I have been telling people that you don’t find a single person walking on the road. This was taken at 6 in the evening on Wednesday on the Louis Pasteur drive. The road is full of hospitals and medical center. Nothing else. Not even people
Have a great weekend folks!
The interiors at the restaurant I went to are exactly like Main street in Chennai. Except its all straight from Mexico City rather than London. All San Antonio has are restaurants and malls. I haven’t seen a single book store! Maybe Texans prefer doing all their book shopping online. Or maybe they just don’t read.
I just love the people here. Everybody is so polite and nice! The bus driver who asks you how his town is treating you. The lady at the bus stop who gives you the broadest smile and tells you to have a great day. The man who lets you use his mobile phone to find out bus timings. Its just endless. And its just so easy to approach a stranger here. The only exceptions being Indians and Chinese (or maybe East Asians). I guess it has a lot to do with the pace of the town. I don’t think the competition here is as cut throat as say New York and people definitely seem very laidback (atleast when compared to Chennai!)
And I love how people follow traffic regulations. It may be 2 AM in the morning but people stop at signals. No lane violations. No unnecessary honking. No traffic cops to enforce rules. I guess Indians are more competitive, we just want to get ahead in everything that we do. And at whatever cost! Also, Indian traffic is governed by a different set of rules!
One of the first things that strikes you when you drive (or walk) on the streets of San Antonio is that there are no people around. There are NO people on the roads. For once, I am not guilty of exaggeration. You see 100s of cars but not a single person walking! People take the car even if their destination is just a 5 minute walk. And this is not just during office hours. The only exercise people is get is the walk to the car.
And every second car is a bloody truck, with spectacularly poor emission characteristics. It gets worse, Toyota has just finished their first plant in the U.S. on the outskirts of San Antonio. And will the plant be rolling out? More trucks! Apparently, Al Gore’s message hasn’t reached Texas yet.
You cannot get around the city without a car. The bus service is non-existent (not the case with the other big cities in the U.S.) but luckily for me I have some great friends and a nice boss to drive me around.
Hot Real Estate Market:
The interesting thing about the city is that its witnessing massive expansion and the housing market is expected to top the nation this year. This has been fueled by industry growth (especially services) driven by cheap land and prices. And unlike Bangalore (or even Chennai) the government has been doing its best to build the city infrastructure as well. Everywhere you look there is construction- new flyovers, widening of roads and new buildings . My friend tells me that a lot of people are moving here from places like California, I don’t know if this is true but it certainly seems like it.
San Antonio is a great city for desis (unless you happen to be a fan of life in the big city). The weather is good, the standard of living is great, things are not as expensive as say California, software jobs are opening up, and there are dozens of Indian restaurants. Also, San Antonio is close to other big cities such as Houston, Austin, and Dallas.
Its 5:00 PM on Friday and my office is empty! Now, I am off. Have a great weekend folks! Will update sometime during the weekend.
There are many great things about the U.S. Just yesterday, I went to the San Antonio public library and borrowed 5 cds and a book. How much did I pay for it? Nothing. Zero. Zilch.
In case you are interested- the cds were Goodfellas, Paradise Now (a must watch!), Talk to Her, La Strada and some episodes of Seinfeld and the book- 31 songs or Songbook by Nick Hornby 🙂
I cannot believe I just got off a limousine. Unbelievably cool! This is one thing I can chalk off from my list of things to do before I die. What happened is this; the taxi service company didn’t have any other cars to spare and decided to send the limo instead!
My chauffer for the ride was a Pakistani-Canadian. He has been living in Canada for 10 years and decided to settle down in Toronto for the sake of his sons. He got all excited when I told him I was from Chennai; apparently he has a great love for masala dosas.
Anyway, I didn’t enjoy my stay in Toronto too much, apart from the presentation and the ride. The weather is too cold and I hardly got to do anything. Didn’t get to see Niagara Falls, spent very little time in downtown Toronto and also didn’t get to go to Hard Rock Café.
I like the city though, very cosmopolitan and the people are very friendly! That will be the subject of a later post. As for now, I am just thrilled!
PS: I didn’t take that snap but it was the same model.
Well, Niagara falls didn’t happen. Feel miserable. Thanks to the dumb (but rather hot) receptionist here, I got a bus to the wrong station! Where I found out that I had to get to the other side of town to where all buses to Niagara leave! Didn’t want to risk a fever so early in my trip so decided to just chuck the trip. Went downtown instead. But again it was raining and I got so cold and miserable that I just decided to get back to the hotel. I don’t know how people work in this weather. Doing anything seems to be such an effort. Unless you are indoors.
Its 4 AM in the morning in Toronto and I am wide awake. Definitely still on Indian time and surprisingly there are not too many people online. Guess its the weekend thing, nobody logs on to chat from home, right? Hopefully, this blog will last 3 or 4 months, right now I am optimistic cause I have a lot to write about 🙂
I am leaving for Niagra falls in about 3 hours, I want to leave really early and make sure I have ample time to take in the entire experience. For the first time, I really wish I had a nice camera, the camera on my cell phone isn’t good enough. ( doesn’t mean I am going to dump Louise, no way!)
Toronto is a nice city. The locals keep telling me that I have come here at exactly the right time. Winter is over and spring here and that the weather is great. And the temperature today was 5 C ! Okay, enough about the weather.
Chennai to Newark:
Rather uneventful, kept thinking how was I going to be missing people back home and how a lot of colleagues would have quit work by the time I got back to the Chennai office. And I got to watch Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna on the flight, who would have thought. Well, and Hera Pheri too. But I sat through (most) of it. And thankfully it was an edited version, probably just an hour and a half.
There were so many old people on the flight. Atleast 60 percent must have been over 60. And one old couple literally abused a young air hostess. They wanted milk for their infant grandson and I swear the girl checked the temperature on the old woman’s wrist. Apparently, the kid thought the milk was too hot and he ended up crying up for one hour. What followed was crazy, they abused the girl saying she wouldn’t know all this cause she didn’t have any kids of her own. Amazing the way she held her composure. But the head air hostess lost hers and gave it right back to the old man waking up everybody in the process!Who says middle aged women don’t make good air hostesses!
Newark Airport is huge! It took me 40 minutes to walk from one terminal to the next.
Newark to Toronto
I got here on Wednesday night. And got here in the worst plane ever, a Continental flight which was so small that I had to slouch to walk! Spent the one hour talking to a hot shot Indian investment banker who graduated from Colombia. Not too sure whether he was all that successful cause he wouldn’t have been flying Continental! And trust me, one reason to do well in life is so that you get to travel business class. Economy class sucks! For anybody who is interested, thats the plane
Toronto Airport- A big let down!
No wireless connection. Not one pay phone that worked! And when you found one that worked, you were charged 4$ a minute to call the US. What the fuck! That doesn’t make sense which ever way you look at it. Bloody rip off.
So thats where I am staying, cozy little budget and at any point of time there are just three people who are handling 50+ rooms! So thats where I am right now. And I will be here for another two days. I have so much more to write about but this will do for a start.
Its 9 AM and I still haven’t left. Raining. F***.