Thursday, August 30, 2001

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have seen monkeys!! I saw two on the way to work today - an adult and a baby (though, not tiny, Katie). I guess there's a particular corner that's on our way to work where people bring food to the monkeys.

I hadn't realized it, but last night was the first night that we stayed out late (past 10pm). Turns out our neighborhood is gated - go figure! Anyway, we went to the Grand Hyatt, a gorgeous hotel, to see its workout facilities and have dinner. Dinner was wonderful, but the workout facilities are far from complete and aren't scheduled to be done until late fall. We'll have to check out more gyms this weekend. Many of the available gyms here are in hotels; there aren't any gyms like 24 Hour Fitness or Gold's.

I got cell phone service yesterday; the number is: +91 98105 30267

and our home phone number is: +91 11 615 6243

To call either of those from the US, dial 011 and then the rest of the phone number.

Ah, well. Must get back to work. :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2001

Wanna get a drink while you are in Delhi? No problem, there are plenty of places to go. Check out:

for a comprehensive list. BTW, "tully" in Hindi means "drunk" and "ho-na" means "to be" ... a literal translation might suggest that the site is a philosophical site to reflect on the state of drunkenness (e.g., "to be drunk") but through underground informants I have been led to believe the real message may be far more sinister; some people even suggesting that the true message is "go get drunk". Join me now in a moment of silence. Ok, on that note, I'm leaving the office. Talk to you soon. :^)

Until next time, Ho-na tully!

Monday, August 27, 2001

I'm writing from home today. The past two days have been spent largely in bed. I have a case of "Delhi Belly". Not too fun. Ahh well, I appear to be getting better. I just feel a little drained but not sick anymore.

Friday, August 24, 2001

The cell service guy showed up but only had one SIM card (annoying). So ... Amy doesn't have a cell phone number until Monday, mine is:

+91 (981) 050-1397
We bought cell phones in the "grey market" yesterday. There is nothing grey about this market, it is completely black. Fortunately for us we had a negotiator from work come with us to guarentee us a good deal. We'll have service and the cooresponding phone numbers soon. For now, I thought I'd share our home phone number:

+91 (11) 615-6243 (no answering machine for now)

If necessary you can reach us at 6240 (bedroom phone) or 6241 (guest room). We'll probably change this later -- it's pretty annoying having three numbers at home -- so please use the 6243 unless it is a complete emergency.
Last night we had a cook/housecleaner stop by for an interview. She had lots of experience, spoke english, and had good references. We didn't hire her though. Why? She had a teenage daughter and son, as well as a husband who would all be sharing the guest quarters. There is plenty of room for a single person up there, probably even enough for a married couple but there is no way a family with children could live there. Oh well. Amy and I made breakfast this morning all by ourselves. Please don't feel too sorry for us. Apparently there is another candidate who will be interviewed today and we may have someone as early as later today.
Last night was relatively cool and I took a break by taking some photo's from our roof deck. Here is my favorite (had to "stitch" two photos together to get the wide-angle effect):

Thursday, August 23, 2001

I'm splitting this post into sections cause I was having trouble posting the whole thing all at once. Ta! -aes

Part 1:
Wow. Giant ants, custom-made furniture, dueling cooks - I feel like we're living in an episode of National Geographic meets Bob Vila meets Iron Chef! I'm having a wonderful time, but I haven't quite gotten used to the fact that we're not going back. I keep thinking things like, "I'll have to before we leave." Granted, it's still possible that I'll be staffed and promptly sent back to SF, but for now it appears that I'll be in Delhi for awhile.

Our adventures began Sunday, when we moved into our flat. We tried to find our local market, and after using a mix of English and pidgin sign language, we managed to find our way there. First reality check: we cannot communicate with random strangers as easily as we thought we might be able to. Fear not, however, because we have signed up for lessons in Hindi, and I got over my fear of our Loney Planet Hindi and Urdi phrase book and started digging in.
Part 2:
We met our downstairs neighbors as we moved in - a great couple from Toronto - Anil and Anjali. We went to dinner together Sunday night, and they shared some of their experiences and knowledge with us. Anjali speaks Hindi, and offered her help if we get in a pinch.

Work on Monday was rather uneventful, and we left the office early to try to return to the market to a store recommended by Anil and Anjali. We went and found a few staples like ice cream, chocolate, milk, and frozen samosas. We have about 6 bags of lentils, a bunch of spices, 12 cartons of juice, and 2.5 dozen eggs at home, and I couldn't turn them into a meal if my life depended on it! (We haven't quite figured out the stove yet.)

On Tuesday, I went to the furniture and fabric stores, where I got to pick out new couches and the material that will be used to cover them. I also picked material for curtains. It was a ball, but we had an hour total, and Ken wasn't there, so I was a bit conservative. We're having an American dresser made cause Indian ones don't really store a lot of clothes. The Indian dresser that we do have has a little stool that slides out and makes a dressing table - we'll have to upload pics when things are settled a bit more.
Part 3:
Yesterday was rather uneventful, though I had a fun task at work interviewing project managers about their experiences with distributed delivery - very educational. Our neighbors' cook brought his sister by to see if we needed a cook, and we'll be interviewing her and another woman tonight. One of our Operations team members is suggesting that we have both cooks work for us for a week and see which one we like better. Makes sense, but it's a little wacky. We're going to look at tri-band cell phones (can be used in Asia, Europe and the US) and cars today, as well.

Ken mentioned the mosquito destroyer in a previous post. Well, it appears that it kills more than that - we found ~6 dead, giant ants this morning. That's better than yesterday morning, when I woke up with one of them crawling on me!!

Even though we don't have "help" yet, someone comes into our apartment to straighten it daily (dishes done, etc.) and our laundry is picked up (to be returned the following day). The thing that continues to surprise me is that people will bring anything to your house if you're interested in making a purchase. The phone guy comes by the office, and comforters will be brought by our apartment this evening. People will even bring cars to your house for you to look at!!

Anyway, gotta run to check out phones.

Take care, aes
Here are some a few random images:

This is a junior police officer (the full officers wear white), his unenviable job is a human traffic light. He must run out in front of traffic and become the "red light"Some guy selling lemons (at least that's what I think they are)
People stare at white people here. I caught this guy staring at us and waved. He lightened up after that.

Wednesday, August 22, 2001

I wore my Indian dress into the office today. Everyone is giving me compliments but it turns out that I overpaid for it by quite a lot. Overall not too surprising but the magnitude of overpayment surprised me. I paid roughly $120 (although Amy swears it was more) and I probably should have paid around $20-25. Ooops
Our office is in the "helmet district". This is not an official name -- actually I just created it -- but for roughly 4-5 blocks before you get to our office there is business after business (read: outdoor stand after outdoor stand) selling only scooter/motorcycle helmets. Weird, but I guess it makes sense considering how many scooter are on the road.

Monday, August 20, 2001

Rolling blackouts in the California cause headlines in the US, in India it is just par for the course. We lost power in the office probably 8-10 times (only for a few seconds) yesterday. The only bad part, however, was when we got back to our flat and found that some of the electricity (and air conditioners) had gone out. Arrrgh. The dream of watching TV while comfortably sprawling in our nicely cooled living room was quickly squelched. We had to switch to bedroom (with air conditioning) for last night too. Ohh well, hopefully this should be fixed today and not be a problem going forward.

Sounds like progress is being made on getting us a cook and house keeper but still no "help" yet.
We're Baaa-ack. Amy and I flew out Friday afternoon and arrived around midnight on Saturday night. We crashed at a hotel on Saturday but the driver gave us the keys to our flat and we headed over there on Sunday morning to take a look. To our surprise they had furnished the entire place! Guess that's both good and bad. On the plus side, we were able to move in comfortably that afternoon but on the minus side some of the furniture is definately not our style. We're going to look into changing it around a little over the next week. One of the things they put in our apartment is an anti-mosquito device ... officially it's called (and I quote), an "electronic liquid mosquito destroyer machine". Awesome. And if you weren't already impressed, ours is loaded with extra MMR (that's Mosquite Mortality Rate). Yes!

Friday, August 10, 2001

Haven't posted anything recently so thought I'd quickly say hi. The big news is Amy and I finally both have tickets back to India! We are flying out on Friday the 17th of August. Even though it has been fun being back in the states, I'm looking forward to getting back to India. Here's a couple pictures of our US trip back:

Amy and my dad in NapaAmy and I in Calistoga

Thursday, August 02, 2001

Since Amy and I have been over in the states it seemed less important to post updates but now that we've both been here for longer than we expected I feel the need to give a quick update.

First off, we rented the house! That was the biggest obstacle in front of our moving and we were lucky enough to find friends (Pam & Dave) as tenants. In addition to just peace of mind that meant that the property management company was comfortable with us renting the house furnished. Packing should be much easier.

Around the date for our return to India ... still trying to finalize that. It's looking like Amy and I may have different dates which is a bummer. Well, we'll let you know when we know.