Further adventures in Delhi

So the last couple days have been mostly centered on work. Work is not going well in most respects. It’s a massive clusterfuck, pardon my French (I’ve had a couple Kingfishers). The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, and there’s a third hand coming from I-don’t-know-where that is not helping the situation at all. In fact it’s making things much, much worse. I’ve been asked to do several other peoples’ jobs in the last couple days, and I’m running out of arms. There’s a steady ratcheting up of intensity and the tension is as thick as the haze that surrounds this city. Something either needs to give, or something’s going to break. I’m betting on the latter, but I’m focused trying to fix the problems. Unfortunately, it’s like the little dutch boy and the dike. Every time I ask a question, or get a question answered, five more spring up in its place. Are you sensing a theme in my analogies here? This is problem needs more feet on the ground than there are now. Our entire team back home would have to camp out in this city for a year to get things squared away, and that’s not going to happen. And half measures avail us nothing.

Imagine if you will a patient on an operating table with a sheet drawn over them. You pull back the sheet expecting to find a person. Instead you find a number of body parts stapled and duct taped together. A number of surgeons enter the room. They look at the patient and then begin to offer their opinions:
One says, “This kidney is not functional. He needs a kidney transplant!”
Another says, “His heart has stopped beating, grab the paddles!”
And another says, “Are you kidding? This patient is dead. He needs a grave.”
The first one says, “Hmm…let’s say that you absolutely had to reanimate this patient, what would you need?”
The third says, “It’s impossible.”
The first says, “Humor me.”
So the third surgeon says, “Well…I guess you’d need adrenaline, several pints of blood, a respirator, defibrillator, some ringers, sutures, scalpels…(turns to second surgeon) Can you get us those?”
The second says, “Absolutely! What’s adrenaline? And can you take us to find the rest?”
Just then, a hospital administrator walks into the room and says, “When will he be able to play piano again? The concert is tomorrow!”
The third says, “Did you not hear me? He’s dead. And what’s more, you should know this because you’re the one who ran him over with your lawnmower on the way to the golf course!”
The first and second suddenly begin arguing about whether they need more Q-tips for this procedure and agree they should send the third to the store to buy them ASAP.

That pretty much sums up the situation at work. Lots of effort spent. Lots of blood shed. Maybe it works, and maybe it doesn’t. Remains to be seen.

I’ve been working nights since I’ve been here, and sleeping most daylight hours. Today, or yesterday rather, I got up early and went shopping before work. We took a cab to Dilli Haat and did some shopping. It’s a big marketplace that’s government operated. You pay a small admission price to get in, and you can bargain with the vendors. It’s fairly safe and uncongested. Inside, we spent some time buying various souvenirs and gifts for the folks back home. While we were there I was mobbed by a group of Indian school children in uniform who wanted me to take their picture. (I was carrying a rather conspicuous Canon 5D MKII camera.) Then they wanted to take their pictures with me. They were a lot of fun. They gave me their email addresses so I could send them copies once I get home and get everything transferred.

After we finished up at Dilli Haat we went back outside and got in the rented car again. (We hired a driver to drive us around all day and watch our laptops and work crap for about $45 US. ) We drove back to CP to get some food and ended up eating at a restaurant called Parikrama. It’s a rotating restaurant at the top of an office building, similar to the Space Needle restaurant back home. We were treated to an amazing view of Delhi and a delicious lunch. Afterward we headed out to do a bit more shopping. We headed to a part of the city called Janpath and began browsing the shops there. This market is on a fairly normal looking city street, sort of like Portland.

We browsed from storefront to storefront. In addition to the legit shops, there were a number of street vendors who crowded around us and attempted to part us from our money with various goods ranging from musical instruments, to jewelry, to chess sets, to wooden cobras to balls of hashish. Yes, even in India I apparently look like a guy you can sell drugs to. I was a bit torn on this last point. I could have really used a mental vacation, but I have a much stronger desire to not appear on Locked Up Abroad. The hashish guy followed us around until one of our guides finally offered to call him a police escort if he didn’t leave us alone. The street kids were more plentiful and more persistent here than they were in the other market that I found on my own a few nights ago. I ignore them for the most part, but every once in a while they do something cute and you have to laugh. Which of course means you’re stuck with them for another block or two. We bought a lot of cool stuff and trinkets to take home, and our guides did all the price negotiation. They drove a hard bargain and we generally got things for half price or much less. My suitcase will now be even heavier than it was on the way out, and it was filled with books before.

After we finished collecting the final bits of everyone’s shopping list we headed back to the office exhausted, but managed to finish out the work week strong. I could really use some rest, but that ain’t gonna happen. There’s a trip planned to a little out of the way place called the Taj Mahal. Some kind of tomb or something I guess. I dunno. The locals seem to be excited about it, so I might as well go check it out. 😉 The following day will probably involve more trekking around Delhi, and a possible trip to Akshardam temple, followed by a team dinner party at a local night club.

I have to leave for the Taj in a few hours, and it’s a four hour drive to and from. I’ll likely be completely offline all day. We’re renting a car and we’re taking two local coworkers and three foreign employees counting myself. It should be an adventure. Definitely a day to bring the “real” camera bag and the extra batteries and memory cards. I’m shooting RAW for this one. No JPEGs.


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