a carnival/boardwalk type place along the lake with the giant Buddha (still not entirely up on my Hyderabad geography). There were western fast food chains like pizza hut, KFC, and subway (all of which are huge here), but I chose chaat (indian snacks) with the guidance of my new friends. There were tons of people there and I got samosas and chole- my first Indian samosa ;) with some sort of vegetarian sauce. All the way there I watched entire families on mopeds (the most I counted was 4, but I’ve heard of families of 5 and 6 squeezing onto one), one family even had the woman holding a newborn baby! A lot of women were wearing strings of jasmine in their hair, so we bought some from a boy and I smelled mine all the way home and hung them above my bed. 24 hours later they still smell amazing!

Today was my first day in the office and everyone is so nice. The ambassador social committee decorated my desk while I was at lunch with Rupa (my official buddy who was showing me the ropes) and when I came back there were pictures of India everywhere with a card, a necklace, all sorts of office supplies, and a dvd of the modern Hindi classic Rang de Basanti ;) I had my first full Indian meal at lunch with some sort of curry chicken, rice, daal, papadom, and a South-Indian version of naan that I don’t remember the name of. So far I haven’t found the food too spicy, which I think is due to a combination of luck and having had beginners practice with mildly spicy Indian food in MV.

One thing I’m not getting used to is the pollution. There is dust and smoke mixed in with the normal pollution and I constantly feel like there’s something in my throat. The sunsets are amazing (interesting fact that pollution makes such great sunsets) but the pollution is so thick that the sky looks grey-brown during the day and you can’t see the stars at night. Definitely wouldn’t want to subject my lungs to this for too long, it makes LA seem like a picture of air quality. Luckily, I suppose, dust is better than the coal pollution in China, but it doesn’t seem like a comparison you would like to make when it comes to your own breathing.

This coming weekend is the only official 3 day weekend of the quarter due to Good Friday and I’m scrambling to find something to do with myself. All the ex-pats already have plans and plane tickets, so I might end up in Hyderabad for the three day weekend. Hopefully the social committee here can find something to keep me busy!

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