Tuesday, December 19, 2006

12.18.06, 4:45pm – CTS Offices, Chennai, India.

Well, I’m sick. Sniffles, sneezing and it feels like I have a fever. Waking up at 5am sweating buckets and light-headed caused a bit of concern. It didn’t help that I kept remembering everything I’d read about all of the exotic bugs here and every single one seemed to have symptoms that started with “fever”. Should I book a flight to Singapore now?

I rang down to the hotel front desk to see if they had medicines available and they suggested sending a doctor to my room. Um, ok. He showed up and examined me and basically told me to stop acting like a baby. Ok, he didn’t say that, but he insisted I don’t have a fever. I could swear I do. It sure feels like I do. But, hey, he’s the one with the thermometer training. He wrote me a “prescription” on a piece of hotel notepad paper and told me I could send a bellhop to go get it. A half hour after the Doc left the front desk rang my room to tell me a bellhop had been dispatched to pick up the medicines. I hadn’t even gone down to ask for them yet. Doc must’ve stopped by the front desk and told them what I needed. Then they asked if I wanted room service or tea. I’m tellin’ ya, the service in this place is freakin’ awesome.

I ordered room service and after the bellhop returned with my meds I just happened to be perusing the paper when I see it: on ESPN at 7am, Monday Night Football! Oh lordy, could it be true? I frantically flip on the TV and there it is…glorious, wonderful, western culture. It’s probably the only time in my life I felt joy upon hearing Joe Theisman’s voice (still, by the end of the game the hotel TV was very well aware of the fact that I think Joe Theisman is an idiot. Is there a worse announcer in all of football? I think not).

The game just happened to be one of the two or three MNF games all season that were not terrible matchups and a game I actually wanted to see.

I told my taxi I wouldn’t need him until 1:00, took a nap, took a shower, and now here I am at work. Feeling ok, I guess. Just sick.

A few observations on some everyday differences between India and the US:

- At home, if you don’t deal with your trees the power company yells at you, then eventually comes by and chops your tree into some hideous shape (usually an exaggerated “L”) solely for the purpose of keeping your tree out of the power lines. As I wandered around (lost) the other day I noticed they purposely use the trees here to support the power lines. I took a picture of it but it’s really blurry. If my photo skillz improve and I walk by another example of such fine urban planning I will post it. (UPDATE - Photo added.)

Not up to code.

- How about the guy I saw cooking something in a pot over a sizeable open flame in a thatched roof hut? I seriously doubt his hut insurance covers blatant negligence.

- Three of us went to lunch the other day at a busy restaurant and sat at a table for four. 5 minutes after we sat down some random dude sat at the empty chair. Neither of my lunch mates said anything to him, nor he to them. He ordered his food, ate it, and left on his way. Needless to say, that would never happen in the US. Although it happens in some European countries, I hear.

- The power outlets here are different than home. That fact in itself is not unusual nor was it unexpected. The advance purchasing of an adapter is proof of this. The outlet configuration is two small, round holes about ¾” apart with a larger hole above and centered between the two small holes. My first day in the office I was having a hell of a time getting my plug adapter to fit in the holes. I couldn’t understand because it had worked in my hotel room. Girish informed me that the large hole is actually a child-proofing mechanism. You need to stick something into that hole while simultaneously plugging in your device. He suggested using a pen. Well, now. You child-proof something by making the adults stick something into the outlet? What, are you trying to create a society of orphans? I did as he suggested and it worked but only after a nice blue spark flew from the large hole at the conclusion of the procedure. This happens every day when I plug in my laptop (when the security guard is not around insisting he do it for me).

Girish is taking me to dinner tonight to some place with food and dancing and singing (a show, not participatory singing and dancing). It might be interesting.

And because my wife wants to see more pictures, here are more pictures.

---Eric

A templey-shriney thing I saw while lost.

Another shot of the crowd at T Nagar.

Fruit stand at T Nagar.

A thatched roof hut down the street from my hotel.

More wedding revelry.

Men clustered around a street vendor.

1 comment:

christen said...

yay for more pictures and no need to go to Singapore!