An update on India

It’s been just over a week since I arrived here in India and it’s been an experience. I’ve particularly enjoyed how friendly everyone has been all around the country. Like many countries outside the US, you need to be a little more assertive than in the States, which puts me out of my comfort zone — but it’s something I’ve been working on. This is particularly true when you’re “waiting in line” or trying to navigate public spaces. With 1.3 billion people in the country, you need to be a little more aggressive to get where you want to go — whether you’re driving or walking.

Taj Mahal

We’ve been working long days, but it’s been quite enjoyable. Our teams are great that we’ve been working with and I’m very impressed with how the project has been going thus far. One of the biggest challenges has been the hours that we’ve been working. We’ve been getting up in the morning to discuss the plan for the day, go to the gym or the pool for a bit, and then head into the office for 4pm. We do a few hours of training followed by several hours working on the floor with the teams to help them out and learn how to handle tickets from the sales teams until 2am or so.

The food has been good. I’ve had a few bouts of discomfort due to my acid reflux, but I’ve managed to work through it. I also started trying to figure out Cricket. It started as a way to put myself to sleep, because I had no idea what was going on, it allowed me to have something on the television that I had no interest in — but then it turned into a bit of a puzzle. I’ve slowly been figuring out the rules each day and I’ve got a pretty good understanding of the sport. Baseball is still much more exciting, but it’s interesting.

We finished up our shift on Friday and got a 6am flight to Delhi on Saturday morning. From the Delhi airport, we got a car to take us up to Agra, the small town where the Taj Mahal is located — about 3.5 hours north of Delhi. Unbeknownst to use, the driver we hired happened to know a tour guide in Agra, so we found ourselves pulling over on the side of the road only to pick up this well-spoken Indian guide that helped us navigate the monument.

The Taj was amazing. The entire structure is made out of pure marble and the work that went into it just blew my mind.  The grounds were beautiful and the structure itself was breathtaking. I started playing around with the new “Photosphere” feature on Android 4.2.2, so be sure to check out the 360′ Photosphere Picture that I created of the Taj Mahal grounds.

After the Taj, our guide recommended a place for lunch where I was able to witness a real, live snake charmer. I was very torn between wanting to stay to watch him and run away.

We made it back to Delhi around 8pm and witnessed a lot of very very poor neighborhoods of the city. Delhi is home to 17 million people and it’s very apparent. One fact that we quoted frequently throughout the weekend was that the traffic in Delhi is the equivalent of the population of Sweden. Insane.

On Sunday we had most of the day to do some touristy things before we had to head to the airport. We ended up getting a car for the day and having someone from the hotel drive us around to show us the city and some of the sights. These included the Red Fort, the Lotus Temple and the Qulib Minar (a monument to the oldest Mosque in Delhi). Click the links for 360′ photospheres of each.

The weekend really gave some perspective to India — allowing me to see the differences between a city which has developed as part of the technology boom and one that is hugely over-populated. I saw several things that were quite shocking throughout the week, but I also saw some very beautiful monuments and met some very nice people. So far, I’ve been enjoying the trip, but I’ll also be very glad to head home later this week.




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