Bangalore!

I came. I saw. I conquered.

Apologies for not writing more recently, one of my colleagues in Chennai was under fire for some public statements she made, which caused me to re-assess what I should be writing about. This post should be pretty tame.

Last week, my boss unexpectedly asked me if I would like to go with a group from Consulate Chennai down to Bangalore for a couple of days to tour some of the larger tech companies based there. Having never been to Bangalore before, I readily accepted the invitation. My friend Asha is from this city, and she constantly tells me that its a fun place to live. Jeremy had also briefed me on the highlights from his visit a month ago, so I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to see, namely, the Taco Bell. Bangalore is the only place in India where there are taco bells and I was badly craving some Mexican (if Tbell can be called that) food after nearly 9 months without any. After two days and a night of programmed activities, I ended my brief trip with an evening visit to Mantri Mall, the home of the first Taco Bell in India. The menu was mostly similar to the US menu, minus the beef, and it was delicious. I ordered so much that I put the leftovers in my carry-on and had them for lunch in Hyderabad the next day. Before you go on scorning me about visiting Bangalore and only seeing the Taco Bell, let me say that in my defense, Bangalore doesn’t really have much in the way of tourist attractions. With the rise of the IT industry, the city only relatively recently took its place as one of the prominent Indian cities. The city seems to have been chosen as the next IT hotspot more for its great location rather than its historical or cultural significance (like Silicon Valley). Somehow, Bangalore has one of the most temperate climates in India, all year long. The people seem very metropolitan and westernized, similar to the people in Mumbai. The city is also famous for having a strong restaurant culture with a wide variety of top-notch restaurants. Despite not being a tourist-minded city, I haven’t ruled out a return trip with some local friends should they want to show me some of the local eateries (aside from Taco Bell).

One thing that isn’t so great about Bangalore, the traffic. It seems like the roads are a little bit too narrow, and that the city (to an extent greater than the other large cities in India) was not meant to hold so many people. The amount of time you spend stuck in traffic on even the most routine trip is unbearable. It didn’t help that our bus’s AC died and the toilet went on strike. Thankfully I had met most of the folks from Chennai on my previous temporary duty trip and they knew me already, because sweating on the bus stuck in traffic doesn’t make for the best first impressions. Sadly, I didn’t bring my camera so there are no pictures of Bangalore to post up, not that I saw anything too photo-worthy.

One last thing that I thought was funny, at the dinner that AmCham hosted for us and the business community, I picked up on a negative vibe from the businessmen whenever I said I came from Hyderabad. As it turns out, I think Bangalore and Hyderabad were the two finalists when the State Department was considering where to build a new consulate in India. Hyderabad won, which left the Bangalorians with a bit of a sour taste in their mouths. If only Taco Bell thought along similar lines as the State Department did…

Expect a couple more posts this week, as I just finished my week long vacation and have a fresh stock of experiences to write about.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Sunita Annavarapu on September 5, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Indeed, when I visited B’lore some years ago for a conference, I got in 30 minutes late after being stuck in the traffic. I could have simply walked the distance in half that time from our hotel! Hyderabad seemed a much better place despite the lack of greenery !

    Reply

  2. Posted by Andrea on September 5, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    I’ve missed your entries, Andrew. I’ll take tame over nothing any day. Andrea

    Reply

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