joi, 29 septembrie 2011

Google it!

Every little thing out of our reach makes us wanna know about it. So what better way to find out about things than to "google" the information. An expression that all of us used at least one time. Isn't it? But how many of us really know what Google is about? I bet not even half. I didn't knew either, until a few days ago, when in my small Indian vacation, I visited the main Google office in India, Google Hyderabad.
A big building, half covered in glass, in the high tech part of the city. Strict security service at the entry, visitors must give their name, and the employee name who they are visiting. After getting in the building, again security, again filling out names and start wearing a sticker to be easily identified, and then the fun starts.
Google-rs, as they call themselves, are the most happy employees than all I have ever seen. Inside the working area they have everything an employee might desire. Besides the snack areas on each floor, where you can serve tea/coffee, juices, snacks, large halls with relaxing chairs await for them to recreate their brains. Game room with pool, table tennis or table football machine is at the Google-rs discretion, in case of head ackes, take a break, play some pool or tennis, wash the tensions and go back to work. What more could you want. Well wait, cause there is more!
The shower area is as clean as my home bathroom, with clean towels, shower gel and shampoo so you never have to bring anything with you. Of course jobs that require a lot of sitting usually end up with back pains and even worst. Well not at Google, because the employees have their own massage saloon inside the cool is that?
And the best thing of them all is the sleeping area, a room with beds where you can sleep over night in case you had an argue with your wife, or just take your afternoon nap, relax your muscles and brains, and wake up and finish the crazy report that is bugging you since morning :)))
The thing I love the most, and Indians love it as well is the canteen. A biiiiig room full of tables and buffets all around, with all sort of food, for every taste and diet, making you day at work COMPLETE. Did I mention that they have a buffet with sweets and pastry and coffees on one floor, in case you want a sweet taste after 3 hours of work? And did I mention that everything is... FREE?
Now I know you are drooling but get yourself together, put up your cv and throw it to the nearest Google office you find. And start praying :)))
As mush as Emirates is pampering their clients, that much this company is pampering its employees, and guess what, people actually work with all these recreations, and work well...if you know what I mean.
So, Emirates, some new ideas to motivate your employees????

duminică, 25 septembrie 2011

Electricity nahi hai...

...meaning, no electricity. This was one of the first things I've learned when coming first time to India. We use to reach the office in the morning, and the hot weather was taking over the entire building because...there was no electricity, therefore no AC. Not only that, but after some time, I realized even when you stay at home, there are hours when electricity is simply stopped, most probably to save energy, we think :) Zahraa, my friend, did not have such situations in Bombay, so the same thought came into our minds, why do they do this?
Imagine I was in Nagpur, one year and half back, alone at home in evening, in my bathroom, taking a long bucket shower and suddenly, with my hair full of shampoo and eyes closed, I opened them to see...nothing around, complete darkness. For an instant there I thought maybe I went blind and I was slowly starting to panic. Then I've noticed some small lights outside the window and realized that I can still see, just that electricity is...well...on a break. Then I got used to it, I even had candles prepared and my laptop fully charged all the time, in case of any lights drop off. Oh and how many candle light dinners we had, and how many early sleeping night because of this.
Well it seems in Hyderabad the situation is the same. You don't want to know how much it took me to write yesterdays article because, electricity went down during day. So while this is happening, you just wait patiently, in the heating room, with no internet, no TV, no fan, no NOTHING, so that life comes back in your house. Thank God this is a hot country and they don't need heaters in the house, otherwise...I don't want to imagine.
Oh boy how dependent we are to these modern things. What would we do without them?

vineri, 23 septembrie 2011

Indian babe

Someone told me that dreams come true only...if you're living in a dream. Of course I refuse to believe that because I am now, for real, living whatever I was dreaming about. Because dreams do come true, but only when you really believe in them.
So here I am, after one year and a half, back in India, the place that I loved the most from all my journeys till now.
I landed in the city called Hyderabad yesterday morning, here to visit my dear friend Zahraa, who was anxious like a baby to see me again...just like me actually. I flew with Emirates (duh), and as expected I had a great flight, with goodies and nice atmosphere and friendly faces there to serve you anytime.
Hyderabad is a quite big city, bigger than my old Nagpur anyways, all green (comparing to the deserted dubai :))) ) and as I expected, very crowded. Dust is everywhere, cows walk freely on the streets, people walking on the sides of the road, just like I knew it :)
So my Indian adventure started with a long walk in the city, looking guess for what, a damn exchange house. If you can easily find exchanges in any place of the world, here we had to go 30 minutes with an auto ricksha and another 20 minutes walking. Can you imagine! Colors everywhere on the streets, women in sarees walking around, fresh fruit at every corner, fried Indian snacks all the way and lots of cars and bikes. I was just walking around, breaking my neck to catch every part of the world around me, to see every move, every shop, every person passing by. The lovely but tiring day ended with a shopping session in an open kind of park-bazaar and fresh fruit. But the most adventurous experience was the way back from the open market, traveling in the auto ricksha. The traffic went crazy by evening, so besides not being able to bargain to get a good price till home, we found ourselves "squeezed" between ten of cars, bikes, and a huge buss who was about to squish us for a couple of times. Amazingly this never happens, because the ricksha drivers, as crazy and as illegal as they move around, they never get stopped or have accidents. Or at least I never witnessed one, thank God :D
Irrespective of whatever people say or think or imagine about India, I know that this is a place where I will always love to be. And this came clear to me now, when I found myself here for the second time.
Tomorrow new adventures await for us, and after a traditional romanian lunch with polenta and cheese and onions today, and Zahraa wearing traditional romanian clothes (IE), we are ready to go out there once again!
See u laters alligators!

vineri, 16 septembrie 2011

The music room

A strong cold wind blows your face when you enter. Don't dream to much, it's just an AC :) Then you step in a luxury small hall where 2 smiley faces welcome you. After that you are in.
Welcome to The Music Room.
A semi dark atmosphere with strategic lights around the room, a small stage, good live music, metallic tall chairs, a long bar with all your little heart might want, one billiard corner and one DJ in the other corner. You go in, choose a perfect spot to have a view over the entire place and your night begins.

The cute African waitress is there to make sure you have all you need, will treat you with peanuts from the house and keep you company if you are alone.
And here they are, the ones who entertain the atmosphere every single night. Urban.
The band I've heard only the 3rd time when I went to that place. During Ramadan they weren't singing. And one late night, after the holy month was over, going to Music Room was a big surprise. One beautiful girl was in the middle of the stage, singing Alicia Keys "If I ain't got you". Since that day, the song kept singing in my mind.
Then I went again and again, and there they were all the times, filling the place with an amazing sound, the sound of music. It was quite impossible not to notice the cute guy in the back playing the drums and singing "sos for love", or the amazing guitar player whose voice simply melts your senses.
Last time in Music Room I decided: I'm gonna find out who these people are. And so I did. A little bit nervous and with one bear on board, I went to their table, took a seat, and with a big smile asked if I can stick with them a few minutes. They looked at my a little bit curious but after I explained the reason everyone gave me the OK.
Karen was a little bit nervous when I started asking about her life, I could see her hand slowly trembling and her muscle faces going bananas :P She is the lovely singer, the only girl in the band, originally from the Philippines. All her life she didn't do anything else except music, nothing professional like studies or music school, simple passion, and for 2 whole years she used to sing in South Korea, besides other places in the world. And her
Steve, the cute drummer is from Australia and use to sing there for 11 years, time when he meet Peter, the talented guitarist, and since then they kind of stayed together. His eyes are as blue as the ocean so you can simply get lost in them.
Now Peter, he is something. Started playing the guitar when he was 15 years old, having now 17 years of professional music background, he's the one who started Urban in March this year. He was actually more social and fun than appeared on the stage. Every time I saw him sing, he had the serious face, till the moment he started talking about his life. Originally from New Zealand, Auckland to be more precise, he is in Dubai since 2007, so quite some time now. He played in Australia a lot of time, when he became best friend with Steve and then about 4 years in the Middle East. I was quite surprised to hear about Middle East, I am not really imagining people in these countries going and enjoying an evening with live music. But apparently there is a music industry in this part of the globe as well, and as Peter said, a quite social and good one, especially in Dubai, thing that again left me "open jaw".
Robert is in charge of the keyboards. He came all the way from Malta to Dubai, and his family business is music. He is not very excited about the city and lifestyle, well just like most of the Europeans here, but it's fine for some time. My kind of guy :D
And last but not least, Hernan, the guitar bass guy. It took me some time to get his name, and guess what...he is from... Colombia. I so wanted to talk to him in Spanish, but it would have been rude for the other guys around. His life is music of course, and he so reminded me of the rock concerts from my home.
So officially they and Music Room became part of my Dubai life, and I am so happy for that. I would stay and listen to them hours and hours, which I will actually do from now on, whenever I get the time.

vineri, 2 septembrie 2011

Things to do, places to see

4 months of my life in the desert :))) But it's worth it, I'm telling you.
And what really keeps me hanging is mostly the idea that soon, very soon, the world will be "at my feet". Why is that? Well surely you can imagine that working in a airline you have good discounts for airfares, even on other airlines not only Emirates :D
And while selling tickets every day to different destinations around the world, it's quite impossible not to imagine where would I like to fly in the future.
Here are some of the destinations which got stuck in my mind for the next year or maybe at the end of this one if my leave days will allow that :))
Manila (MNL) the bright capital of the magical island of the Philippines. With Spanish influences and many Spanish names on the streets, Manila is the most cosmopolitan city in the islands, the second as number of population and main religion roman catholic. Definitely one trip in the Phillippines should not end in Manila, but when you don't have to many days in your pocket, you can settle with the city as well :)

One dream of mine since I came here is to visit Seychelles. The island pertains to Africa, being in north of Madagascar, situated in the Indian ocean, having as neighbors the lovely island of Mauritius, Reunion, Zanzibar, Maldives and others about which I don't know about :P With official languages French, English and Seychellois creol, I imagine I should not have any problem in finding a spot there for a few days or relaxation. Anyone else in for Seychelles (SEZ)?

My last year plan after coming back from India was to work or at least visit Brazil. To work there surely can not do right now, but what do you know, we fly to Sao Paolo (SAO) and Rio de Janeiro (RIO)... Just my luck! Since I was little I dream of seeing the statue of Jesus on the top of Corcovado mountain, so my dream is about to come true some time soon :D I won't go into carnival stuff and Copacabana, I don't wanna stretch it to much :)) Will stick to some city tour, a cool swim in the ocean and a visit on the top of Corcovado mountain. Of course Sao Paolo would not hurt either, but I would prefer Rio instead.

And of course should not leave aside the eastern part of Asia. Could not decide yet to a destination but Emirates flies to all corners of the world, so some options would be Osaka, or maybe Shanghai or even Seoul. Would prefer Osaka by now, but none of these places would hurt me to get there...
I would love to tell you more, but I fear this can be painful for some of my friends especially, so I will stick to these places for now :)))
Now 2 slaps over the face, a glass of cold water, a cold shower (well actually a warm shower cause we don't have cold water in this country) and off to work. Let's send some people in the world, till I'll have my chance to get there.