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Sunday, April 23, 2006

From the future

If you guessed India, you're right (go Luis!!). If you guessed Mumbai, India, you're even more right. Actually, it's Bombay, but for some reason everyone now calls it Mumbai. I don't know if the city is going through some identity crisis or something, but it seems to have two names. It's a huge city - third largest in the world according to some - located on the western coast of India. Something like 15 million plus people live here.

Anyway, why the hell am I in India you ask? Well, about 2 months ago I was asked if I would go visit some clients in Singapore and Taiwain - 1 week in each. That changed to Singapore and Mumbai. Then it changed again to just 1 week in Mumbai. I don't know exactly how to describe what I do (for Phreak and anyone else that cares), so I'll keep it short. I'm a business analyst working with developers to build systems that process financial trades for banks and other companies. So, here I am in India until this coming Saturday when I leave at 2:15 am to reverse the long (20 hours or so including 4 hour layover in London) journey I had on the way in.

Flying here, we went over the middle east. I think we flew over Iran, near Iraq, over Kuwait, UAE and the Arabian Sea. Unfortunately I didn't see much though because my plane seat was over the wing and it was pitch black dark out a lot of the way. Between the layover in London and the first few hours in the plane out of London, I guess I got around 8 hours of sunlight. Flying into Mumbai last night, we circled for about an hour because their main runway is undergoing work. It was quite strange because since their secondary runway has no taxi way, we landed, went to the end of the runway and then made a U-turn to go back up the runway to get to the gates. That's pretty much why we circled for so long because each plane had to do the same while the other planes waited for them to complete the U-turn and trek back up the runway. Strange.

We just took a walk around the streets near the hotel. It's around 8pm here. All I can say is chaos and contrasts. There are nice buildings, new buildings, old buildings, dilapidated buildings, nice cars, three-wheeled cars and trucks (will try to get some pics of these later in the week), really old really beat-up cars, people dressed traditionally, people dressed casually, people dressed up, smells of all different kinds, nice sidewalks, nice streets, broken up sidewalks, broken up streets. This city has it all and then some! Most of all, there are tons and tons of people everywhere. The traffic is also crazy. It took us about 10 minutes to cross one of the streets and it was literally like frogger waiting for a gap in the traffic to cross. Then, we, along with about 50 other Indians, ran, stopped, ran some more, finally making it across.

Here's a couple more photos. I need to run a few of the others through photoshop though as they came out a little dark. Many also have some 'spots' on them like the one below. I'm thinking this is pollution or dust in the air that we can't see but the flash and camera pickup. It's not the camera lense. I'll have to see if there's something I can do about that.

Also stay tuned for some video of some TV from here. I have one which I need to upload to google video then link back to it here. Also there's a station I've started to call the Happy People Commercial Station. I'll get some video of that later this week and post it. Most of the time when I flip to it, it shows commercials that have all these happy Indian people jumping around, smiling, laughing and doing crazy things!