bangablog 3 – tech and not tech

Had a really good work day yesterday and got lots done. It was long though – left the hotel at 7:45am and got home at around 10:30pm. I had an interview from 7-8 in the evening, after which I went out for dinner with my counterpart here, who is a really good guy. We went to a place here in the Bangalore suburb of Whitefield, called Herbs and Spice. There’s another resaurant in Bangalore with the same name, serving European food, but I’m glad we went to this one. Herbs and Spice Whitefield was outstanding. It’s in a converted 19th century mansion, along a short driveway from the main road. It’s very peaceful and surrounded by greenery – flowers and palm trees – with a couple of ponds in the gardens. The house itself has beautiful wood carved doors, and lots of ornate features. The dining room is two storeys high with a balcony and iron chandeliers, and the floors are colored tiles. We ended up sitting outside – to get there we walked through a room with a patterned painted ceiling and kind of parquet flooring where the pieces are actually loosely placed wood blocks, I would guess for ventilation and to allow for expansion in damp weather. Food was very good. We started with toasted blocks of cheese curds containing mint relish and topped with roasted peppers, then had daal (lentils), a chicken dish with mint and melon seed sauce – lightly spiced and creamy with just a hint of melon – and a stir fry thing with onions, peppers and little pieces of cheese. Total bill was 500 rupees, about $11.

On the way there we went past the enormous International Tech Park Bangalore, or ITPL, which is next door to my office. It’s a gigantic complex, and is still expanding. After lunch yesterday a couple of the guys took me for a walk where we saw some of the construction. It’s such a contrast (as is so much here) – right next to these gleaming buildings there are roads with dust and potholes, and the laborers all around. Many of these workers were taking lunchtime breaks, lying on piles of sand and rubble while two or three were making food in pots over fires. They look like the opposite of your typical American builder who is broad and beefy, with hard hat, big boots etc – these guys are rake thin, wearing threadbare shirts, sarongs hitched up to their knees, sandals and loose turbans.

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