Bangalore – Settling In After Day 1


The next day found Ola and I in the offices of Enterprise Logic on Residency Cross Road. Fortunately for us their offices are just a 15 minute walk from Maya Hotel where we are staying. We were met by Meenu our buddy for the period of tuition at Enterprise Logic. After introducing ourselves, we paid our course fees of 30,000.00 Indian Rupees each and arranged a date when we could start classes.

We spent the rest of the afternoon sightseeing and checking out the local scenery. There was so much to soak in. We spent next couple of days enjoying ourselves, as we concluded that once the course started, we wouldn’t have the time enjoy the city.

SAP HR classes kicked off on the 13th of February. Monday the 12th was a strike day, something to do with the water situation in the city. Our SAP tutor, Suman [for short] was our tutor for the period of our course.

There was so much to learn in SAP HR. One thing I can say for sure is that our tutor is a clever chap. No notes, books or anything of that sort to refer to. He would come into class and then it was all from memory to the white board. I liked the setup they had at Enterprise Logic. There are about 11 small classrooms for teaching, and there is one huge lab with computers to training.

Bangalore is a “funny” place. “Funny” in terms of the fact that shops are open at around 10am in the mornings, and are shut by 12 midnight. Absolutely everything shuts down at 12 midnight. Even the clubs; they knock off at 11.30pm latest, amazing but true. Further inquires as to why this is so revealed that the police were cracking down on western culture.

One thing we didn’t miss out on was the opportunity to have suits sewn for us. I was in a Forex shop getting some pound sterling changed to Indian Rupees when I glanced up to see Ola in another shop checking out suit materials. What on earth is this geezer doing there I asked myself. Anyway after my business at the Forex shop, I quickly went to meet Ola and asked what was up. He said he had inquired about having a couple suits sewn and had be given a price that was too good to be true. I instantly selected 3 different suit materials, and had myself measured up for them.

There is so much to see in Bangalore. The best way of moving about in this city depends on the time of the day. I personally think that the best time to explore the city is in the morning, between the hours of 8 am and 11 am. Almost all the shops do not open until 10am or 10.30am in the morning. From 10am onwards, the city turns into a “war zone”. The amount of traffic that suddenly builds up within that short space of time is unbelievable. You suddenly find people everywhere, cars honking their horns and bicycles telling you to get out the way with their bicycle bells.

After about 3 weeks, Ola and I asked Meenu if she could arrange an elephant ride for us. She confirmed that it wouldn’t be a problem and we fixed a date for our trip. So early Saturday morning, Meenu, Meetul, Ola and I, drove to Bangalore National Park. The drive was about an hour, and took us through that part of the city where a lot of multinational IT firms had their offices. The architecture of these offices is amazing. Accenture has a Helipad on the top of the building. Oracle, Microsoft and IBM have impressive offices too.

 

On our way to the National Park, we got a running commentary from Meetul which helped a lot. The architecture of the buildings in Bangalore is very impressive. One reason I got for the presence of all these multinational IT companies in Bangalore was due to the massive tax breaks the Indian government have given to these companies. Well we got to the national park around 11 am and bought our tickets for our “safari” ride. I didn’t know what to expect. Were these animals going to be caged up or would they be wondering around in the forest reserve. Patience, I said to myself, patience. It didn’t take long for our bus to arrive. We all climbed in at it soon took of on our journey. After about 30 minutes of driving, we suddenly came upon some antelopes grazing. It was difficult to get any good pictures of them from where I was sitting. Also with the presence of safety netting around the bus, it was easy to take a picture without have the wire mesh in your view. I suppose there wasn’t much that could be done about it, and we had to put up with it. As we navigated our way further into the national park, we came across bears, white tigers, tigers, some more antelopes and lions. The white tigers were absolutely beautiful.

Now the best part of the day at the national park was the elephant ride. I was a bit apprehensive about the ride, but my strong spirit got the best of my fears. The ride lasted about 20 minutes. Four people climbed into a sitting area that had been adapted onto the back of the elephant, and we were taken on a short trip.

As you gents and ladies know, where ever one goes, there is always something funny at the location where you are. For me, it was these bizarre signs that I came across. Personally I think you have to be in Bangalore to appreciate the funny side of things; especially the road signs. Here are a couple of street signs I took pictures of.

And who said you had to be in Paris to enjoy your clothes shopping. The shops are absolutely amazing. You can get anything from your “made in India” stuff to all the locally made goods. I suppose there was nothing that couldn’t be found in the shops of Bangalore. Ola couldn’t resist the urge to buy as many linen shirts as he could. Being an expert in linen shirts, he persuaded me to get a couple myself. “you cannot beat these prices in the UK he said. Why wait”. And he was right to. I got two linen shirts straight away.

The Indians has a very acute eye for fashion, but obviously its not everyone who can afford these nice clothes that are displayed in the shops. For the tourist or foreign employee from another country, there is no reason why you should not invest some money in these quality clothing.

One cannot go to Bangalore and come back without making mention of the food. What didn’t we have? We sampled as much Indian food as we could. Personally I couldn’t keep track of their names. I would say that between Ola and I we would spend about £8 on an evening meal. This included a maximum of 2 bottles of beer each [yes Kingfisher brand too] and tips.

We mostly skipped breakfast and would have a light snack in the middle of the day. Our main meals were in the evenings, and they were mostly Indian meals [why not?]. Well below I have some pictures of typical meal we would have in the evening. The restaurant we mostly ate in was called Sea Shells. The food there is absolutely fantastic. To be honest, there were some crappy places that we went to eat in. but on the whole the majority of them were very good.



There was no end to the number of friends we were making each week. The chap in the above picture is called Richard and he currently lives in Malaysia. I think he lives out there permanently. Well I hope so, because I am planning of going out there for a visit one of these days.

Breakfast at the Maya Hotel is nothing to get all excited about. However they do try to give you a good morning’s breakfast. Of course, you have the option of having your breakfast in your room, but I personally made it habit of going up the hotel restaurant to have my breakfast. During our stay there, we had breakfast only on a few occasions.

An experience worth noting was when I asked Ramud to take me to the local barber for a simple hair cut. My initial attempts to illustrate to the barber how I wanted my cut proved futile. So out of desperation, I opted for the shaved look. I will never forget this. After shaving my hair, the barber proceeded to oil my scalp with ointment which I assumed was local. The feeling felt very good, and I said to myself, at least I will be getting my money’s worth. Then all of a sudden he started beating my scalp with the tips of his fingers. It wasn’t painful, but his sudden action threw me completely. After that came the back massage. I had to lift my T Shirt up and bend over forwards. Some more ointment was applied to my back, and he then started giving a one good back massage. This cannot be bad at all. I came for a haircut, and I was getting the full treatment. I felt like a completely new person after he had finished. All this, for about £2.

Well a trip to Bangalore wouldn’t be a trip if one didn’t make mention of the traffic there. OMG…its absolutely mayhem. Yes, there are traffic lights but even that is completely different to what I am used to. The lights don’t change from red to amber then finally to green. When the lights are red, a timer starts counting down from 100 to 0. When it hits 0 then it switches to green and all hell breaks loose. As for using the zebra crossing, forget it. You really have to watch out when crossing the road on a zebra crossing. A car will not slow down or even stop for you the pedestrian on a zebra crossing. And oh there are the street signs, absolutely hilarious. Here are a few.


Well that’s it for now. There are loads to tell about my trip to Bangalore. I even have news for you about our weekend trip to Cochin. I promise to blog that too soon.

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