Thursday, June 5, 2008

BANGALORE (kind of)

So here's my list of things that are different about Indian culture and attitudes. I'm sure it will grow as time goes on.

1) People here swerve to the LEFT when you're about to run into each other on bicycles.
2) Things are really, really, slow. Stuff doesn't get done very quickly.
3) People tend to value conversation and company more than work (i.e. let's get coffee, let's get breakfast, lunch, dinner, anything but work).
4) The food is dangerous. Seriously. I almost cried at lunch yesterday.
5) People are extraordinarily friendly and polite to a fault (i.e. hello, Indian Airlines? We have an intern that was supposed to have arrived yesterday and we don't know where he is. ...Yes? ... all right then. Okay, thanks! goodbye!).
6) They do a weird kind of head bobble thing-- it's in between nodding yes and shaking no. Just slightly bobble your head from side to side. It means "yes", "thank you", "maybe", "have a good day", or a whole host of other things.
7) ARRANGED MARRIAGES. they happen. and they're apparently often determined by astrology.

ahhhhhh there are so many others, but I forget them. I will remember and keep a running tally.

Anyway, Wednesday was marked by a complete lack of productivity. I didn't actually get to meet with my mentor until 10 . . . and then he told me to come back at 3. so I ran some errands, took some naps, got a phone (if you want the number and want to spend an obscene amount calling me, I'll give you the number because I can receive calls for free I think). Except, I met my mentor at 3 and it only took half an hour. Darn. bummed around some more and met all the other interns for coffee at 4, where we decided to spontaneously go into the city at 6. So we booked seven cabs for 30 interns-- tight fit for an hour's drive with no AC-- and off we went to a little bar called Legends of Rock, which is apparently famous for its live bands on wednesday night. ALL LIES. no live band. some people stayed for dinner, and eight of us went to a restaurant down the street that's apparently famous . . . two words and they both start with C, I'm so bad at Hindi/Kannada!

It was a total tourist trap (menus printed on silk, posters of Bollywood movie stars all over the walls and our placemats, beaded curtains and brightly colored cloth everywhere, waiters dressed in turbans) but the food was DELICIOUS! We just let Amit, Tejas, and Deepak order; the Hindi flew so fast that I couldn't understand it. Oh wait. I don't understand Hindi. Except I can count to 5 and I know the word for 'lentils'.

Anyway, it was a great time and I think we may make it a weekly tradition. The cab ride was arguably the most fun, especially riding back in my all-brown cab, where I got a 45-minute lesson in Indian culture.

Today was slightly calmer. I actually went to work and had a desk! finally! but I had to return to the ECC for a visa appointment that never happened due to the police chief having a heart attack . . . or something. whatever. Rest of the workday was uneventful; Manav, one of the other Princeton interns, arrived today and we all had dinner at La Terrace and played Mafia until we felt like sleeping :)

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