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Kondapur and Golkonda Fort

Golconda Me

This weekend I finally got out and about in Superbad to see some of the sights.  On Saturday, I had my own little adventure in Kondapur – the neighborhood right next to where I live.  The main purpose was to find a plumbing store to get a part for the plumber to replace.  While it took me longer than expected, it was a successful journey.  I resorted to asking directions (fail), using Google maps and Google Translate.  It made me realize just how hard the Amazing Race must really be!  I’ve definitely done my share of travel, but I always had someone available to assist me.  It’s very different when you don’t have someone to turn to!

I also came across the Post Office in Kondapur, so it was a double win!

On Sunday, I went to Golkonda Fort with a friend.  It’s a sight I have been wanting to see here in HYD.  We just don’t have the same kinds of Forts in the US – I mean, Fort Sumter and Fort McHenry have nothing on these forts in India!  And, it didn’t disappoint.  The fort is huge.  We climbed all the way to the top.  I think there were over 1,000 steps.

It’s Ramadan and there was a festival happening throughout the city – and at the Fort – so there were a lot of people there and a lot of small ceremonies going on.  The views were great.  Here are some pics to enjoy.

Golconda Archway Golconda Rocks Golconda from top Golconda Archways wide Golconda Arch

Toddy – Not Hot Toddy!

toddy tree


Okay – forgive me for my technical ignorance.  I couldn’t figure out how to flip the picture.  So, you’ll have turn your head to the left to see the guy all the way up in that tree.

The weekend before last, I went with a friend to a small town about an hour east of Superbad for toddy.  Toddy is tapped from the palm tree.  It’s supposed to have nutritional value and, they say, it ferments very quickly, so by the afternoon, it’s pretty intoxicating too.

We got out to the town about 8am, found our toddy guy, pitched a blanket and had our first glass.  The guy up in the tree comes down with a pot full of freshly tapped toddy, he poured it through a palm leaf that acted as filter into a glass and we drank.  And then there was glass number 2.  Then they brought out some of the most perfectly cooked fish I have ever had.  It just melted in our mouths. Then, glass number 3 and a change of location.  The change of location also brought the spiciest chicken curry I have ever tasted!  Followed by glass number 4.

Now, even though they say it takes till the afternoon to ferment into alcohol, but man we were some drunk group by about 11am.

A day later, I got my first case of Delly Belly.  Related?  Who knows, but it was a fun Sunday.


My New Place – Jayabheri Silicon Towers

Last weekend, I shifted (i.e. moved) to my new home in Superbad!  It’s pretty freaking awesome too!  I am so comfortable here – much more comfortable than the temporary housing where I was living when I first arrived.

So, here are the details.  First – good or bad – it’s literally right behind my office building.  In fact, from my bedroom balcony, I can actually see the project room I had been working in for the past month.  The good – no commute; being able to come home for lunch/dinner.  The bad – it’s just so, so close.  And, that balcony I was speaking of, well, it also overlooks the “smokers lounge” at work, so it’s not easy to stay undetected.

It’s a 3 BHK (3 bedroom, hall and kitchen) in HYD-speak.  It should be called a 3B-2L-D-H-K – because there are 3 bedrooms, 2 living rooms, a dining room, hall and kitchen.  Oh, and there is a Pooja Room too.

Here are a few pictures…

Pooja RoomPoojah room – i.e. Mac’s oom My bedroom My bedroomKitchen 2 Kitchen view #1 (I had to take 2 pics)Kitchen 1 Kitchen view #2Bedroom 2 Guest bedroom 1Bedroom 3 Guest bedroom 2Dining Room Dining roomLiving Room 2 Living room #1 (my hang out)Living Room 1 Living room #2IMG_0295view from my balcony

Working my butt off

Again, all I can do is apologize for not being able to write more – and to write more often.  I have been working my butt off at this new job – and not in the good kind of way.  I arrived in HYD on Thursday, March 28th at 3am in the morning.  Later that day – 2pm local time – I went into the office to do paperwork, etc.  On Friday, March 29th I also went into work for training purposes.  I had the first weekend off work (March 30 and March 31).  Since April 1 I have been working every day.  The first couple of days were normal work days.  Get in at 9ish and leave around 6ish.  But starting that Wednesday, April 3 I was staffed on a project – and since that day, it’s been minimum 10 hour days.  Most days are 12 hour days – and the rest have gone as high as 16 hours.

As I am still trying to get a grasp on exactly what it is that I am supposed to do, I imagined a long transition period, but these hours have nothing to do with the ignorance around a new job, etc.  This is because we have some pretty serious and crazy deadlines that were agreed to – and there are so many people working their asses off to meet them.

The entire company was required to work this Saturday in order to meet 1 of the deadlines on one of the projects.  It’s been pretty crazy.  I actually only worked a half day today because I needed to get out and run some errands – do some of the things that need to get done but that I haven’t had a chance to do because I’ve been working so much.

Today I found the dry cleaner – 3 weeks of work clothes that have been worn in 100+ degree weather – and a pet store, cause my boy Mac needs some good food and some treats.  Tonight, I’ll head out to dinner with a couple of friends and tomorrow I will spend the day looking for apartments.  Another huge chore that I have not been able to focus on since I arrived.

I promise more updates once I get settled into a place that has internet.  Right now, I have to come to a coffee shop to get online and, well, you guessed it, I have no time to get to the coffee shop!

I miss home terribly…and my friends and family!

Settling In

The past 72 hours have definitely been a whirlwind! Tuesday night (10:45pm DC time) I started this amazing journey of moving to India. The week leading up to my departure was packed with, well, packing and saying goodbyes. By the time I got on the plane, I was exhausted. My first leg was from Dulles to Doha – a 12 hour flight. I think I was awake for a total of 1 hour. I’ve always been able to sleep on flights and this was no exception. By the time we arrived in Doha I felt somewhat caught up on sleep. The flight from Doha to Hyderabad was only 4 hours and I tried my best to stay awake because my arrival in Hyderabad was at 3:00am, so I didn’t want to have slept the whole way and then been forced to be awake at the all the wrong times.

I was slightly concerned about my arrival. There were many variables at play. First and foremost was my boy, Mac. I hadn’t seen him since we left Dulles. I was concerned about how he handled the flight and also getting him through customs. One of the pet relocation services I spoke with told me that Hyderabad pet customs was awful (and wanted to fly him into Bengaluru and then drive him (10 hours) from Bengaluru to Hyderabad – obviously, I didn’t engage their services!).

I had all the necessary documents for his arrival, but needed to meet an agent at the airport with the original certificate. I was also meeting a driver that would take me to my new home. Plus I had 6 suitcases and a big box. On the DC end, I had Marna and Dominic to help me, but in Hyderabad I was on my own.

As all of my bags unloaded, I got to see my boy for the first time. He looked nervous but he seemed to be okay. I had 2 porters and myself to go through customs – and it was a BREEZE! The customs officials were so nice and they all seemed excited to see a cat. We basically walked right through customs.

Immediately upon exit, the agent was waiting with Mac’s NOC certificate (I thought I needed the original for customs, but I didn’t). I thanked the agent for his assistance. Then, I saw a man holding a sign “Gregory Reisher – QuisLex” – my driver. We packed the car and off we went.

Arriving at my new home, I was met by a member of QuisLex’s admin team to make sure I got into my apartment and all was well – which it absolutely was. By this time, it was about 5am local time. I got Mac out of his carrier for the first time. He definitely seemed a little disoriented. I couldn’t tell if he had eaten anything or if he had needed to pee/poop. His little heart was racing a bit.

I spent the next couple of hours unpacking some of my clothes and trying to settle in. At about 7am, I decided to lay down to see if I could sleep a little. I woke up at about 11am. I was scheduled to go into the office that afternoon at 2pm to begin paperwork and hopefully meet some of my new colleagues.

At the office I was greeted by HR and we began with some simple paperwork and I participated in 2 workplace trainings – workplace etiquette and sexual harassment training. I also ran into two of the expats I had met through the interview process and who I was emailing with before I left the US. Vivek, an American of Indian decent, invited me to dinner after he got off work later that day.

We ended up going to the Raddison Hotel with his fiancée and had a really nice time. We chatted a lot about work transition and what it’s like here in Hyderabad. V (as he goes by) and Aasha were extremely warm and comforting – and the best part is that we were out till midnight, so I was hoping that would help get my body clock on HYD time.

Friday, I was asked to report to the office at 10:00am to continue training. Friday was filled with meeting all the different department heads to understand who was who, and who did what! I had my first authentic Indian lunch with my HR companion who shepherded me through the day. Then at 5:30pm the company held their monthly Rewards and Recognition celebration which I was invited to. I was introduced to some of my new colleagues and got to meet some of the stars of the company (at least for the month of March)!

It was a jam packed day – I got home close to 8pm – and CRASHED! I think I fell asleep about 9pm and, although I woke up a few times throughout the night, I was able to sleep until 6am!

Today (Saturday) I’m headed to the mall to do some shopping – I need essentials for the house and Mac would appreciate some fresh litter and food! Later today, one of the expats is having a party as he is about to end his 2+ years here in HYD. I’m looking forward to that opportunity to meet all the other expats!

More to come!

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