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WebLog India 2010. Working 7000+ km from home…

Browsing Posts tagged Shopping

Here are some images of my last round of Pune!

Hier zijn enkele afbeeldingen van mijn laatste route door Pune!

The week pass by quickly. It is now the 6th week past and it is Eastern. In the Netherlands we have Eastern Monday off, but in India we have Good Friday as a public holiday. A nice long weekend.

I did not have any plans for the weekend and started the Friday easy going. I took my time for breakfast, sports and started gathering some stuff for the journey home. Every now and then I would watch a movie (HBO and Star Movies broadcast movies nonstop) and I would blog a bit. But I did not want the whole weekend to be like this so I took my phone and called some people to learn their weekend plans.

The Saturday started early. I got up, did sports and had breakfast. At 10:00 am the chauffeur was there and I was on my way to get Sanket. Together we went to Koregaon Park, Lane 7 for some souvenirs on a suggestion of the driver. He is well aware on the places for tourism and the more expensive neighborhoods. They often get a commission if they bring customers to the shop. Smart business.

Some information about Koregaon Park: Koregaon Park is known for several reasons. On is tourism and since recently (February 13th 2010) the bombing of the famous German bakery. After this explosion in which people have died and got wounded extra security is placed at Koregaon Park. Now you will find many blockades, bunkers and military people. The German baker is covered with a structure and cloths. This is one of the reasons were as the security in India has risen as described in previous posts.

Back to my story of the Saturday. After successful shopping Sanket and I go to M.G.Road. Here we meet Vaibhav. The three of us continue the day and do some more shopping for souvenirs to remind me of my adventures in India. At the end of M.G.Road we find Moledina Road were we enter the restaurant ‘Rama Krishna’ for lunch.

After a good but also a bit spicy lunch we leave round 02:00 pm for some sightseeing:

  • Lal Mahal (next to Shaniwar wada).
    We arrive at the site, but it is closed. Sanket tells a bit about the history about how the Mongols ruled and how a warrior defeated the Mongol king by cutting five of his fingers from his hand. The fingers are still in Lal Mahal.
  • To get to Saras Baug we drive through the old center of Pune were we find Srimanth Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati Mandir (Mandir = temple). I have already seen it before while driving, but now we take the time to go inside. The temple is made of marble and from the inside silver and gold. During the festivals the statue will contain actual gold which also increases security of the temple. The temple has a second floor which is made of colored glass. From this floor you can look down in the temple.
    Srimanth Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati Mandir
  • Next we go to Saras Baug (Talyatla Ganpati)
    This temple used to stand within a small lake which also translates in the name. The name means “Ganpati in the lake”. The lake is now dry and they made a park round with a pond round the temple.
    We were there for some time to get out of the sun. Our next goal would not have much shade and we needed to climb a mountain which we did not want to do in the heat of the sun.
    Saras Baug Saras Baug
  • On the way to the next temple we stopped at a small road shop serving sugar cane drinks. The beverage is created by pressing the juice out of sugar canes without any supplements.
    Sugar Press Sugar juice Sugar drink
  • After the sugar drink we went to the start of the mountain. Here we start our climb of round 200 steps to the temple of Parvati Darshan on Parvati hill. Parvati is a Hindu goddess.
    Stairs Walking up Temple
  • Besides the temple there is a small museum named Peshwa. We see a bit of history of Shaniwar wada, coins of India, weapons and more.
  • On this same mountain there is a small place for foods and drinks. The guys take some tea and I get some coffee. The coffee is hot milk with a bit of coffee powder. We stay here a while and watch the view and take some food. The dish is called Bhel puri which is served on a paper and you eat with your hands. It is kind of puffed rice with unions, herbs, chili and other ingredients. Very nice to share a snack like this :P .

After this we went home. Once home I wanted the check, but there were more costs than expected. In these settings it is uncomfortable to not know the language. After some discussion and some help of Peter via phone it works out and I get the proper amount on the bill.

Once inside I only want to sleep. It was a fun day, but all impressions and heat have taken its toll :) . Sanket and Vaibhav, thanks for a nice day!

The visit of the customer had started on Sunday with a surprise visit of Safdar and I in Mumbai, but the official business started only on Tuesday. On request of the customer the week schedule was setup with lot of space to improvise, for activities and other business which could occur. This way we could all benifit optimal from the visit, schedule and improvisations. This brought a nice relaxed and a constructive etmosphere.

A small summary of the week:

For me the days started as previous weeks. A nice excersice, a good shower, some breakfast and then off to work. At first tensions were there in the office for some. The week was not suppose to be about high management talk and management meetings, but individual members were requested to prepare, present and initiate actions on diverent topics. Just before arrival of the customer some people requested last inputs on the topics. At that time the customer arrived and received a warm welcome.

The day started with introductions, some meetings, a real Indian lunch and the first team pictures were made. After a busy day full of impressions for the customer and the team we closed up at 06:00 pm. The customer left for the hotel.
Welkom met traditie Welkom met traditie Welkom heten klant Team intro

Due to project related commitments I stay in office for several hours.

A day full of nice activities. The customer arrives at 09:00 am and the take some time to pickup some work from the Netherlands. We also take our time for project engagements and return to the customer round 10:00. We leave for a second building of Accenture in Pune.

Remarkably I discussed during this drive my traffic observations. When we arrived at the parking garage and we wanted to exit I was shocked with what happened then. Just while I was opening my door a motorcycle drove by very vast with a girl on the back. We were driving a Toyota Innova which is quite big. While the motorcycle drove by the cardoor got ripped out of my hand and the firl was flying through the air. She landed between the parked motorcycles. The driver fell down with his motorcycle. Total chaos at that time.

The people remain calm, but I was in a bit of a shock. Several peopleassisted the girl and after 10 minutes she slowly rizes. Somewhat unstable she stumbles to the elivator and we start our tour. I think she will have had quite some difficulties and breuzes for some days.

Dispite the incident the customer had a good impression of the capabilities of Accenture and it was a fun tour.

Round 11:00 am we return to Tower 5 were we get our stuff and together with Manasi and Rupali we go for some sights in Pune.

  • We first go to my apartment so I can change and drop my belongings. Also I show them how I am currently living in this environment;
  • We drive to the hotel of Michelle, Bart and Eddie so they can also change and drop their belongings. A very impressive hotel Le Meridian Hotel!;
  • Because we already lost some time due to our pit stops we decide to go for lunch. We go to hotel … where Manasi orders typical Indian dishes. Nice!;
  • After a couple of pitstops we leave for Ghandi Memorial which is officially known as Aga Khan Palace.
    Some history: Sultan Mohammed Shah, Aga Khan III, got the palace constructed in the year 1892. The aim behind the construction of the Aga Khan Palace was to provide employment to the people of the nearby areas, who were hit by famine. Prince Karim El Husseni, Aga Khan IV, donated the palace to India in 1969, in the honor of Gandhiji and his philosophy. Aga Khan Palace is also known as Gandhi National Memorial because of its close association with Mahatma Gandhi.
    Aga Khan Palace Discussions Foto shoot :P Foto shoot again :P
  • After some nice pictures and a quick view of the museum we go to Snake Park Katrag (also known as Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park). Once arrived ot seems the place is closed on Wednesday. A pitty but nothing to do about it.
  • To improvise for the next site we look across Snake Park were we see a moutain on which two temples are there. The first temple is where you enter (which is highest on the moutain). The temple is called Katraj Jain temple. The second temple seems part of the first, but it is situated a bit lower and is called Pavapuri Jain temple. Here we make sime pictures via a small fotoshoot. “Smile at the camera” :D ;
    Foto Bart
  • Na het bezoek aan de tempel gaan we naar het centrum van oude Pune. Hier zijn nauwe straatjes en veel winkels. We gaan hierheen om souvenirs te kopen en een Sari voor Michelle.
  • Nog even wat snoepgoed inslaan en we zijn klaar met winkelen.

Na dit alles hebben we een geweldig diner met het hele team in SIGRI aan Dhole Patil Road. Het feest duurde lang en was een geweldige afsluiting van de dag. Nadat ik Michelle, Bart, Eddie en Peter met de taxi thuis had gebracht kwam ik rond 01:30 thuis aan. Een lange dag, maar zeer voldaan.
Food Food Food Food

De donderdag even geen sport. Na een lange dag en korte nacht heb ik even een uurtje langer geslapen. Lekker ;) ! Vandaag staat niet veel bijzonders op het agenda. We nemen afscheid van Eddie aangezien die nog enkele andere verplichtingen heeft in Nederland.
In de avond gaan Michelle en Bart met mij mee uit eten in restaurant Deccan Harvest midden in Magarpatta city. Hier genieten we van een hele hete maaltijd (sisseling plate) van noodles en wat kip.
We kletsen over de diverse ervaringen en kijken even terug op de week. Wat een ervaring!

Vrijdag begint lekker. Weer even een zware training, een goed ontbijt en op naar kantoor. Hier stel ik Michelle en Bart voor aan Vaibhav. Wij hebben met zijn vieren lang samen gewerkt en zo hebben we even onze ervaringen kunnen delen. Erg leuk.
Zo rond 12:00 starten we met het opnemen van filmpjes voor de mensen in Nederland welke op kantoor zitten. Een leuke manier van contact leggen aangezien ook deze mensen nooit fysiek of visueel contact hebben gehad.
Aan het einde van de dag nemen Michelle en Bart afscheid van de teamleden. Wij informeren ze dat wij nog even gaan eten in restaurant Deccan Harvest en dat iedereen welkom is mochten ze dat willen.
Eenmaal aan het diner stromen de teamleden binnen en hebben we onverwachts een geweldig feestje!

Zo rond 22:00 gaan Michelle en Bart met mij mee om zich even op te frissen en daar staat ook de taxi te wachten.

Michelle en Bart, bedankt voor jullie bezoek! Het was een gezellige week.

The Monday started early again. I get up round 06:00 am and will prepare for the new day. I do not really have a rhythm yet in my days.
I did manage to adjust to the schema of meals and drinks. The meals I eat are almost only Indian dishes although most are the Biryani’s* (rice with egg or chicken. I have challenged myself to start eating different dishes daily if possible.

In the evening I have visited the Magarpatta sports gym. I have a great need for sports to regain energy. Finding a familiar element. The request to join the gym existed of more forms, a body measurement (although postponed for another day) and a first training session. GREAT!

The morning starts again at 06:00 am. I freshen up and go straight to the gym. Now we do the body measurement and I can again do a training session. The first training sessions only contain some cardio, but I do not mind. It has been 3 to 4 weeks since I had my last training…

The Wednesday starts as the previous days and I am having a good feeling by it. Some rhythm is established. Other then the two previous days we take some training outside. Inside there were so many people in the gym that there was no room for all. One of the trainers improvised a fun training.

Round 12:00 am Safdar an me go to M.G. Road, to a shop called Raymond’s to trial fit my new suit. Once there it happened that the suit was not ready and the master tailor is not in the shop. Very frustrating!

On Wednesday I engaged in a discussion with the manager of the apartment rental company. I have several technical issues which are not repaired accordingly or on short notice. We go through the options and I get the possibility to move.

Round 21:00 I leave to the Garden park in the middle of the company park complex. Today a very important moment was there in the most famous sport in India, Cricket. One of their players achieved a new world record by making 200 runs in one match.
Some of the colleagues celebrated in the restaurant. It was nice and fun to join, and very satisfied I left for home round 00:30 am.

Again a very nice training session at the gym. I really enjoy the training and all coaches remember my name within the first 3 days. It is setup in the gym that per area a coach is there to assist. So per cardio, crunches/stretching, weights and machines a coach is supervising. I am one of the few foreigners at the Gym and people stare quite often. This will change in the future I presume.

Today the master tailor was in the shop. Safdar calls upfront to make sure that also the suit is there and around 12:00 am we leave again to M.G. Road. After the trial fit it seems the pants are to small. Good thing we arranged the trial fit and on Saturday I can receive the finished suit.

At the evening I needed to speed up things for I was gone move to my new apartment. In half an hour I packed and was escorted by two gentlemen to the other building S-602. This apartment suits me fine. I unpacked and took some sandwiches.

After diner I talked with home via Skype.

And there we go again. An hour of sports.
The day flies by and because Shrinivas receive a promotion this week he offered a party at the Chinese restaurant “China Grill”.

It was a really nice evening on which also my drinking skills were tested. Let’s get it on with some shooters! It was round 01:00 am when I arrived home.

Today I slept in. First some breakfast at 08:30 am and around 09:00 am off to the Gym. I took a long training exercise after which I went for a swim. It is a bit shallow, but it is of Olympic size. At least that is what they keep telling me :) . They are pretty proud of it too. A bathing cap is mandatory and again registration before entering.

Vaibhav Gorde is working this day due to deadlines at his project. I decide to visit him for lunch and bring my laptop to show off some pictures. An hour of relaxing and enjoying for the both of us.

Round 03:30 pm Safdar comes to pick me up to get my suit. This time I am driving his motorcycle to M.G. Road. How COOL. Finally I have gotten the chance to drive and on a motorcycle even! What an experience.
Also the drive back I was in control and was very proud and happy. I wish my machine would be here. The motorcycles over here are maxed to 300cc, are slim and maneuverable. A completely different feel than my own bike which is big, wide and 1100cc. An example of the motorcycles in India is the Bajaj Pulsar** (this is the type of Safdar).

* Biryani YouTube film (I could not view it, but I believe it is a recipe)
** this link is only available in English

For me the week starts at Thursday due to travel in the weekend and the meet and great at Monday. I am waking up round 06:30 every day, still dozing a bit after and I will then freshen up. Round 07:30 breakfast is brought up consisting of an omelet, 2x toast, a bit of butter and jam with some coffee.

Round 08:30 I am being picked up by Ritesh Chowdhary also on his motorcycle. Safdar drives a Sports motorcycle, but Rithesh drives a more “old-school” motorcycle. Comfortable on the back we drive to work.

Security is heavy. On every street corner we see security and so now and then military. On every office building, on every entrance and exit there is security. And if you think one guard would be sufficient think again. All bags will be searched as we enter.

My workday exists mainly of setting up and reading about the project. Furthermore I am adapting and trying everything the team does. Breakfast at the office round 09:00 in the cafeteria (a small meal for them, an apple for me :) ), at 13:00 some lunch (a hot meal, but for me a bit less spicy like egg or chicken buriyani), teatime at 16:00 and sometimes round 18:00 a snack at the smaller cafeteria.

In the evenings I am again brought home via a motorcycle drive on Safdar his bike. Although my apartment is round the corner the team prefers to bring me home so I get their safe and sound and I do not mind for the motorcycle drives are fun :D .

After days with so many impressions I often don’t feel like cooking a hot meal round 21:00 and this is even early over here for diner. Often I just take some sandwiches with for example Nutella! Haha, it is obtainable everywhere and even though I don’t eat it at home, it tastes good now.

Specifics of the week?

  • The people over here try to provide me with all necessities. To get some meat in the house we need to go to specific stores which are not close to Magarpatta city. Amit Patil had especially took his car (red Honda) to work on Tuesday so he could go shopping with me. Eventually also Suhas Doke and Shrinivas Malpani went along to give directions. Impressive to go shopping for some meat and basics with 4 guys.
    Also in the city security is high. Every were you will see metal detectors and all bags will be searched. At entrance and exit the cars also get examined.
  • On Thursday I had a nice batch of chocolates for the team during teatime. This was received very nicely. It appears chocolate is very desired! :P
  • On Thursday I cooked my first meal. I especially woke up early to get to office and return quite early. Nice to have some potatoes, broccoli and pork sausages. Very good!
  • On Thursday I also started exploring the neighborhood. Some sightseeing in Tech City (Magarpatta city), the small market and DC (shops). Also I checked out the first floor of the COSMOS complex. The ground floor is a parking garage with above (1st floor) an artificial garden and buildings (apartments). From the air you would not see any cars, motorcycles, bicycles, etc.
  • On Friday I joint breakfast at work. A bit different, but nice.
  • On Saturday:
    • Going round at Tech City and tried to make some pictures. These were deleted by security, although not all ;)
    • In the afternoon I went to MG Road for some shopping and sightseeing in Pune. At a place called Raymonds I ordered a tailor suite and at the Nike store I bought to polo shirts for the “casual Fridays at the office”.
    • In the evening we went to INOX for a movie. We arrived at an unfortunate time and head back to MG Road for a nice diner.
    • Sundays was dedicated to the weblog and some rest. Today no sun and into the airco!

This is already become quite a long summary and without the actual impressions. Perhaps I will make a separate post of that to keep some overview. In due time I hope to give smaller updates by day instead of these long stories.