Incredible India

Last week I went to Bangalore, India for a training and I must say that India is incredible. Of course this is the tag line of a very well known advertisement, promoting tourism in India, but I found myself different reasons to say the above.

When I arrived at the BLR airport shortly after midnight, outside it was a long line of taxis. All of them were Renault Logan. I know this brand very well, it is also manufactured in Romania, under the Dacia Logan brand. Of course I took one of them. Being used to Romanian cars, I went on the right side, but surprise, they had the driver wheel on the right. I should have remembered that in India they drive on the left side of the road.

Next day it was Sunday, so I went on visiting the city. I was staying in Koramangala, east from the city center. I went on Hossur road through Cubbon park to see the Vidhana Soudha.

Stopped by the Forum mall to eat and found a library. I was impressed by the number of IT books available, it was like in a Barnes and Noble in US. I understand that IT books sold in India have subsidized prices to encourage study.

On the road I saw numerous signs advertising IT training. There were for everything, starting with CCNA, Microsoft MCITP, Oracle, etc. I have also seen at least three training and testing centers, which is a lot considering I have been walking only a few miles. 

Bangalore is considered the Silicon Valley of India. A lot of IT companies have offices here. I understood that the majority of them are located some 10 mile south-east from Bangalore in the Electronic City. The level of IT profficiency in Bangalore is very high, I had very good discussions at the training with the participants, many working as architects and consultants at multinational IT companies.

In the center of the city there is the Cubbon park and next to it is Vidhana Soudha, the administrative building of the Karnataka province government, easily recognizable by its architecture.

On the way back I went through Mahatma Gandhi Road (M.G. Road) and arrived at a park dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi.

The food is very tasty and flavoured. I tried to stay away from the spicy food. I highly reccommend Dum Biryani which is rice with flavours and chicken, lamb or shrimps meat.

I found Bangalore easy to approach as a foreigner. There are some rules to take care of, if you want to have a safe trip: choose your hotel carefully, drink only bottled water from trusty sources, don’t walk at night, choose restaurants carefully – rely on hotel staff for advice.

India is a country of extremes, you will see extreme poverty and richness. There are plenty of stores selling luxury items and electronics.

The Indian people are very warm and welcoming. They are very curious about foreigners, always offering for help. The wast majority of them speak English well.

An of course I cannot finish this post without speaking about cricket. This sport is very much unknown outside Commonwealth countries, but is a national sport in India.

On Wednesday it was the India-Pakistan semifinal in the Cricket World Cup 2011. The city stood still. Companies allowed employees to leave home early. People were standing in the street watching the match on the TV screens in the pubs or electronics stores. Cricket games are long, the match started in the afternoon at 14.30 and lasted until late 22.00 when I was at the airport. I was lucky to find a taxi to get there. India won the semi-final and was scheduled to play the final with Sri Lanka.

Later edit: India won the final, after 28 years. Last time it was on 1983. See the results here.

It was an incredible experience for me. Looking forward for the next one. Until then please see some pictures below.

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