This was it, there’s no turning back — we landed in Bangalore a few minutes after midnight. It still wasn’t sinking in; I still felt that a few minutes from now, they would eventually find out something wrong with my visa or ticket and they’ll have to send me back. But by some miracle, I got through and was allowed to roam Bangalore for the next 6 days. It was official — the Indian adventure was to begin.
Sunil & Santosh were nice enough to wait for us to find our cab going to the hotel and we exchanged cards before leaving. The right-hand drive cars were at first disorienting. The trip going out of the airport parking lot alone gave us our first taste of Indian traffic. It turned out that the new airport was VERY far away from our hotel — 33 kilometers in fact. It felt like we landed in Subic and had to go back to the metro. We finally arrived, and Sunil was right; the Windsor hotel treat us like royalty. Once we got to our room, it only took a few minutes for me to (literally) sink into the soft linens and doze off to sleep.
We woke up just a few hours later, bathed, dressed up and hurried off to the buffet breakfast downstairs. It was sheer heaven — Danish pastries, lassi, fresh fruits, omelets — it could seriously turn me into a breakfast person! Alas, we only had a few minutes for breakfast since we had to hurry off to the office, which was another 40+ km away! I now know how Alwin feels when he shuttles back and forth from Batangas and Ortigas. There was also construction going on on the main highway, so traffic was really bad. But I almost didn’t notice, as I tried to take in the sights of this totally awesome and distinct culture. The majestic Parliament building, the High Court & Cuppan Park were the first landmarks to greet these thirsty tourists. I gaped as girls in colorful and elaborate saris braved the streets in ease as if wearing jeans. I also got to see my first cow and eagle(!) in the middle of the city.
Finally, we reached the HP Surya Park Labs in Electronic City. Apparently, in the Electronic City alone, there were 3 HP offices. HP has 18,000 employees in Bangalore in total… and I thought we were packed in Manila. I felt as if I’ve left my senses somewhere else — I didn’t know how to open their doors, we couldn’t find our contact, we had to ask everyone for access, and I struggled to get my laptop’s internet to work. To cap that off, Lorena & I didn’t have any rupees with us yet, since Lorena’s AMEX card only works with selected banks, banks of which we have no idea where to find. The first hours of that day was just so damn frustrating — utter bewilderment, I tell you — that I was really beginning to miss our Ortigas office. I now felt how it was to be at the other side — I thought of all those visitors from Warsaw, China & India who flew in to our Manila office.
Fortunately, things looked up at the latter part of the day. Lorena & I finally got to spot an HDFC bank after a long walk. Ajith, one of our training classmates, was also nice enough to give us a ride to the HP Main Office after class; he also worked with the Travel Desk to arrange a cab service to shuttle us to and fro our hotel for the next 5 days. What can I say, some of God’s angels must be in HP. =) At the end of the day, when we got back to the hotel, we had leftover pizza for dinner (yeah, we played safe). The day must have been more draining than I thought — I just laid for a few minutes in bed and dozed off in my work clothes.