First timer’s experiences

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I was hoping thatht I would be writing this from a nice warm hotel room in Austin. But looks like that aint never gonna happen…coz today as soon as i reach the hotel i GOT to sleep

Sleep is a luxury ive not really had thanks to having to travel almost on a daily basis…Last 4 days I’ve been to almost 7 different airports in 3 countries, and 4 states within the US. I’m starting to feel like Tom hanks in that movie where he starts living in an airport…Which isnt too bad if you’re in US. Coz its warm and insulated, got free internet, has hundreds of shops selling pretty much everything, has large empty seats to sleep on, and has clean bathrooms every 10 meters…. what more can you ask for !

The reason I’m writing this from an airport and not from the hotel, is due to an overbooking done by united airlines….which has left me and many others being unable to get onto the flights. But anyway, I met another Oracle employee who was also stuck – and we struck up a deal so that the airlines fly us both (First class of course) to the nearest airport, and give us enuf money to rent out cars to drive to Austin. heh..So this is officially gonna be my first road trip in the US !

Many things I’ve learnt over the first 4 days in US, and the journey getting there

1) air india sucks…the in flight food is great, and the journey is comfortable and everything, but they have absolutely no sense of time. There were flight delays at every transit in the journey, adding hours to the final destination time – ultimately leading to hundreds of people missing their connecting flights and getting stranded till the next day to catch a flight home.

2) Global warming aint a joke …. look at the temperatures in USA. Places like chicago, which arent really known for freez temperatures are now at temperatures close to -18 F ! Unfortunately, thanks to Air india I had the first hand experience of what COLD meant. The "COLD"s of Bangalore, Mangalore are like red hot ovens compared to this ! Thankfully I had some warm clothes coz i was on transit to a cold place, but there were many from india – some with babies – who had no reason to pack warm clothes since they were on transit to a warm place. But all these people were stuck in that freezing cold. AIR INDIA SUCKS

3) Indians tend to identify, help and group up outside india ! This is a very strange outcome of being in a larger reality. Apparently its only inside the country that we cant stand each other. When stranded in Chicago, many of us "singles" who didnt have families to look after the luggage when running around air india people to reschedule tickets grouped up – and formed "quasi families" where some stayed back and watched luggage while the rest booked tickets for everyone.

4) Accents change – couple of days here, and already my accent is changing. But strangely enuf, whenever I talk to indians here, the good old bangalorean accent comes back. Which is good, coz i dont want to be one of "those" people who speak with heavy accents only to be looked at as "show off"s or "wannabe’s" by the educated crowd.

5) NEVER convert dollars to rupees, or you’ll starve to death and live like a beggar….Coz even so much as a coffee comes at lke 2 dollars, which becomes a good 80 bucks…hotel rooms cost anywhere from 50 to 100 dollars (even the cheap ones) which comes to a good 2000 to 4000 rupees. So with all that conversion it might seem like stuff is super expensive. But I’ve learnt to ignore that now. Coz with all that conversion calculations its impossible to survive here.

6) I Love US for the fact that its designed for supersize people…hehe. Everything in india is designed for the average indian who is thin. But here, the average american is large, so everything here is nice and cozy for me. The seats are bigger, the legroom is much more, the food is supersized, single beds are as big as double beds etc. And another thing, people dont look at me like i need to lose weight… LOL

7) People are generally very friendly here contrary to what people say. However the definition of friendly might not necessarily be what we would define in india. Friendly can mean giving the right useful information without actually doing the work. For instance, if you want to go somewhere instead of offering to actually drive you there they might give u the entire routemap of how to get there. The simple rule of life here is – do it yourself.

More to come…once…no, make that an IF…i reach the hotel

Author: Prakash Kanchan- USA


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