clearlakemike's wunderblog

The World is Flat?

By: clearlakemike, 12:41 AM GMT on March 24, 2006

Taj Mahal

This video is sort of funny, especially the first half of it. Call centers are popping up in India left and right and that is why I am about to find myself flying half way around the world, a world some claim is getting flatter.

The call centers are among the controversial issues currently in the globalization of the world economy.

Decided to read while I fly across this flat new world, The World is Flat, a book published last year about this trend in world economics. Not only are India and China’s workforce being revolutionized by this new cyber world but also workers in this country. As the author notes, some are now working with their counterparts half way around the world and with customers from their homes, in this country (US), while in their pajamas. I have talked to several young mothers who have found this a godsend.

Weatherunderground is definitely part of this globalization of information and community as we experience day to day viewing of photos and "conversing" with people all over the globe, almost as if they were just down the street. When I met Wanda in Florida for the first time last winter, I and Wanda felt like we already had known each other for awhile, in a sense. Perhaps, we did.


Pacific Paradise

By: clearlakemike, 7:52 AM GMT on March 15, 2006

I had the great pleasure of meeting wanderingtexgrrl today and we enjoyed an unexpectedly beautiful afternoon along the San Mateo Coast this afternoon.

The storm clouds parted and the sun shone on the beautiful blue sea, the green hills and yellow mustard fields. The fresh sea air was sweetened by the fragrant allysum growing wild by the sea.

The wanderingtexgrrl was a delightful companion on this little "joy ride" on Hwy One! We enjoyed the beautiful scenery and the great photo ops. wanderingtexgrrl's beautiful photo, Clear Day summed up the wunderful afternoon.

Updated: 2:12 AM GMT on March 23, 2006



By: clearlakemike, 10:43 PM GMT on March 12, 2006

I am going to take a week-days long break from all the excitement in Bangalore and fly over to the Goa beaches on the coast of the Arabian Sea in southern India. Goa was put on the map, so to speak, by the hippies in the late 60's. Now it is a popular tropical beach destination for English and Irish tourists. From what I can "see" so far it is a very "laid back" part of India and a beach resort area. There are also some attractions of historical significance in the area and of course, spectacular beaches.

India has its own version of Southwest Airlines now, Air Deccan. Flying from Bangalore to Goa costs about the same as flying from San Francisco to San Diego if you are getting one of SWA's good internet rates. Takes about the same time too, an hour and a half.

When I was talking to the security department for my credit card notification of overseas use, the young woman who I spoke with said Goa is great and "dirt cheap", lol...she said I could rent a little Honda motorbike for about $100-$150 rupees ($2-$3)a day. That is how most people get around along the coast there. Not all the traffic like in Bangalore, very easy to get around. She also said don't wear any white clothes in Bangalore because the air is very polluted. Will be nice to get away from that and be by the sea.

We are all going to the other coast on the Indian Ocean, to Chennai, by train from Bangalore on one of the weekends. One of the women we are traveling with is from Chennai. That should be a lot of fun too. Will be very interesting to see the countryside from an Indian train. Reminds me of all those movies/series about India, like the Jewel and the Crown and Passage to India.

Apparently, there is new big hit TV show in India. Sort of a sitcom about the call center workers in Bangalore, including their encounters over the phone with some of the not to pleasant (downright abusive)Aussies, English and the more quizzical Americans. Can't wait to watch that show.


Bangalore - The Research and the Planning

By: clearlakemike, 2:41 AM GMT on March 09, 2006

The Research and Planning

Whew, a lot of info to digest and organize into a plan...Fortunately in this age of the internet so much is quickly and conveniently available at the finger tips. I have been visiting the official and “un – official” websites looking for information, tips and suggestions. The travel blogs with firsthand accounts written by travelers themselves rather than government agencies or commercial interests are very enlightening and interesting.

The stories are funny at times and also seem a little harrowing. One writer advised that unless you have a death wish do not try to drive yourself, lol...another one said the electricity goes out often. Bangalore is a boom town, India’s burgeoning “Silicon Valley” and is growing very rapidly. Growing pains...reminds me of when I was growing up in the waves of baby boomer America and they couldn’t build houses, schools and roads fast enough. During the summer months where I grew up the electricity would often go out on very hot days when everyone was running their air conditioners and the electrical power capacity wasn’t built up enough yet. Even as recently as several years ago, California experienced this problem, with rolling black outs, as the population in this state continues to increase at a rapid pace.

Everyone seems to agree that you have to be very careful with the food and of course, the water. “They” advise only drinking from bottled water and make sure you or whoever is opening it breaks the seal in front of you. There are many places in the US where I wouldn’t drink from the tap either. India seems to be getting itself prepared for the bird flu. But if I see some chickens walking along the road, I will be the chicken crossing the street.

Found out where we are staying hotel wise and am relieved that I will have a very excellent resemblance of my everyday “American life” to retreat too. I don’t mind a little adventure but at this stage of life not as adventurous as I was 20 years ago. Still haven’t quite figured out the reality of it all between the official versions and the unofficial stories. I guess it will be somewhere in between. I am admittedly not an “adventure” traveler. I am used to traveling in very westernized, upscale environments. I do enjoy camping at the beautiful places in California, the western US and Australia but then again that is not really roughing it either in comparison to what some people do.

Not that India does not have its “affluent” does, but there is also a much larger scale of poverty there than most Westerners are accustomed to. “Culture Shock” is a term often used in these travel journals I am reading. And even the official Indian government travel website mentions that the very punctual visitor needs to be prepared for what the Indians jokingly call IST – Indian Stretchable Time. Everything takes longer in India. Sounds kind of like “Hawaiian Time”.

Bangalore is located in the southern part of India in the Indian state of Karnataka. It is 3,113 feet above sea level on top of a ridge in the Kamataka plateau. It has a moderate climate. The city is a good base for exploring southern India; temples, ruins, historic architecture, natural beauty and beautiful beaches on the coast of the Indian Ocean. Bangalore is also a cosmopolitan city which offers extensive shopping, cuisine, luxury hotels, culture and entertainment. Known also as the “Garden City” for its many gardens and parks, Bangalore is more recently nicknamed the “Pub City”, as it has many, many Pubs. The city is a fusion of the old and new India.


Bangalore or Bust - #3

By: clearlakemike, 5:39 PM GMT on March 02, 2006

220V - 110V

In this age of camera battery, cell phone chargers (not even sure I can use my cellphone there yet, I think I may have to temporarily purchase international access) I needed to get an adaper to convert the voltage they use in India, 220V, to work with my 110V North American
chargers. Don't want to fry my chargers, explode the batteries and burn down the hotel while I am there, so off I went in search of these yesterday. Also, I had to get some adapter to plug in my notebook as well.

Since I had to drive down to Sunnyvale to give the travel agency an imprint of my credit card for my plane ticket I decided to go over to the big discount electronics store they have there and try my luck. Interestingly enough, the man who helped me find the adapters was from Lahore, Pakistan. I told him I was going to India and wasn't sure what all I needed. He knew exactly as India, Pakistan use the same voltage as the UK, 220V. He also told me about where he was from in Pakistan which was also very interesting.

When I was checking out, the woman who checked me out was from India. Her home is just up the road from where I am going in southern India, and being slightly OCD, I ran all this by her once again. She graciously confirmed that I had all the right stuff. Fortunately, for the other customers, she was not the only check out person. She also told me about where she is from and where I am going to. Very interesting.

There are a lot of South Asians living in the south bay of the SF Bay area now. Even the travel agency was all Indian Americans. They interestingly enough had big Hawaiian Airlines travel posters on their walls and pictures of Oahu. I guess everybody loves Hawaii. I know
I do. Going to Hawaii, which is usually my "overseas" destination, is soooo much easier tho'. No passport, no visa, no shots and no adapters...but it is all worth the effort as I am sure it will be a very fascinating adventure.

Updated: 5:46 PM GMT on March 02, 2006


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Member since November, 2004 I like being outside.

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