Monday, July 2, 2007

Ben in HYD #2


It's been a fun week in Hyderabad, but I'm now very happy to be home in Mountain View. I leave for Michigan in a few hours, but you're lucky enough to get Trip Report.2 before that. Notice how early I'm up - that's the magic of a 12.5 hour time difference.

As usual, this report comes in bullet-point form.

- There are a lot of poor people in India. Far more than I would have expected given the recent economic growth here from the IT industry
- There is a much larger dichotomy between rich and poor than you would think. Rich people make $10k+ / year, while poor people make at most a few dollars per day. And the poor far outnumber the rich.
- Poor people have little to no chance at success here. They can't afford schooling, won't be able to learn English, will never go to college, etc. Rachel is working on some of these issues in the US, but even the poorest people in American don't compare to the poor here. Starving children knocking on your car window begging for money are extremely common place. It was heart-wrenching.
- Because of the vast numbers of very poor people, there are an excess number of service jobs. These jobs are mostly filled by men, very few cleaning ladies or waitresses in India
-- There are so many people for these jobs, and they are paid so little that you are getting constant attention. Do you like it when people watch you eat? I find it disturbing.

- My teammates took me out to local cuisine where I ate some weird stuff. Pastries filled with a spicy liquid, some weird curds on flatbread, beans, vegetarian dishes, and random breads and spices
- I ate all my pop tarts, because they're delicious
- I have no idea how Lee survived here for 3 weeks. It must have been some sort of Indian miracle
- I enjoy Indian food, and I ate well here. However, because Indian food is so different than my normal cuisine, it all tends to blend together. So needless to say, I'm ready for some American food. Top eats when I get back:
-- Good breakfasts, including eggs, potatoes, bacon, etc.
-- Good orange juice. All the juices were so sweet here, I couldn't stand it by the end
-- Fried chicken
-- Pizza
-- Google coffee. The machines in Hyderabad just weren't the same. I miss my self-made espressos with the perfect kiss of foam

Getting sick:
- As far as I know, I didn't contract malaria or hepatitus. I'll keep you posted if this changes (aka, 'oooh, my duodenum is acting up')

What to do at night in Hyd:
- Not much, it's such a pain to get anywhere
- Mostly worked
- Eat dinner with the team

Entertainment during travel:
- Gameboy
- Laptop
- Books (reading Ender's Game series for this trip)
- Movies and TV, but only on the return trip. Partial viewings of the following:
-- Blades of Glory, Talledaga Nights, 300, Shooter, The Office, Simpsons, Futurama, Scrubs