Monday, August 18, 2008


Hee hee just thought I should write a quick note about my first proper monsoon quite hilarious moment....

Was out bowling with the other TWUers at Leela Palace (the place of wonder, theres proper meat and everything there!) and headed out to leave to realise that its now proper monsoon season and properly pouring outside.... like within minutes you are up to your shins in water... nothing for it but to walk home and just get soaked.... there's a point where you just can't get any wetter!

Thought it was all quite fun really, i guess the novelty will ware off pretty quick when i realise I have no dry clothes left, or I slip and brake my leg... or that the water i'm running though is infact and over flowing poo river...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

1 and a half weeks in....

It feels more like 1 month and a half... in good ways and bad...!

Good news is i'm much more settled now, to be honest we have so much work to get done that I don't have much time to worry anymore!

My daily routine at the moment:
Go to a nearby hotel for all day training
4 sessions of 1 1/2 hours on everything from consulting skills to programming concepts to agile bootcamps!
Eat dinner somewhere (trying to avoid the spicy indian food!)
Do homework (yes i know horrifying eh!)

Exciting stuff eh! having said that we did all get taken on a trip this weekend on Sunday, to a place called Mascal, an hour and half away just outside Bangalore. All 27 of us trooped onto the bus at 6.45am on sunday. We then did about a 1/2 hour treck through Indian jungle to a big rock which we climbed up and then absailed down, good effort for lots of people as they'd never done it before and were pretty scared, but most I think enjoyed in the end!

1/2 of us then left to start the treck to the spot we were having lunch in. Now we were told 1 km, it took at least 2 hours so not sure about that one! We trecked through various spiky bushes, up and down rocks and across plains to finally arrive at the opposite side of the lake to our lunch. We then took boats and kayaks across the lake to get our lunch. We were asked if we wanted to do team building games but the general consensus was a nice lazy afternoon hanging out under the giant umbrellas, and getting sunburnt for us white folk! I must also mention Fergal my goat, which I decided I wanted to take home, he was a particularly stupid goat who kept falling over his own feet while trying to walk and eat at the same time. Some may say he was the ugly one, but I like to think special...

After a considerably shorter walk back to the bus, we all slept on the way home. Was brilliant to get away from the noise and smells of bangalore and get in some fresh air!

Thats it for now!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Coming round to India...

So I think its time to admit that I've been really struggling to settle in.... my apartment is new and so barely finished but I think at long last everything is finally working... touch wood.

And at least I now have internet... not being able to contact home or friends at will is pretty un-settling, don't know what that says about society and our dependence on technology but hey!
I'm looking forward to the prospect of my first warm shower in my apartment in the morning...

Beccy and I have also already got sick.... which didn't help with the grumpiness levels, but we're both getting better and at least can eat again now, but to be honest spicy food for breakfast,lunch and dinner just isn't going to happen anymore if i'm to survive 6 weeks!

I was getting myself into such a state, as I felt so bad that I felt so bad about here... I am supposed to be one of the most travelled people here and yet I seem to be struggling to adjust the most.

The majority of the group of 27 are Indian, who come at life from a totally different angle than us 'westerners'. We've been asking lots of questions but its pretty hard to relate. For example the girls are age still have to ask permission from their parents (even though they have left home) to go to the cinema or to dinner with us, and wont' be allowed unless there is an 'adult' present. And they don't want to rebel because otherwise when it comes to finding a husband in a couple of years, they won't get picked unless they are well behaved, educated, quiet girls... I cant even begin to imagine.

Its also hard to make friends with them like you would normally, so for example you tend to become friends with someone by opening up and sharing experiences and details about you're life, creating a sort of trust I guess, with these guys they don't offer up anything and I think they would consider it entirely inappropriate to talk about personal things, so it makes it really hard to relate. We are also having how diversity is so important to a successful team, and they are right... but also how TWU is held in India so that westerners can experience Asia, but what about the other way around? We come over here and watch what we wear, and eat with the right hand, and lower our eyes when we walk past men and put up with staring.... but is there this tolerance the other way round??

I was starting to worry that I was unable to by myself for fear of offending anyone.. but then I realised that if I'm going to survive 6 weeks here that just can't happen, so i'm back to my sarcastic humorous self, and if then don't like it well.... I am trying for example I still watch what I wear, however the spicy food will stop!

This probably all sounds very cynical and maybe it is... but at the moment its about surviving! And this is how i feel.... Anyways its getting better now that our days are taken up with training, not much time to do anything else!

Anyways best be off and get some sleep, apologies if I have disgruntled anyone with this post....

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The first few days in Bangalore

This is going to be a long post ;-)

So we set off from London on Thursday morning and got driven to Heathrow terminal 5. Saw loads of the sights of London on the way, we were all so excitable! Even ran into the horses from the changing of the guards just by Buckingham Palace. Arrived at the shiny Terminal 5 and am pleased to say the place now runs like clockwork!

Heathrow Terminal 5 before flight2 (1)

The flight was hot and cramped... but I guess they always are right?! But on Mike's recommendation I watched Bucket List and he's right it is good, and then Over Her Dead Body, which was funny I guess, and Then 21, which was pretty good too. The three of us were desperately trying to sleep but it didn't happen! We arrived in Bangalore at 4.15am and waited a long time for ours bags.. literally the last ones off the plane... we joked that maybe they were using an Elephant a small cart to unload them one at a time.... turns out it was probably a goat...We were met by a driver with a ThoughtWorks sign (oh yeh that said Mr Rebecca.... that will stick with her I think!)

We then embarked on probably the scariest car journey of all time... There are no rules of the road in India.. imagine a 3 lane motorway with everything from rickshaws (little moped 3 wheel taxi things) to massive trucks, all going at various speeds, generally as fast a possible, winding in and out of the lanes at a whim, a lot of people straddling the lanes, beeping their horns when approaching another vehicle as they has bashed off all their wing mirrors... there isn't a single car without some kind of dent in it... scary. We also saw a pretty nasty accident as a result... it’s a wonder there are so many Indian people...

We arrived at the Diamond District at about 7.30am, which is the gated compound with the office and loads of apartment blocks. We were met and taken to our different apartments, I have since moved into a different one on my own... They're quite nice, quite basic, but have a kitchen, TV, Air con... Anyways after a quick shower it was off to the office for a day of induction stuff... which unsurprisingly Val, Beccy and myself literally slept through we were so exhausted, we even found a little room to go to sleep in at lunchtime! There are I think 30 something of us on ThoughtWorks University, about 24 from the Indian office, 3 of us from the London office, 1 from Chicago, 1 from Melbourne and then I think there is supposed to be a Canadian and some Chinese coming over the weekend. After a full day of Inductions (which actually could of been done in two hours.. but time keeping or a sense of urgency aren't exactly the Indian's strong point!), The group headed to a restaurant on the complex for a buffet style traditional Indian meal, for all of about 2 pounds.... genius, good for those of us on a western wage! And then a seriously needed sleep was had!
The Trainers from TWU (ThoughtWorks University) arranged for a tour of Bangalore for us today (Saturday). Feeling more optimistic and more energetic we were up for the adventure. We got taken round in a big bus, which made me certainly feel safer on the roads! We visited the Bull temple, and the surrounding gardens, where we discovered the largest bats hanging out in the trees that I have ever seen... gross.

Bull Temple Bangalore (1) Bull Temple Bangalore

Next we had lunch, apparently it was a very famous place that people love to go from around here, you get a big platter thing which is separated into loads of little sections and 1 big one, and they just kept arriving with more and more things to put into them.... they eat so much but stay so small.... they also traditionally eat with their right hand, some of the guys we are with do it this way some with a spoon, Val is getting pretty good at it.. It’s definitely an art!

There are so many traditions and right way of doing things that it’s had to keep up, let alone remember how to pronounce everyone's names properly. At the moment it’s still quite intense questioning for us from the Indian lot, and we are desperately trying to get to grips with all the different aspects. It also gets a lot of getting used to the fact that as white western girls we get stared at all the time and given dirty looks, despite the fact that we're all conservatively dressed and trying to blend in.... Whilst out and about in Bangalore today we having as many pics of us taken by the locals as we were taking of the sights...
After lunch we went on to the Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, which are supposed to be modelled on the Kew gardens in London. It’s pretty big and is really nice actually, there’s a big lake at one end, with pelicans in, and there are Monkeys wondering about. We hung about there for a few hours watching the world go by. There are just getting the Gardens all ready with new plants in time for the Indian Independence Day in mid August when they have a big flower show there. While we were all sat on this big rock, there was a little police man whose only job was to keep people off a little patch of new grass, and he was furiously blowing his whistle at anyone who even went within 2 feet of it, quite funny watching from a distance!

Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, Bangalore (7)Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, Bangalore (11)Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, Bangalore (19)

I've now moved to my new apartment, which is nice, although the electricity supply is sporadic at best, must buy some candles tomorrow! Anyways that’s it for now.....

Friday, August 1, 2008

I've arrived...

I here... I'm alive... and I'm exhausted after a morning of work in London, straight to Heathrow, a 10 1/2 hour flight, 2 hours waiting for luggage, a scary ass drive to the apartment and then a ful days work here.... no sleep....

Will update when I have regained some sort of sense!!