Monday, February 23, 2009

Sunday Part 2

Well I've had a day to digest what happened yesterday so I think I can put my exon the 'bus'perience into perspective.

Yesterday Scott and I decided to venture in to Hyderabad by ourselves because a) we needed some supplies b) we had nothing else to do c) we are idiots.

It turns out there is a 'bus' that goes from ISB to 'downtown' Hyderabad, though both terms are somewhat generous. We ventured out on the 'bus' around 4:30PM with a scheduled return at 9:30PM though I told Scott we would need to cab earlier so I could finish reviewing/editing our teams Global Strategy assignment. Driving into town was quite an eye opener, the poverty and wanton destruction everywhere that I had witnessed on my way in looked even worse in the light of day. There is constructions almost EVERYWHERE on the outskirts of town, with condos and office building popping up like mushrooms, but beside this apparent wealth is poverty like I have never seen it in my life. There are families literally living in garbage dumps with little tent homes made out of garbage and stolen scraps of material, especially blue tarpolin, from nearby construction sites. Seeing a little girl about Daniel's age outside of one of these made me profoundly sad.

The bus kept on driving past the dichotomy of poverty/wealth all the way into town with stores like brand new glass Levi's and Vodaphone stores (and high-end car dealerships and fashion stores) literally right next to a totally decayed old building and people in these blue tents. It was just bizarre to try to understand.

People would get off the bus every couple of kilometers into a sea of humanity and a cluster of shops. At one such stop the bus driver slammed the breaks so hard that a little girl went flying and smashed into the seat in front of her and started wailing, her family just motioned the bus driver to keep going - can you imagine that in the U.S.!?

As the bus drove along Scott and I kept on joking about Arbitrage opportunities for clothes, shoes and other items. We then talked about buying a car here and getting it sent over to Canada, coining the best term ever: CARBITRAGE.

Anyways the bus finally dropped us off in this semi-central downtown area with a couple department stores and cars and motorized rickshaws everywhere. Descriptions just really do this justice but I will try (Scott has some photos that may help and we will probably go back since this is where the shuttle always goes so we'll take more).

There were people EVERYWHERE, cars EVERYWHERE, derilict buildings, department stores, woman with babies begging, security, and a brand-new movie theatre playing Bollywood films and Valkyrie (WTF?). In the middle of it was this weird department store that had a huge blow up photo of a girl who looks EXACTLY like Jon Benet Ramsey (which was especially weird because Scott and I were the only non Desi people out of THOUSANDS). The store was having its 'Happiness Sale' with balloons all over the place - still not sure what the hell it meant. Prices on some items were cheap but for the most part prices were similar to Canada, especially on electronics. We spent about 1/2 hour walking around the mall looking at things that made little sense - like stairs that were just blocked off with hald opened boxes, an elevator that had a partial wall blacking it etc, before we both started getting mentally and physically drained by all the sights, sounds and people. We also started getting hungry so we went on a meat hunt. The downstairs of the store had a Pizza Hut, but there was a host for the restaurant and a waiting list so we bailed. We then decided to walk up the street and see where things led.

To be continued...

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