Trip Start Dec 29, 2005
Trip End Aug 20, 2006

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Flag of India  ,
Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Visual -- Ferry ride from Phuket to Krebi, Thailand, with a perfect breeze and morning sun on my face, beautiful islands slowing passing by, and great music in the headphones:

From the minute we arrived at the old, rundown Bangalore airport, it was obvious India was by far the most undeveloped country on this trip. In stark contrast to Shanghai and Singapore, the infrastructure is far lacking, though the knowledge power is here in concentrated areas. After driving through 2nd and 3rd world neighborhoods, we would find a hidden oasis where a high-tech company had set up research facilities on well-groomed land. Most of what I saw in Bangalore was exactly the conditions in the better Iraqi cities - except with newer cars and oases. Apparently, there has been huge advancements in Bangalore in the past few years since it's the main Indian technology hub. On a trip to the countryside, we saw large projects underway such as freeways.

The streets were utter chaos, covered mainly with motorcycles and three-wheel taxis called tooktooks. If there is a square foot of space, someone rushes into it. Lanes mean nothing. For how small the streets are, there was a good amount of traffic flow with all the small vehicles dodging in and out. Constant honking of the horn allows everyone around to know where you are and where you're going. The exhaust on the streets was overwhelming, though. Transport trucks and cows were very decorative, with all types of painted designs and ribbons. Buddhist, Hindu, Hare Krishna, Sikh, and Christian temples and churches were frequent sites, which we visited when possible. In Mysore we saw the Maharaja Palace briefly at night.

The companies we visited were extremely impressive. The mindset of the organizations we did go to was very future and society-oriented. I can definitely see why the Indian services sector is hard to compete with. We also visited a T-bird's family company which makes circuit boards and incense - quite a combo. Everyone spoke of the frustrating difficulties inherent to a fledgling democracy with a mostly uneducated populace and numerous bickering political parties, which is why they say it's more difficult for them to catch China economically. But, Indians are very proud of the freedoms they enjoy, which you could hardly believe all of what's legal.

On the last nights of the official Winterim, we ate some great Afghan food in a restaurant meant to look like a cave. Hookahs were in order next door and a couple guys bravely participated in a tooktook race returning to the hotel.

Wow, I took a lot of pics. There are plenty more than what are posted too!

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