Monday, October 09, 2006

A passage to India

Just arrived in Kolkata and it's been a bit of a culture shock. We arrived at 5 in the morning to 34 degrees of hear and 90% humidity. That certainly gets your attention. The arrival process was pretty straight forward, nothing much to comment on. We found our driver pretty quickly but were hustled from the moment we left the terminal. People wanting to carry our bags, give us drinks or do ANYTHING for a few rupee’s. I kept one eye on my bag, held on to my rucksack with one hand and had the other on my wallet. My colleague and I managed to get into the car and off without incident.

Driving in India!!!! It seems to be a national sport that involves breaking as much of the highway code as possible in the shortest time. I don’t have time to describe the number of near misses but take a look at this video and you’ll see what I mean.

The hotel is fine, very western in it’s appearance and the staff can’t do any more to help. I asked if I could upgrade my room (very small and on the ground floor). They were full Sunday but this morning the duty manager came to my room and took me round the hotel showing me every class of available room. I’m now on the top floor in what they call the ‘Taj Club’. It seems that I have 24 butler service (something I’ll have to try later).

Work was cancelled this morning as a strike was called by one of the local political parties. We’ve been told to stay in the hotel as there may be demonstrations. I’ve been preparing for tomorrows presentations and watching the odd movie.

Food!!!! What not to eat. I’ve been told that most things in the hotel are OK to eat but I’m sticking to fried foods and anything well cooked. So far so good but I have another 12 days to go so who knows that will happen.

Hopefully I’ll have time to update you tomorrow on my first day at work and the cab ride to the office. I’m soooooooooooo not looking forward to that!!!!!

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