Wednesday, July 20, 2005

High-tech in your face ...

Bangalore has a reputation as India's Silicon Valley, or technology capital. The rep is well-deserved ... and it smacks you right in the eyes when you spend a little time here.

Following are some pictures I've taken in my travels around Bangalore.

Yahoo!'s building on M.G. Road, arguably Bangalore's Fifth Avenue (The M.G. stands for Mahatma Gandhi, but everyone calls it M.G.). About five minutes from where I live. Posted by Picasa

Network gear maker Cisco Systems' building, about five minutes' walk from where I live. Note the computer chip motif (or is it supposed to be a network?) in the marquee over the steps. Posted by Picasa

National Semiconductor's building, opposite my apartment complex, which is reflected in the mirrored glass. Posted by Picasa

A "self-portrait" on the balcony of our apartment. The building opposite contain's National Semiconductor's offices. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Not again ...

In early August 2001, my family and I moved to London from New York -- the city where I was born, the city where I had spent most of my life.

Sept. 11 was about a month later. We watched and listened in horror to the events of that day, worried sick about friends and colleagues who might have been at or near the World Trade Center that day. As it turned out, we were very lucky because no one we knew directly was killed or hurt in the Twin Towers attack. But we knew several people who did lose friends or colleagues.

Now, having moved to Bangalore, it's happened again. Last week, when bombs were going off in London's Tube and on a bus, I found myself once more worrying whether friends and co-workers were safe or had been among the unlucky dead. I shot off rapid e-mails to Londoners I knew, asking all the same thing: "Are you OK?"

Once again, it appears that my luck regarding the safety of those I care most about has held up. No one I know died. Again, there's an indirect connection -- a good friend knows someone who was injured in one of the Tube blasts. And, friends or friends of friends had lucky escapes. But no one I know died. And for that I am very, very grateful.

Many of us in London had been braced for an attack of some kind in the years following Sept. 11. They close Tube stations regularly for security alerts, even before 2001. And, in the first months after 9/11, your stomach would clutch when you saw an airplane that looked like it might hit a tall building.

Diane and I still feel "survivor guilt" about not having living through the events of Sept. 11 and afterward that our frieinds and family endured. And, whenever I go home to New York and I see a hole in the skyline where the Twin Towers once stood, it feels like remembering the death of an old friend. You feel like you've lost something you can never quite get back.

I know it won't be like that when I stop in London later this month on the way back to New York for home leave. But I know London will now feel different, too.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Quailing at the grocery store ...

Another case of living-abroad differences smacking you in the face:

Recently, while shopping at Nilgiri's, a chain of groceries that caters to locals and expats alike and has ordinary items as well as luxury ones, I chanced upon a small box of a dozen ...

Quail eggs.

For 20 rupees, roughly equivalent to 50 cents U.S.

Even by local standards, this is not a huge amount of money (It costs me a little more to go to work by auto-rickshaw).

I've always thought of quail eggs as a luxury item, but I've been happily eating them since (Hint: They taste better boiled than scrambled, unless someone knows a spice I should be adding other than pepper).