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A third day in Chennai - Peter Hentges

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March 18th, 2005


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01:33 am - A third day in Chennai
Thursday was a full day of work. Up at about 9:00 a.m., breakfast about 10:30 a.m. and into the office by about 11:00 a.m. Discovered that another one of the forbidden items in the office is a camera; should have guessed that. I guess I can get special permission to bring it in with me and I should do that a few days that I'm here so I can take photos of the people I'm working with.

It seems that every time I turn around someone is offering me coffee and/or tea. I don't normally drink caffiene of any form so I have been politely declining. It's easy to do that in a restaurant and once in a while at work. Today, though, I think they thought I was lonely because there wasn't a lot of work to be done and someone dragged me off to tea. Very good tea, mind you, steeped in hot milk instead of water and so smooth and sweet. I'm not sure how I'll handle the caffiene, though.

In the couple of days here I've already noticed some things that are done here that are obvoiusly more efficient that what we do back home. I talked to one of the management team that's in charge of this venture about it today and she seemed like a proud mom, her "kids" doing so well that it's so easy to notice. I think that there will be some resistance to change back in St. Paul (there's always resistance to change), but I hope that the hassle of making the change is less than the advantage of making changes. I'm bouncing ideas off some trusted folks back in St. Paul by email so I hope to have the most painless way to possible to introduce the idea by the time I get back.

Dinner tonight was in "Aqua," the restaurant on the 8th floor of my hotel. (Yes, I still haven't been out of the hotel except to go to work. I'll get there, I promise, it's just been so late by the time I can go out that it doesn't make sense.) I had saffron couscous that had a few layers of crisp phyllo on top of it to hold a baked fish (bekti) on top of that. The fish was covered in a loose layer of breadcrumbs and an herb that might have been dill and baked just until the the coating was toasted. It was served with a red curry that was mostly sweeth with just a hint of savory to it. With this, I had the Kalyani Black Label beer, another Indian lager that was bright, crisp and refreshing. I'm working my way down the list and hope I'll find something to my liking that I can my my standard. I'm told that imported liquors are levied an 80% tax. That explaines the 1270 rupees I spent on a single malt at The Leather Bar after dinner. (My small way of celebrating St. Patrick's Day, so far from home and/or Ireland.)

The Leather Bar, I'm sorry to say, is named not for its clientele, but for its decor. They have leather seating and the place is dark and moody. I met a couple of nice Danish students, however, as well as an English businessman. We had some nice chat before the staff kicked us out. I think that lsanderson and drewan would appreciate the staff: fit, dark Indian men in black jeans, tight black t-shirts and, the only homage to the American connotation of the name of the bar, black, studded leather belts.

So now I'm back in the room, about to buy another hour of online time and paste this latest update into LiveJournal. Still no photos to share. Soon, I promise.
Current Mood: calmcalm

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