Settling down ...

Got settled down here. I'm living at Irving, its a county in Dallas. In fact, Dallas is 15 miles away from this place. My office is in another county, Grapevine, a historical place known for wines. My company has several offices in Dallas, around 20. And I guess this is the worst building. Its actually a warehouse converted into an office building. They primarily have this as a disaster recovery center with 200 people working around here. One advantage of being outside the city, is you don't feel the traffic. Normally people stay away from the city and come into the city for work. I stay in the city and travel out for office. So the traffic is always in the opposite direction. Apart from that u don't have anything special about this place. You have to travel at least 5 miles for a restaurant. The place looks more Mexican than American. There is a big mattu panni and a kuthirai laayam around. People drive big trucks to office. The food is more spicy & hot. All Mexican stuffs. The normal working hours of the office is 8-5. But in our team most of the people come in by 10 am and leave by 10 pm. So I wake up only at 8 and go to office at 9.30-10. Will be there till 10 PM and come back. Catch a cab everyday. These fellows are very strict in time. When they say, 9.23, they are @ the doors at 9.23. Discovered that no good places to visit here. I have to travel long to visit places and see the real America, if only I had enough time :-(

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Size does matter

Here everything is big. I can't see a monitor less than 21". The Nissan Titan, is bigger than our Tata 407. The minimum quantity of the coffee is thrice as much as a coffee you would get in Saravana bhavan. When comparing the sizes, the word "small" is equal to the word "medium" in India. Be it be a size of the pizza or the size of the bra, its true. I forgot my belt in Kuvampatti, so thought I will buy one in Walmart. The smallest size available was 30" and only 3 were in that size. When I asked the sales gal for a 28", she laughed at me and said, "search in the boys section". That was was full of kids belts. Certainly I can't use them for office. So came back to mens section and selected one of the 30 :-( I was wondering why. When I look at the Lays pack or the pepsi cup, I got the answer. No wonder u frequently see the "loose 15 pounds in 5 days" kind-of-ads here. Crazy people. Only in America you can see people ordering a double cheese pizza with a diet coke. :-)

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My first day in US

I was lucky enough to get a window seat in both my flights. When the lufthansa landed in Dallas, I could immediately felt the Texas smell. People with cowboy hats driving the vehicles in the airport, the mud on the vehicles, the dry sun, etc. Checking out was smooth. All the tags that were tied to "unambiguously identify" my suitcase were not necessary. It was pretty easier to find my baggage. No hassles in security clearances. Finger prints, photographs, mmmmm, these fellows will never learn. Preemptive attacks for the non-existent weapons of mass destruction will not help preventing another 9/11. Rather its the other way. Its not that America is invulnerable. Its already proved in 9/11 that to bring down the two of the tallest buildings in the most powerful nation, all it needs is a perfect plan, few angry minded people and 2 knifes. No weapons of mass destruction is needed. Oops! Diverted from the topic. Then we came out and my teammates friend had come to pick us. Big sized cars, broader roads, a relatively clean environment, yes, I'm not at home. Finally reached the hotel. Some Latin-American lady speaking English with a different ascent was there in the reception. Somehow, I don't like staying in the ground floor. Esp the feeling of somebody walking outside can see my room thru the window doesn't make me comfortable. So I asked which floor is the room. She replied its in the first floor. Happily said OK. Then to my surprise the room indeed was in the ground floor. I was puzzled and asked my teammate, he replied back. Well, here first floor means our ground floor. Oh! So got bit but the cultural differences bug. Can't help :-( The suite was neat. Equipped with hair drier to iron box. Alarm clock, TV, radio, fridge, oven, etc, etc. Good. Went out to a near-by desi shop for shopping. Everything is different, the switches were upside down(or downside up?); no flames in the stove - electric heater; the same vegetables looks odd; the rice tastes different; everything is different. Cooked some rice & sambar and had dinner. Set the temperature in the AC/heater and went to bed. No fan. Without the feeling of the air movements, again it was odd. No sound too. It was dead silent. Then I heard a sssooooooiiiiiiiiiiiing sound of a mosquito in my ears. Ha! Felt home :-) Pulled up my blanket and slept.

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From TN to TX:

After a loooong time & crossing all the passport-troubles, finally I'm in Dallas now :-) This was my first flight experience and so anxiously waiting in the long queue for getting the boarding pass. The lady in the counter first weighed my suitcase and then she asked me to keep my hand luggage for checking the weight. I kept my bag and she didn't respond for few seconds. She looked at me and asked ' that's it?' I was having a small bag - better to call it a pouch, and nothing else. I said, 'yes'. She laughed into smiles and said, 'perfect. You don't have to weigh this'. Travel light :-)

It was midnight when the flight took off. When the flight started moving in the land, the G-Force increases and blood starts flowing into the brain. I thought, how good it will be my Pulsar had this pickup & speed! When the flight took off, I could see Chennai, from the bird's eye view. All of a sudden, Chennai was beautiful. Singara Chennai is no more an oxymoron. But in the night, the flight was crossing many other cities and I found that not only Chennai, but most of the other cities are also beautiful, if looked from the sky. CPM buses will have better seats than the economy class seats in Boeing. Its ok for short trips, but for going half way across the globe, its certainly uncomfortable. I certainly didn't expect that the cute lady from German will be serving me kicked, oothampam and chutney as breakfast in Luftansa!!! They even had Tamil songs played in the Radio and TV in the flight. I landed Frankfurt next morning. It was fully covered with snow. The connecting flight was delayed by an hour. The flight from Frankfurt to Dallas, was bit better than the earlier one. When it was flying above Greenland, there was turbulence. Although I've heard about air turbulence earlier, I never expected that it will shook the flight that heavily! I looked out of the window. From the 35000 feet, what I could see was snow, snow and snow alone. Rarely I could see the tip of rocks. If something goes wrong, certainly u can't survive. I'm not afraid of death, but I don't want to die like this. The turbulence lasted for few minutes and then the rest of the journey was smooth. Reminded of nice quote:"Why don't they make the whole plane out of that blackbox stuff?".
By evening I landed Dallas-Fort Worth airport. At last I'm in Dallas :-)

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