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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

An update to answer some questions

We got some great questions so I thought I would dedicate this bog post to answering some of those questions.  Thank you for the great feedback!

What is the weather like in India?
India is a large country so the weather varies with the location like it does in the United States.  Bangalore is where we live and it is located in the south central part of India and the weather is quite moderate.  Right now the average temperature is 80 degrees during the day and 70 degrees at night.  During our 6 month stay the temperature will remain mostly the same and warm towards the end of our stay as the average high temperature in February is 86 degrees.  India gets monsoon rains which really soak the country and we are in monsoon season right now until the end of October.  Since we have been here we haven’t gotten any monsoon rains; just a sprinkle one day.  They say that the monsoon rains re-define getting wet as the rain can be so intense. It is very humid right now but that should change once the monsoon season ends. The locals are not used to the temperature variations we get in Kansas City so we have seen many people with stocking hats and jackets.  We’ve been comfortable in short sleeves and jeans though.

What do you eat?
This is a very timely question!  In the first 3 days we ate at restaurants around the hotel.  They have almost every food here except Mexican food.  We ate Pizza and Risotto at an Italian place, risotto and pasta at a Mediterranean place, at an Indian buffet, and at Subway (where a 6 inch sub, chips, and a soda cost $3.00).  We are staying in an apartment located within a hotel and the hotel has a great continental breakfast that includes typical Indian dishes, omelets, bagels, muffins, fruit, lettuce salad, baked beans, and a variety of freshly squeezed juice.  This morning’s juice selections were canned orange juice, (which tasted like it does at home), coconut water (they break open a coconut and the milky substance inside goes into the juice, watermelon juice, and beetroot juice.  Bryan says the beetroot juice tastes very “natural” (read: tastes like dirt) and I haven’t been brave enough to try it myself!

We had to wait for our driver to start so he could take us to a grocery store so we experienced grocery shopping last night.  It was an adventure, and I’ll post more about that some other time.  Locals eat a lot of rice-based dishes that include lentils (they are like beans) and other vegetables as the majority of the population are vegetarian.  The meat selection is much different in India than it is in the United States.  We got some chicken breast at the store but the eggs here (and a lot of places in the world) are not refrigerated.  Beef is hard to find and the beef in the store was the deepest purple color.  I think it was maybe buffalo?  We didn’t try any yet. 

I love to cook and will have to re-learn how as there are different products available here than at home.  Last night I “made” a meal that is similar to a TV dinner at home and it was not our favorite.  We bought an Indian cookbook and I’m going to learn to cook out of there.  Wish me luck!

What kind of work are you doing?
Bryan and I work for a health care IT company.  We are here for Bryan’s job.  He is a project manager and has a team of at least 10 people that live in India and are also project managers.  They make sure the project is in scope, people are getting their work done, and that the project is completed on time.  They also help to identify risks and communicate those risks or concerns with the “right” people.
I’m fortunate to work for the same company and to be able to do my job from India.  I work in the sales support department and help potential clients understand what our company can offer them.  Basically, I do a lot of writing and research.

What languages do you speak in India, and can you speak languages other than English?
There are many languages spoken in India as Hindi is the main language but there are more than 20 dialects spoken across the country.  English is the language used in most businesses and because there are so many Hindi dialects many Indians use English to communicate with one another if they do not speak the same dialect. There are a fair number of people here who also speak Arabic.  There are many international companies here in Bangalore including Dell, HP, Yahoo, and more so in our hotel we hear almost every language including French and British English.
Bryan and I both studied Spanish in High School and in College.  Unfortunately, we do not use it every day so we’ve forgotten some of it.

What religions do they follow in India?Most locals are Hindu but there are a good number of Muslim people as well.  There are some Christians here but they are the minority.  Last night when we were driving home from the grocery store there seemed to be some religious celebration going on that we think might have been a Christian one.  There were fireworks, people in the street singing and being reverent.  It was really cool to see.

What do people wear there? Do they wear dots on their foreheads?This is something I asked on the first day too as I wanted to make sure that my clothing was appropriate and our relocation expert told me “anything goes in India.”  From what I’ve seen that seems to be true.  Some women cover their head and some don’t.  I am not sure what determines if they do or do not but if I figure that out I’ll let you know!  Men mostly wear dress pants or jeans and a polo or pressed shirt.  I've seen both men and women with the dot on their forehead.  The dots that people wear seem to be a fashion statement similar to piercing ones ears.  I think it used to mean that you were married but that is not always the case.  Women wear sarissalwar kameez, and sometimes burqa’s.

What is it like to drive there?
Driving here is crazy!  There are so many people and while they have driving lanes, traffic lights, and sidewalks they seem to be more a suggestion than a rule.  People use their horn to signal.  At home the horn is usually used if people are annoyed, but here it seems to be more to tell those drivers around them that they are changing lanes, in a blind spot, etc. Most if not all expatriates (foreign nationals living abroad) have a local driver.  Ours is NAMED. He has been married for 14 years and has a 13 year old son.  He works long hours and at least 6 days a week. We couldn’t navigate Bangalore without him!

Here is a good video of what traffic is like.   It gets worse than that, but our driver is very good and makes us feel safe.

What kind of animals are there?
Animals are everywhere in India!  There are a lot of cows in all of India, including roaming around Bangalore.  Many families have a cow and you often see them outside but I’ve heard they also go into some people’s homes.  Cows are sacred in Hindu and from what I can tell, are the only “safe” creatures on the roads!  There are also a lot of dogs that roam around and I’ve seen a lot of horses and donkeys that are used as a means of transportation.  Often times they are carrying produce like fruits and vegetables.

I'm sure we'll be posting more adventures to come!

1 comment:

  1. Very Interesting! I'm glad that you have a way to share all of your adventures! It was good to see you this morning! Love. Tara