Friday, December 15, 2006

12.15.06, 8:15pm – Rain Tree Hotel, Chennai, India.

I don’t know why I’m putting the location on these post headers. It’s not like I’m going to be web-logging (I’m going to shorten it to just “blogging” and save myself a few keystrokes) from the taxi or anything.

I just finished dinner up on the rooftop restaurant. Have I mentioned the weather yet? No? Well, it reminds me almost exactly of Hawaii. Humid, warm, and never ever cold. It was a little breezy on the roof but certainly not cold. The main difference being Hawaii is like this year ‘round whereas this is the “cool” season here. Welcome to “a few degrees north of the equator”.

Dinner was good. Some sort of yummy spinach and cheese patties grilled in the tandoor oven. Yes, I know technically you “bake” things in an oven, but the menu said “grilled” and “oven” so I’m going with it. I even ate some of the mint sauce that came with it. I actually did so before I realized, “Hey, mint sauce, probably made with mint, which was probably rinsed with tap water”. I continued to eat it. I’m slowly taking more food risks. I’m not sick yet, so by the end of the trip I’ll probably be munching on half-cooked chicken legs from the street vendors and drinking lassis by the dozen (right, Dayna?) (Okok, a lassi is a mixture of milk (unpasteurized in these parts) and fresh fruit. Both nonos for the delicate westernized GI tract. It’s funnier when I don’t have to explain it.) And apparently I love parentheses.

When the taxi dropped me off at the hotel tonight there was quite a colorful and loud commotion out front. I asked Ram (one of my testers who bummed a ride as far as the hotel in the splendor of my taxi) what was going on. He yelled into my ear, “Wedding!” Did I mention it was loud? Yesyes, I took pictures, and even video, of it. You all would be able to revel in my photography skillz if Windows wasn’t coded by monkeys (shout out to Tim “Prickly” McNerney for that one). No, I haven’t solved the Windows Ignoring My Camera problem yet. You’d know if I had. (UPDATE - Problem solved via the purchase of a USB card reader for only $8).

The wedding procession

Anyway, the bride and groom were all decked out and sitting atop a decked out horse. They were in the middle of a procession of dancers and musicians and general revelers, slowly making their way down the street. The bride looked simply resplendent. The groom looked like a dweeb. I keed, I keed, I’m sure the groom is an upstanding young man and ever the cricket batsman (with many “overs” and “boundaries” and “fours” to his credit. Cricket is weird.)

Decked out on a horse

Sometimes I walk around with a smile on my face. I can’t believe I’m really here. In freakin’ India. Crazy.

There are fireworks going off intermittently outside (if they were inside I would probably have led with that fact). I don’t know why, but they seem to move around. Perhaps part of the wedding?

I’m getting tired (something about that 650mL Kingfisher I drank with dinner) but this is just hilarious. I’m getting a kick out of the security guard at the office. He’s always smiling and so very helpful. When I come in in the morning he opens the office door for me, then opens my private office door, then wants to help me plug in my computer and Ethernet cable, then he turns on the AC in my office. The main office already has AC which I can fully enjoy with my office door open, so I usually just turn the individual unit off shortly after I’ve shooed him away. Today, though, I happened to arrive when he was not at his post. This meant he didn’t have a chance to turn on my AC. But, being the sharp and observant security guard he is, a half hour later or so he walked by, poked his head in and said, “Oh, may I turn on your AC unit for you?” I politely declined. Seriously, it’s like an igloo (snow cave?) in there with that thing on. Then he comes through this afternoon with some air freshener and sprays it around. Really? I know TJ's deodorant sucks but, dude, really? My office door does not stay open on its own. So, he fashioned a doorstop for me out of some scrap of wood. I had to close the door to conduct a phone interview and afterwards I was struggling a bit replacing the scrap. He appears out of nowhere and says, “Please, sir, let me”. I mean, is the dude a security guard or my personal manservant?

I get “sir’ed” so much here it’s silly. You all better start practicing because I’m becoming quite accustomed to it.

I’m going into the office tomorrow to do an interview (yes, on a freakin’ Saturday), then I’m off to explore Chennai with my two new employees. Maybe I’ll even buy a thing or two since some sort of gift-giving holiday is approaching.

I might even have a story or two from my adventures. Not that you’ll see any pictures. Grrrr.


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