Baby Steps

One of the first lessons you learn in Bangalore is how to cross the road. Now that may seem like a pretty trivial task, but when you have plenty of bikes, cars, and buses hurtling in your direction without stopping, you really do have to be pretty aware of what’s going on. The traffic is pretty much like a very noisy sea, with the honking of horns replacing the sounds of waves crashing.

Corssing the Road

Don’t even think that just because you happen to be standing at a zebra crossing or even a traffic light that cars will stop for you. The trick in India is to cross when there is a break in the traffic, and just go for it. Don’t let a single motorbike make you hesitate, as they will generally go around you. Don’t assume the same for the buses.

Also don’t forget to have a good chuckle as cars and bikes overtake the tractors pulling a truckload. It’s not as hard as it seems as long as you’re patient enough. The morning and evening traffic on Airport Road is notorious for being super busy all the time.

Eating in Bangalore

Well I’ve arrived and it’s been pretty much, eating, sleeping and lots of teaching. It’s great hanging out with all the students (from all our various offices) and even though we don’t seem to leave the complex that much, there’s still so much to do.

Eating out in India is very easy and is relatively cheap for what you can get. Here’s a list of some places that we’ve eaten at and a brief review about them:

  • Bombay Post – Located opposite the Diamond District in a complex that also hosts TGI Friday’s and IndiJoe. It’s a much more upscale Indian restaurant with a wide variety of dishes. I think it tends to focus on North Indian food though we had a plethora of dishes with plenty of rice, bread and various starters. I think between the 9 or 10 of us, it ended up being around INR6000 for both food and drink (Kingfisher beer)
  • BBQ Nation – I think there are several of these restaurants that specialise in serving grilled shish-kebab like foods at the table. Waiters place a charcoal grill into the middle of a table over which they continue to bring pre-grilled sticks of meat and vegetables to continue cooking at the table. They also bring around various curries, tandoor foods, bread and rice to the table in addition to a full buffet covering even more curries, salads, soup and bread. Also on offer is a dessert bar including combining traditional Indian and westernised desserts. I’m not sure how much this one is.
  • IndiJoe – A restaurant located in the complex containing TGI Friday’s and Bombay Post, serving continental food including tex mex, Chinese, Thai, mixed grills, pizza and pasta. A Two for one drink offer continues until about 8pm. Most meals average around INR600 in addition to drinks.
    Gregory’s – An English pub located in the Royal Orchard Hotel serving Chinese, Thai and a small amount of English food. This place tends to attract a more westernised and business crowd, including a couple of plasma screens showing European football. Meals average around INR400 with a pint (330mL) of beer starting at INR120.

Counting down the days to India… 5 more!

Despite being disappointed with the opportunity of heading to India at the start of this year, I knew that another opportunity would come around, even if I had to create it myself. Fortunately my work has been very accommodating and I will be leaving London for a few months and work out of one (or maybe even two) of our offices in India. The main office is based in Bangalore, one of the hubs often described as India’s silicon valley.

I’m very much looking forward to the very different culture, working in a new environment that will help me appreciate all the things here in London and help me appreciate a whole new life as well. I’m hoping to fit a little bit of travel in although I’m not sure how that’s going to fit in with the nature of the work I’ll be doing, requiring a pretty regular running schedule during the week.

I’ve got all the necessary items now – my passport’s got the visa, I have a plane ticket, my immunisations pretty much taken care of, and all the details of arrival all planned out. It’s going to be hectic as soon as I arrive, at the very early hours of 4:30am Sunday morning but I’m looking forward to the opportunity. See you all in a while!

Moving Out and Moving On!

The biggest news I have this week is that I’m going to be living in India for about 6 months starting from January. I’ll be taking on a new role with other instructors running training and induction classes for people that join Thoughtworks. I’m really looking forward to the experience and I have a lot of support from my work colleagues and sponsor. I hope the people I will be working with will be able to capitalise on all my experiences I’ve had working on the many projects I’ve been on, and I think I will be able to refine a lot of the techniques and approaches I use when coaching teams and pair programming with people. I will also get a huge kick of working with people that are genuinely interested in learning and sharing and like most projects I’ve been on they’ll no doubt be plenty of fun along the way.

It’s a big change for me once again after moving to the UK, but I do plan on returning to the UK after six months and going through the paces again to find another place to live in London. It’s an exciting time and though there’s plenty of stuff to fit into the week before Christmas, it’s going to be completely worth it.