When I finally got to my room, I slept until 11am. Not having slept on the plane, when my head hit the pillow, there was no waking me up. The bed was very comfortable, and the pillows were nice and soft. I am glad I got a wake up call, otherwise I would have had problems.
Laurent, Jerry and I planned on having brunch together. We met up at the restaurant at 11:30am. They didn’t start serving until 12:30pm, so we spent an hour catching up, relaxing, and drinking the fresh fruit drinks. At 12:30pm We were all starving. We hadn’t eaten for what felt like days. Brunch was great! There was fresh fruit, lots of vegetarian dishes, pasta salads, breads, salads, and lots of non-vegetarian dishes too.
One of the things that Laurent noticed was that the culture in India is one of service. Everyone opened doors for us, the gates to the hotel were opened manually, they walked us to our room, at the airport there were employees who walked us everywhere… Later, I found out there is an expression in Sanskrit, “Athiti devo bhava”, which means Guest is God. This is a tradition in India that honoring your guest is like honoring God. Hospitality is extremely important in this culture. This explains a lot.
After lunch, I went back to the room and worked some on the slides for Monday. Laurent and I got together at 4pm and reviewed. We did the last bit of organization, and called the deck done. I am really excited about doing the presentation. We have lots of great information, and I think it is mostly new to the team.
Laurent, Jerry and I met Raghu and Vasuki for dinner at the Northern Indian restaurant in the hotel, called Terracotta. I got to try the local beer, called Kingfisher. It was very good. Raghu did most of the ordering. The food was all fantastic. We had tandoori chicken and lamb shanks for appetizers, and both lamb and chicken biryani for the main course. All the food was absolutely wonderful. Raghu keeps teasing me that he is going to order very spicy food for me sometime this week. Raghu ordered two traditional desserts for us to try, rasmalai and kulfi. I was not a big fan of the rasgulla… the taste was fine, but the texture was spongy, and I didn’t take to it. The kulfi was a cold ice cream served in a small clay pot, and that was really great.
I am still adjusting to a vegetarian culture. It is very clear in their language that vegetarian is the dominant preference, because the word for those who eat meat is in the negative – “non-vegetarian”, or “non-veg”. In the United States, it is quite the opposite. It is assumed that you can eat meat, and has a special section of the menu for those who choose to eat vegetarian.
It is almost 11pm here. I am off to bed. We have a long day tomorrow, including our town hall presentations.
As we discussed in our last team meeting, your experience so far is 'as expected' :). If you want to get the real deal, step out to the crowded streets. Maybe in the last day, put on your adventurous hat — ask the guys to take you for street food favorites ;).