Archive for Mai, 2006

How to dine in Bangalore

Sonntag, Mai 28th, 2006

Well, not exactly dine, but „How to lunch in Bangalore“ sonds quite a little bit starge. This Sunday, we went to the Leela Palace for brunch. We includes me and the other residents of the SAP guesthouse. It should be mentioned that the Leela Palace is a five-star hotel and about the best place one can stay in Bangalore – that is, if one is able to pay for it, with prices ranging from 250 Euros per night upwards.

As expensive as it might be, going for brunch there is affordable for 1000 Rs (20 Euros) at the Zen, the Asian restaurant in the Leela Palace. 20 Euros might not sound much, but keep in mind that you usually get a very good meal for about 300 to 400 Rupees, so 6 to 8 Euros. The menu included every food one can find in Asia. It starts with a sushi bar with a length of about 10m. A nice starter are chargrilled meat sticks, with a choice of pork, beef, chicken, mutton, and prawn.

(mehr …)

Bowling with the team

Samstag, Mai 27th, 2006

So, I have got some complaints that nothing has happened in this blog since, well, my last post. I agree completely with those who told me so! I try to make it up tou you with this rather long post. Too much time has passed…but nothing had happened! The last two weeks were just normal work at SAP, and basically doing nothing on the weekend. Doing nothing includes reading, of course, and I have to admit that this can be done much cheaper in India than in Germany.

In the city you can find quite some second hand bookshops. Even thoug already used, the books are generally in a fair condition. Also, prices are really low, with an average price of less than 100 Rs (2 Euros). Best is, they also buy books, so I can just bring it back after I’ve read it and (hopefully) get at least some of the money back. After all, I can’t just pack another few dozen books in my suitcase on the trip home (if anybody has found a way one can – tell the world!).

So, yesterday (friday) evening, I went bowling with the rest of my team. Unlike such events in Germany, SAP payed for the whole evening 🙂 We went to the „Amoeba“, a bowling alley including an arcade. I have not eaten anything there, so I don’t know if they deserver the name, or where it comes from :). It was fun to go finally meet the colleagues outside the office, and we had quite a nice evening. My bowling was really bad that day, but it’s not about winning, is it?

(mehr …)

The first week

Dienstag, Mai 16th, 2006

So, I have successfully survived a whole week in India already. Only 15 more to go :). Looking back, this was one of the most intersting weeks of my life – with more to come up.

By now, I have less and less difficulties understanding the Indian English, at least with my colleagues at the office. As Indians tend to speak very quickly and „nuschelnd“ (Leo translates it as mumbling), it’s quite hard to understand them at first, especially at one in the morning after a nine-hour flight….

Work has finally started to pick up. I may not have written it before, but I am working in the area of Mobile Business. So I have been working on customer messages this week, and tomorrow there’s some meeting scheuled regarding the IMS India pages in the SAP Corporate Portal, SAP’s intranet. It seems as if I am supposed to work on them (as I said, Indians are hard to understand ;)).

And, finally, DSL is being installed at the guesthouse, so I will finally be able to access the internet at home without having to go to the roof – wich can be quite uncomfortable when it’s raining. I have also gotten a cable for my digital camera, so if power does not fail (again) tonight, I will be able to get some pictures online.

May the force be with you!

Driving the Streets of Bangalore…

Freitag, Mai 12th, 2006

… is quite an adventure. I may use a comparison to illustrate this: In the game Need for Speed: Underground, the player gets extra credits for „reckless driving“. I have been told that it is very hard to get this, even when driving quite … recklessly. I can safely say that no Bangalorean driver would have any problems to get these credits.

Indian authorities were smart enough to not mark any lanes on most streets. What would be used as a one-lane road in Germany is in India easily wide enough to provide three lanes, with a bus overtaking a truck, while being passed by a riksha. Those rikshas are three-wheeled motorbikes with a windshield and a roof, and the main mode of transportation for most short to medium distances. They are quite cheap (if one insists on using the meter), but the drivers do take on every opportunity to move forward, even if it means passing between to lorries through a space which is not much wider than the riksha – all at about 60 km/h.

Public transportation in form of buses also exist. They are usually packed until people fall out. Well, almost at least. I would not dare to climb onto such a bus, whose average age lies at about 15 years or so (and it looks like it, too). Using the blinker is also very uncommon. Direction indication is instead performed by holding an arm out of the window and sounding the horn.

(mehr …)

Discoveries in Salarpuria

Dienstag, Mai 9th, 2006

Hey! Today was a day of discoveries. It all started on may way to work with another German SAP employee who is also staying at the guest house. He told me not only of several good restaurants in Bangalore (and how to get there cheap), but also that there is WLAN access on the roof of the house! What joy!

Discovery day continued with two very useful tools for work:

  • Desktop Sidebar, a tool which docks itself to the side of your screen and provides useful tools, such as a clock, weather forecast, RSS news feed (where you can watch this very blog’s advances), Outlook integration, and much more…
  • MS Virtual Desktop Manager, which allows you to switch between four desktops…surf the web on one of them, and when your manager walks by, switch to the one with your work on 🙂 On this page, you’ll also find some other cool tools. Remember to check out the Alt-Tab replacement.

If you want to install them on a PC without administrator access, just make sure you install them into a directory you have write access to and ignore all errors. With sidebar, you’ll have to use an older version, such as build 76 which I use. Plugin installing is also not possible.

(mehr …)

The first workday (cont’d)

Montag, Mai 8th, 2006

Hey, I’m back. Not only have I survived my first constact with Indian food, but I have also encountered the Indian work hierarchy.

Unlike other location, the Indian canteen, which is located in the 7th floor and has a magnificent view over the neighboring construction site, is more a buffet style. I can’t tell you what exactly was on the menu today, because I have no idea myself. But I can tell you one thing – it was very spicy. But it tasted well, and the vanilla ice creme dessert helped to soothe my poor mouth a bit.

Until now (Posting times are Indian Standard Time, UTC +5:30, or CEST +3:30) I still don’t know exactly what I will do the following months. My tutor had another interview with me about what I did in my last IMS practcial term, and now he has to talk again with Neel, whom I introduced before, about my assignment. By the way, Neel knew of course weeks before my arrival about my experiences. At least I know that I will work in Mobile Asset Management (regards to Jochen). The questions which pop up immediately are

  1. Why did Neel not plan beforehand?
  2. Why can’t my mentor decide himself?

An answer to question 2 is definately the higher hierarchy differences in India, along with the need to be reassured of back-up before making a decision. But for question one…well, as far as I know Indians are very keen on personal relationships, so maybe he wanted to get to know me first. I cannot imagine a nother reason.

Now I am waiting for a decision to be made (hopefully today), and passing my time with … nothing … I’ll update you when I know more.

The first workday

Montag, Mai 8th, 2006

Well, well, well. Getting up this morning was quite hard. Temperature inside the room has risen to 27 C, because I haven’t yet figured out how to start the air conditioning. But after a hearty lunch (toast with jam and some cereals), I headed off to work. The shuttle is an old bus. A very old bus. I’m surprised that it’s still runnning, but then again, it got about the same age as most other vehicles I’ve ssen so far.

Transportation seems to evolve around motorcycles („Helmet? What’s that?“), motorized rikshas (open with three wheels) and honking cars. I think that sometimes people are blowing the horn for no reason at all. Maybe they like the sound of it…

The office I’m working in is located in the Salarpuria Tech Parc, a rather new office complex about 45 minutes away from the guest house. It’s one office. A large one. Even large than all the other open-plan offices I have been working in. The cubicle walls are about at head high when sitting, so one can easily communicate with all of his or her neightbors, and anyone standing up can easily be seen. I think this suits the work style of helping each other.

By now I have encountered two technical problems, a manager coming later than me, and no task yet. Assignment, as Neel calls it. Neel, whose full name is Neelakantan Padmanabhan, is my manager. He has „forwarded“ me to someone else, whose name I temporarily forgot (shame on me), who will be my mentor and give me my task, sorry, assignment, to work on. Sometimes this afternoon. So I found the time for updating my blog a bit (about time it was), and then…Well, It’s about lunch time. Thinking about eating again :).

Oh yea, I almost forgot. The building has air conditioning 😀 Otherwise I’d be doomed. And sorry for any typos, I still have to get used to the US keyboard layout.

The Journey

Montag, Mai 8th, 2006

Well, the day has finally come. Frankfurt to Bangalore, that’s 9 hours of sitting on board of the plane without the possibility to stretch your legs. I still got sore muscles from that flight. But I have to say that Lufthansa’s haute cuisine (finally a place where this expression is really appropriate) isn’t too bad, either. It was turkey for lunch and chicken for dinner, and they even tasted like turkey and chicken.

The window place didn’t pay out though. It was mostly cloudy, and we had a large stretch over the Indian Ocean, which is at night basically pitch black. The only really impressive sight, besides the Anatolian Highland, which is nice but not very spectacular, with mostly snow-covered mountains, was the approach to Bangalore.

So, imagine you are sitting in a plane. You look out of the window, and you see a city. That is, only a city. No matter where you look, it’s street lamps everywhere. And you are sitting in a plane, so you have a very good and far view. I tried to photograph it, but I’m afraid the pictures aren’t very good. If they are, I’ll post some to give you an idea.

(mehr …)

Stuffed

Samstag, Mai 6th, 2006

I should become an oracle. As predicted, 28 kg is definately not enough for almost 4 months working abroad. They should consider that! But after a lot of repacking and re-repacking, I got everything in…that is, everything except the stuff I left behind.

I hope I won’t miss any of it. After all, I have no idea what awaits me in India. Although I know that I will stay at the SAP Guest House, I don’t even know what it looks like. And what I need there… I will have to wait and see – not much else I can do now anyways.

Well, my family will see me off with a little barbecue, and by the smell of it, I shouldn’t be too late. I’ll be off tomorrow…but don’t you worry (you being the, as of now, 0 people reading this blog 😉 ), I’ll stay with you.

Ready to go

Samstag, Mai 6th, 2006

The great weekend has finally arrived. I got everything wrapped up, bank business done (don’t keep that one waiting for too long, my credit cards didn’t make it in time), been to the hairdresser, and already started packing my stuff.

Unfortunately, Lufthansa allow only for 20 kg of luggage + 8 kg hand luggage. That will be a problem! At least I don’t have to think about different seasons. In India it will be warm – and nothing more. A bit of rain in between, but that will be manageable. So no warm clothing will find its way into my baggage. Still, I will have to pack and re-pack to get everything in – which is exactly what I am going to do now. See y’all later…