We had agreed to meet at 10:30 Monday morning for 'brunch' because we didn't have to be at the facility until 1:00. Before I went bed, I called the front desk to get the correct local time to reset my watch. As I was finishing up prior to going downstairs my phone rang and Dave was asking if I was coming to breakfast. Another 'discovery' was that there is no exact definition of local time, because Dave's watch was 15 minutes faster than mine . "Continental Breakfast" consisted of toast and coffee.
The trip to the facility was by private cars which had been hired for us. One of the drivers is an older man with a white mustache. He speaks and understands almost no English. I later nickname him "Pops." The 15 minute ride was an adventure. There are virtually no traffic lights, and certainly no concept of lanes or proper lane usage, weaving in and out of the other traffic, passing on the left or right (or even through the middle). As they, like the British, drive on the 'wrong side' this took some getting used to. We dodged bicyclist, pedestrians, other cars, large trucks, three-wheeled auto-rickshaws, and even an elephant, coming perilously close to hitting someone or something and getting hit ourselves. Traffic moves fairly slowly, so I would guess that this fact would contribute to the lack of accidents. It is all seems routine for the drivers who are seemingly used to this style of driving. Curiously, there seemed to be no hostility or agression between drivers. One of Brian's tips was to relax and put your faith in the driver, which we did. We rode past street vendors and businesses operating out of shacks, hovels, huts, shanties and the like. There is trash and debris everywhere. Curiously, you could see signs advertising modern conveniences like cellular phones at these 'establishments.'. There are buildings that look like they have been under construction for the past 20 years, nothing but a concrete shell.
The facility is inside what is called SEEPZ, which is an acronym for Santa Cruz Electronics Export Zone. This is an enclosed and guarded government-established area dedicated solely to technology for export, and as such, products and services delivered from here are exempt from the usual government tariffs and duties. The buildings in this area look like much of the rest very shabby exteriors. Once inside the building you will not find air-conditioning until you actually enter one of the business areas. The general buildings and even the rest rooms are not air-conditioned. We discussed the upcoming training and was told that the course materials that had been shipped here last night had not yet cleared customs at the airport. This is probably accounted for by the fact that Thursday and Friday of last week was "Diwali" or the Hindu equivalent of Christmas, and everything was shut down for two days. We asked if copies could be made and were told that a limited quantity could be produced, but that a large volume would require being sent out, a process that would take two or more days. Another 'enlightenment ' A task that we take for granted that would require about ½ hour at most at home will take two days here.
We return to the hotel by hired
car. These drivers and cars have apparently been reserved for us since
they are waiting outside the building when we are ready to return. We
are all tired and agree to forgo dinner as a group and meet again in the
morning. It is dark by 6:30. For dinner, I ordered room service of fish
and chips, and more bottled water. The meal was reasonably good and was
somewhat spicy. It is very difficult to break the habit of using tap water
when brushing your teeth, as bottled water must be used for this and drinking
to avoid unpleasant gastric disturbances. I went to bed about 7:00 and
slept until about 2:00a.m. It is now 4:00a.m. local time and I am unable
to sleep. My head is literally 'spinning' trying to absorb and process
all that I have seen since being here. It is MUCH harder to adjust to
the time difference that I have ever encountered. Travel between the east
and west coast is a piece of cake compared to this. My body says that
despite the fact that it is dark outside, it is time to be up and about,
but my mind tells me otherwise. My body wins today
|Entrance to 'The Office' Compound|
|The area around 'The Office'|
Our driver, "Pops"