Tuesday, 9 December 2008

The day my heart flew out of the window

Well, one of the guys at work was kind enough to loan me one of those USB mobile 'broadband' sticks today so I have some connectivity. I have quoted 'broadband' since India doesn't seem to have a 3g network, so the data seems to chug along around 56K dial-up speed, something that I thought I had left behind a long time ago. It uses a protocol called CDMA if that means anything to anyone.

A lot has happened in the days since my last full entry.

On friday night, we went back to Rajeev's for a very nice, home cooked, Indian meal. This was all manner of awesome! There was some spinach type curry stuff which looked a bit unpleasant to me at first (especially since I can't stand spinach), but I gritted (that doesn't sound right! What is the past tense of grit?) my teeth and took a little and it was actually very nice. These guys can work magic. They could make an old tyre edible if you gave them a complete set of herbs and spices!

I was feeling a little contemplative for most of Friday. On the journey into work I was sat in the back of the car sneaking a cigarette before we arrived at the office and I decided to wind the window right down, while sitting in the usual crazy traffic in Delhi a young girl, aged about 8 or so came up to the window. She was begging for money. She looked at me with eyes I had never seen. It was so difficult, at the time I had not yet gotten any Indian currency and I am not sure it would have been wise to give any if I had. We were sat in heavy traffic and it would have only taken a quick shout and we could have easily been swamped with beggars trying to extract from their newly discovered 'soft-touch'. I really wanted to do something for her though, it's quite an embarrasing situation when a kid is looking at you to provide her with some of the very basic human requirements, while you are sat in your air conditioned car, on your way to a decently paid job and about to check into a pretty luxiourious flat. I am certain that moment has changed my outlook a fair bit. In the days since this incident I have witnessed much more of the levels that poverty reaches here. India is like a country divided in two. On one hand you have shopping centres that would not feel out of place back in the UK (and are comprable in size, to Lakeside for example), but right outside you will find dozens of kids begging for change. The divisions are just massive!

Saturday, me and Peter checked into the flat. It is 4000 square feet so there is more than enough room for us to stay out of each others way. I let Peter have the big master bedroom, he is the boss man after all. Also he is a bit better in the mornings than me, and since getting the main bathroom requires travelling through the master bedroom, I figured that it was better he took it, since I will only hold up his morning routine with my laziness.

My room has an en suite, but it is nothing like the master bathroom (I will get some pictures once I am up to full internet speed!). Also, there is an external window that is directly facing the shower with no kind of curtain or blind, which means if I use the shower there, anybody who happens to walk past is going to get a fairly unpleasant shock!! We have contacted to the property agent to get this situation rectified.

It didn't take long for the mosquitos to find me! These little fuckers attack me anywhere I go, sweet blood perhaps, but if I leave this country malaria free it will be a bloody miracle! Various anti-mosquito devices and chemicals are now on the shopping list.

Moving in on Saturday morning was followed by a trip to the local shops for the required items (sheets, duvets, pillows etc), so that we would be able to spend the night in the house. After that it was back to the office for the rest of the day, we interviewed a few people for various roles, did a little work and then headed back. I was asleep within 10 minutes of walking through the door.

Sunday I caught up on my sleep. I actually woke pretty early but then dozed in and out until gone 11AM. We are on a ground floor apartment and there are some guys doing a bit of work outside so it got a bit noisy around 9AM, but that stuff doesn't usually bother me that much, in fact it takes quite a bit to completely wake me up (a fact which I am sure that Vanda will happily confirm!).

Sunday evening we were invited to a BBQ. The father of one of Peters friends back home runs a business in Delhi which is involved in importing Porsches into India (I may have mentioned this before, too lazy to read back my old entries to check). Quite a few of his staff are living in this apartment complex so it is quite good for Peter and I. We have some people with familier accents to speak to. BBQ was awesome, it seems that these guys have found a butcher in India that is happy to supply beef (not sure if the Butcher is Indian or not, that wasn't made clear), so I had a really nice BBQ steak. It was a good evening, nice food and good conversation. I started to feel a bit more comfortable, it is good to be able to get advice from people who have been in the country for a while.

Today was a pretty standard work day. I spent some time working with Arrtii (certainly spelt wrong!), who was an already employed Java developer at J9 who has now been moved to our project. She is doing pretty well, it is a lot for her to take in, the complex new technologies coupled with my strong accent have made things a bit difficult for her, but she is coping. We also employed a guy called Pradeep who will be our second junior developer on the team. Nice guy, English not marvellous but we should communicate ok. The search for our senior middleware guy continues!

After work Peter and I headed to the shopping centre to get a bite to eat and pick up some stuff. We had been to the centre a few times before and discovered that two white guys, getting dropped off outside the main gates get a tonne of attention from the local beggars (I still feel very bad for them, but I do have to say that sympathy does tend to dimminish just a little when they are hanging on your arms!). This time we asked the driver to drop us off inside (there is a car park underneath the centre itself) so that we could enter without quite so much attention.

We headed straight for the food court, and I suggested somewhere which turned out to be pretty ropey in terms of quality, having already gotten ill one time I didn't fancy it again so we left most of the food (Peter's chicken was clearly not cooked properly!) and instead grabbed a McDonalds (no beef at McDonalds here, so its all chicken and fish burgers), by the time we had finished faffing around in the food court (we had a long discussion about the nature of evolution after dinner), everything was shut, so we didn't end up getting any of the stuff we were there for.

Tomorrow we will leave the office early and get what we need. I certain need to get some mosquito replent otherwise the fuckers will finish me off entirely!

It's not 12:45 AM so I am going to sign off. More soon.

1 comment:

Rich M said...

Mosquitos are attracted to sweat. The more saltier it is the more you get bitten.

Are you taking salt tablets? Whenever I've been bitten abroad it's due to jet lag (what transcontinental travel does to biochemistry is just wrong. It's why I've sworn never become an astronaut -- sorry, digression) and having to take salt tabelts.

So the easiest way off the menu is to increase your fluid intake to replace what you lose through sweating and try sleeping without a sheet.