Friday, 1997-06-20          Trip Report #11

The building next to the HP building is an older one.  You can see
holes underneath some of the windows, where a sledge hammer knocked
out part of the wall, so an air condition could be installed ... a
window model, but not going *through* the window.  The same building
has a LAN.  You can see the cable running from outside from one window,
around the building edge, and back into the next window.

Cricket is a popular sport here.  I spent some time a few days ago,
watching two British teams play each other.  I thought I'd reverse
engineered the basic rules and scoring.  Then ... last night I saw
the Test match between England and Australia (sort of a World Cup level
match).  Obviously ... I hadn't been watching *real* cricket.  The game
lasted a couple of days, not four or five hours.  I saw the final
result in the paper: England won by 9 wickets ... what? The earlier
game was decided by a simple numerical score difference.  I thought a
wicket was when the bowling team knocked the little wood bar off the
stumps.  Oh well ... I guess *I'm* stumped.

However ... the U.S. can rejoice: the papers here have reported that
Disney World is bringing cricket to the U.S!  Starting in 1998 (?),
there should be 9 international games played in Florida, at new
cricket grounds at Disneyworld.  It would be interesting to see how
some of our baseball players would do, after basic training.  I think
Deion Sanders would score a *lot* of runs.  The cricket running seemed 
less enthusiastic compared to baseball running.

Late this afternoon, I thought I might be spending a lot longer at
HP then I'd intended.  I'd gone into the lunch room to get a drink.
When I went to exit, I discovered that the door handle was broken, and
I couldn't get out.  Luckily, someone saw me waving through the window.

There are over 300 software companies in Bangalore, and about 100 to 200
(total) in the rest of India, according to this morning's paper. 
I met some other "tourists" today, who laughed when I said I was from
Cupertino ... they were from Milpitas and Fremont.  One said: of course,
you wouldn't be here because of software, would you?  They were from Apple.

I tried to confirm my return trip tickets today.  After being unable to
get through, I asked the secretary to try.  When she finally got through
to Air India (and, later, Singapore Air), both said their systems were
down all day.

Some towns have church bells that toll every hour, so you can mark
the passage of time.  Bangalore has power failures every two hours.
I got hit today at 8 AM (in the shower, but the hotel generator comes
on quickly), 2 PM (just finishing with lunch ... I paid with cash, because
their computer was down), 6 PM (in a shop, lights came on in about a minute).

I saw a listing of houses/apartments for rent ... about half of them
stated how much electric power was available (e.g., 90 Kv).

Most of India operates on the metric system ... so it caught me by surprise
when one paper described how to get to a particular temple: go to
bus top X, and walk a furlong down the road.  (The last time I saw a
furlong, I was trying to calculate furlongs per fortnight for a beginning
physics exam.)

Most shops don't have cash registers as such.  Instead, they use a PC with
some kind of software, and put the money in a separate location.  Sort of
skipping an entire generation or two of older technology!

Of course, computers aren't always used to their best advantage.  At
the government craft shop today, I wanted to buy something (which I
can't mention, as the recipient may or may not be on this list (actually,
she is on the list, but I'm trying to be coy :)).  They "rang it up" on
a PC, and printed a receipt for me.  Then, I went to the cashier window, 
gave him my slip & credit card ... wait, that's not quite right ...
I went to the cashier window, and a helper took my card & slip and 
handed them thru the window to the cashier (labor is cheap!).  
He manually typed in the information from my slips into another PC,
and gave me a new receipt.  Networking anyone?  Then, after paying with
a credit card, I took the new receipt over to the "delivery" window, 
and picked up my item.

Paying a bill via credit card in a restaurant takes much longer than
in the U.S (or Canada).  First, you wait for the bill.  Then, put the
credit card in with it.  Wait for it to be picked up.  (both of which
take somewhat longer than in the U.S)
Then, they'll bring back the bill with the imprinted credit card
slip, but *not* the credit card.  You sign the slip..and wait for the
bill & slip to be picked up.  Then, you wait for them to bring back the
credit card and your portion of the receipt.  At the receiving end,
the rule appears to be that you must have at least two people in a
conversation about your card/bill at each step.  Perhaps they're worried
that you'll skip without signing the slip.  But, you'd think that between
the time savings (increasing table turnover) and good will generated,
they'd be better off returning the card with the imprinted slip.

I ordered a pizza last night from Pizza Delight, for delivery at the hotel.
When it came, I got a call from the front desk asking if it was okay 
for it to be delivered to me.  Later that evening, when the butler 
turned down the bed, he chided me for not ordering it from him (but
still from the same restaurant!).

This morning, I cashed two US$50 American Express Travelers Cheques at
my hotel.  I'd forgotten to sign one when I'd bought them, but I had
signed the other.  So, I did the initial signing of the unsigned one
in the sight of the cashier.  Then, I signed both cheques on the
"sign here when cashing" line.  Now, in the best of times, I'm lucky to
sign my name the same way twice in a row.  In this case, the signed cheque was
several years old.  I didn't so much mind having to re-sign that one
twice, in an attempt to get a signature that matched the old one.  
But ...  the guy *saw* me sign the second traveler cheque both times!
He still insisted on another try at the signature.  Well, given everything
else here, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that the cheques get a
very close scrutiny when they're turned in to AmEx or the bank.

For once, I got brand new 100 rupee notes ... I'll try to save some,
because they have a "hidden" 100 mark on them.

Much of the paper money is far past being merely dirty ... filthy would
be closer.  I've got some I don't even want to touch!  On some bills,
you can't make out what denomination they are.  Luckily, the size
usually gives it away.  Unlike the U.S., they've got a rational system 
of bigger bills = more money, which is great for blind people.

I've just figured out that my trip home will take about 32 hours
from start to finish ... I'll leave the hotel about 1 AM for my
3:40 AM flight on Monday morning.  I'll arrive in San Francisco at 19:10
on Monday evening.  That's 18 hours + 13.5 hour time difference, or a
total of about 31.5 hours!  That includes a 6 1/2 hour layover in
Singapore, and (probably) an hour or so in Hong Kong.
OTOH, maybe I can delude myself that the Singapore -> San Francisco flight
is only 2 hours long.  I leave Singapore at 17:00, and arrive SF at 19:10 :)


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