Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Highly Anticipated Blogger Blog Stats Exposé

As referenced in my Pecha Kucha for ThoughtWorks University XVIII, I set the enormous arbitrary goal of achieving 100 hits on my blog. Since that time, we here at the blog (me) have had a number of questions about what the actual numbers are. Without further ado, let's break them down as of 11:59pm 2010-Aug-31.

Note metrics began August 13th.

The average visitor...

  • Stays 8:32
  • Views 3.64 pages (posts)

In total, users...

  • visited 309 times
  • were 86 unique people
  • are from 6 countries in North America, South America, and Asia
  • in the US are from 10 states
  • from Michigan have arrived 106 times

Of note...

The night of the Pecha Kucha saw 44 hits from 29 people. The days before and after each saw 11 hits.

Seriously, wow.

Mascal Camping: SG Hill Meets Nature (part 3)

No outdoor adventure is complete without a trek. After we finished our team games and lunch, we walked another few kilometers for the next activity. Goats and cows covered the fields.
Trek to the Rocks

The fields quickly turned to water-side trails as our canine companion happily (and frighteningly) walked by our sides. All four teams gathered on the giant rocks and looked out into the reservoir as we waited to be kayaked one-by-one to the other side.
Kayak Shuttle

Once on the other side, it was time to head up the hill. Hiking is tough work. It's almost impossible to capture the difficulty of climbing up rocks in photos. I hung back from rappelling for some awesome pictures, such as Hardik's First Step
Hardik's First Step

If you can believe it, Hardik was the most vocal about trying to get me to join in the rappelling. No worries, Mom, I stayed on solid ground.

The day didn't end here, either. There was one more event headed our way, including the exciting wrap-up of what I took back from Mascal.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mascal Camping: SG Hill Meets Nature (part 2)

In the last post we took a look at getting to the remote and gorgeous part of India known as Mascal.
View from the Rock

Team Race

What would a ThoughtWorks University outing be without some sort of team-based race? The 36 of us split into four teams: Black, Green, Orange, and White. We then partook in four different events for five minutes each.

1. Mine Sweeper

Our first event was the most challenging. A course was laid out with oars. Plastic pieces were in spread throughout the course. The object was to get through the course without touching anything. One other thing: we had to be blindfolded and spun around before beginning. One person would go at a time, with the rest of the team guiding. We had two attempts and zero successes.
Team Games: Mine Sweeper

2. The Spider Web

Our next game was also played at the only other camp I've attended: 6th grade camp. There are two poles with strings tied in criss-crossing patterns, leaving several holes open. Each member of the team must get from one side to the other without touching the strings, or going through the same opening twice. Our strategy was to have two heavyweights go through the bottom holes and send the lighter people through the top holes. One of our trainers, Felix, used his Kung-Fu skills. Demonstrated here after the completion of the games.

3. Austrailian Australian Car

I can't be sure why this is the called the Australian car, because our Australian driver let us know they've got real cars down under too. Five people from our team had to stand on the planks, hold the strings, and move together. The object was to walk as far as possible. It wasn't easy, but Team Green did quite well in my very biased opinion.
Team Green: Australian Car

4. Inner Tube Walking

I couldn't manage to get a photo of this event -- oh how I wish these getaways had a photographer to capture all the moments. Our team had to huddle up and get as close as possible for a circumference measurement. The reason why wasn't clear, but we ended up the smallest with three lightweights on the shoulders of the three heavyweights. We then stretched an inner tube to accommodate all of us and started to walk up the hillside. The winner of this event was the team that walked the farthest.

We proudly took fourth place overall and headed to lunch. We were advised to eat a lot; there were big things in store for us.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mascal Camping: SG Hill Meets Nature (part 1)

TWU XVIII escaped for a camping adventure over the weekend to a place called Mascal.

In what seems to be the start of a tradition, we ThoughtWorkers mention three things in our posts about Mascal:

  1. Mascal is virtually impossible to find.
  2. It lies 40-45 km away from Bangalore's Diamond District.
  3. Search engines returning nothing -- nothing but ThoughtWorker blogs.


Thanks to my awesome GPS-enabled phone, I've been able to put this place on the map. The journey was 2 hours and 47 minutes in a bus. Just when I think I can't possibly be surprised any more, I get into a bus that makes a habit of passing cars and driving 3 inches from the edge of a dirt road carved out of a hillside.

Our 49.4km route:

View Larger Map

The trip was arranged with Outback India, who employ some of the nicest people around.

Both of our paid guides were going to school and doing this on weekends. We also had an amazingly nice volunteer who does this just to meet different people. An avid How I Met Your Mother watcher, we discussed the US-Candian relationship as told by the show. He's headed off to London for Audio Engineering next month.


The last leg of the bus ride is a trip through an extremely small village. We step off the bus and are greeted with super skinny cows. Mascal Cows

It was clear from the beginning this was going to be far different from another day at the office, though you wouldn't know it to look at me. Who else could pull off bringing a camera, collared shirt, and water bottle camping?

The trek from the bus to the campsite was about 1km through fields and over rocks.

Once there, we basked at the marvel that I call mini-stonehenge. It wasn't long until some of us had made our way out to the lake and conquered the microwonder.
Mini-Stonehenge Conquered

We didn't spend this day alone, either. A very friendly street dog had decided to spend the day with us.

Luckily she was a very low-key and non-threatening dog, as she stayed well into the night.
Street Dog Stays Into the Night


Of course it didn't just end with getting to the campsite. We had a day full of activities...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

GIDDY: Adventures in Blog Subscriptions

Welcome to the first GIDDY post. What is GIDDY? It's General Information Delivery, Delivered for You. As always, it's delivered via the most efficient means.
3 Wheel Delivery Truck

Long-time followers, by which I mean those who have been reading for two weeks now, may have noticed the right bar of this blog evolve a bit. Allow me to explain, because these widgets are quite confusing.

Google Friend Connect

Friend Connect comes as a default widget on Blogger blogs. It shouldn't be much of a surprise, because Blogger is a property of Google. More surprising is how little friend connect actually does. I assumed anyone who followed would be emailed an update when I posted. Unfortunately, that isn't the case. If you use Google Reader, the blogs you follow are added to your reader account automatically.

Bonus 1 I get to show the world how many followers I have.
Bonus 2 You get your avatar on my blog's front page.

RSS Feeds

Really Simple Syndication feeds were added by request. These allow people to easily subscribe to multiple websites and are best viewed in an RSS reader like Google Reader or Mozilla Thunderbird/Microsoft Outlook.

NEW: Subscribe by Email

Rejoice! I now have implemented the most-requested feature to date: automatic email updates! It's a 5 step process.

  1. Enter email address
  2. Click 'subscribe'
  3. Enter the CAPTCHA
  4. Submit the form
  5. Click the link in the verification email you've received

Coming Soon

Tales of a camping weekend...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hong Kong Hustle

Last week, some of us were in the mood for something different. We decided on Chinese and headed out with the restaurant Saigon in mind. It was in the building where the first clue for TWU's Amazing Race landed us -- the place where no one knew they were supposed to give us a clue.

When we arrived, the sign on the door was something completely different: Hong Kong Hustle. We asked if this used to be Saigon. The place was empty and the answer was an eager enough "Yes!" that one had to wonder if the answer would've been the same no matter what we asked. As it turns out, the name change is true.

Please enjoy this Google Map.

View Larger Map

Recently, I'd been surprised to discover Orange Chicken doesn't exist in China or Hong Kong. From the very same colleague, I found out on this day that Szechuan Noodles weren't a real thing from China either. Still I ordered and realized that "Szechuan" is more often than not a synonym for spicy.

Two of our party went with the featured buffet. It wasn't like a Western buffet. The orders were placed by putting vegetables in a bowl, choosing rice or noodles, a sauce, and handing off to the chef. Appetizers started to come soon afterward. Then appetizers continued to come -- seemingly without being ordered. Those of us who hadn't had the buffet basked in the genius of this system; we were all clearly going to see how wonderful the buffet was even if we hadn't ordered.

After the main courses finished there was an ice cream dessert for our buffeteers. Then the check arrived, in a Hollywood film canister.
Hong Kong Hustle-Let Me Pay
Our goal was to pay with a credit card and break a Rs. 100 bill. We got halfway there -- paying with a credit card...and receiving the same Rs. 100 bill, folded differently.

Finally, I was able to cross something off my to-do list: getting a picture with a red-belt waiter. Hong Kong Hustle Waiter
I'm a bit on the tall side here. I like it.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pecha Kucha: How To Get 100 Hits On Your Blog

Pecha kucha (Wikipedia) is a simple presentation format designed to make presentations rapid and concise. The style is 20x20, meaning the presenter presents 20 slides for 20 seconds each. The slides move forward on an automatic timer. It's more challenging than it sounds at first.

Tonight was ThoughtWorks University XVIII's first of five pecha kucha nights. We'll be doing nine presentations per night, one night a week, for the remainder of the university. I signed up for the first week and was more than a little nervous to find I not only was going last, but following the amazing Sumeet Moghe.

My time quickly came and I promptly headed to the front of the room to give my presentation -- How To Get 100 Hits On Your Blog. I handed my phone off to Richard on the way up and captured the entire affair in HD*. I think it went well, but I'm absolutely open to feedback.


The slides of my colleagues are also available on slideshare. We had a wide variety of presentations; covering China, Chinese cuisine, time, the Kennedy Space Center, mobile communication and Disney World.

Note The video will be available soon.
Due to multiple YouTube upload failures, please enjoy the video below hosted on Vimeo (also available in high definition).

Pecha Kucha from Steve Hill on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Highly Anticipated Indian Auto-Rickshaw Exposé

Next up in the fascinating highly anticipated exposé series is a piece on the extremely popular Auto-Rickshaw. Easily the most common way to quickly get around town in Bangalore, this three-wheeler packs a punch and often features a driver who knows no fear.

Last night we headed out for Inception as a group. Most people went to dinner beforehand. Richard and I stayed back at the office and ordered a pizza. We knew it'd take about a half hour to get to the theatre from the office, so we left an hour early in an attempt to find a rickshaw.

Our decision to not go to dinner was clearly going to be a blog post the moment we stepped out the door. Monsoon season is still in full-swing. The rain poured on us for 40 minutes as we waited, walked, and attempted to flag down ricks.

Oddly, drivers here will often refuse to take you places. We were refused by four different ricks in our efforts to get to Garuda Mall. Finally, someone pulled over and decided he'd take us, but only for Rs. 150. It felt like overpaying by a few rupees, but we were drenched and quickly running out of time.

I've never experienced a ride quite like this before. Fortunately I was able to capture it in brilliant high-definition. Below is a 1 minute and 20 second video of our journey. Feel free to watch it 30 times for the full effect of the ride.

Honorable Mentions

As for the movie, it really was quite good. Certainly deserving of all the hype. Fun fact: Indian theatres feature an intermission. I spent all 10 minutes of the intermission in shock as the thriller was abruptly cut-off. Hindi movies are apparently made with the intermission in mind.

I saw a poster as we left the theatre for another movie. I call this one "blending in". Blending In

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Control + S

Over the past weekend we celebrated the 23rd birthday of a ThoughtWorker. A few interesting traditions came up in the process of having cake and waiting for pizza.

Little Kicks

The first shocked me, and I wasn't even there to witness it. It's apparently a tradition in India to kick the birthday boy once for every year he is old. With a bit of assistance, I later realized that we have traditions like this in the West as well; it's just more often 23 hugs than kicks.

Dumb Charades

While we waited for pizza, a game broke out -- Dumb Charades. In Dumb Charades, there are two teams who each take turns sending a member to the center to act out movie titles. The participants were kind enough to go with only English movies. This was my first time playing, but it seems to be quite the rage here.

My favorite turn had to be for "Save the Last Dance", whose title was acted out by a colleague named Kaushik. He mixed innovation and resourcefulness superbly, and was the reason why I had to post.

It should come as no surprise that people who spend at least 8 hours a day on computers know a few keyboard shortcuts. What may come as a surprise is the keyboard shortcuts we use in everyday life. For example, Kaushik was clearly miming two keys when acting out the first word of the title. The only trouble is we didn't know which two keys. The guesses were plentiful:

  • "Control + C!"
  • "Control + V!"
  • "Control + Print Screen!"
  • "Control + O!"
  • "Control + A!"
  • "Alt + Tab!"
Then we finally nailed it: Control + S for...save.

New keyboard "New keyboard" by r3v || cls on Flickr

So today's post comes with a moral: always learn your keyboard shortcuts.

Note Dumb Charades is typically played with English and Hindi movies. The actor may or may not have the opportunity to let his team know via signal which language the movie is in.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Friend of a Friend's Parents' Friend's Son's Wedding Reception

One of the first things that goes with being on the other side of the world is the sense of timidness. This was exactly the case when asked by a coworker over the weekend if I'd like to attend an Indian wedding. Naturally I couldn't turn down the chance at such a legendary adventure.

The day began with our first trip to ThoughtWorks Bangalore II office. We took a shuttle there from the Diamond District office. After exercises in TDD and pair programming and a few sessions in object-oriented programming principles, my colleague Richard and I headed back to the Diamond District via rickshaw. The original plan was that we wouldn't be able to wait for the shuttle bus at 6:15, because we were getting picked up at 7:00.

The shuttle bus dropped off everyone shortly after our rickshaw arrived. The ride was also delayed twice...and ended up arriving about 50 minutes late. We could have definitely saved the Rs. 60, but we won't sweat the $1.50 lost too much. Finally we were on our way as we neared in on 8:00.

Walking up to the reception hall was quite the sight. The view from inside was even more amazing. HDTVs lined the place, and that giant boom near the front of the room held a swinging camera.
Indian Wedding_03

The first thing we did inside was stand in line to greet the couple and pose for a picture. The line was enormous. I didn't think to take a picture of how many people were waiting in line until we neared the front. It still conveys the scene quite well when considering the length of the hall.
Indian Wedding_11

It was getting close to our turn to approach the newlyweds, so I asked the photographer to take a picture with my camera. The answer essentially amounted to "No." Fortunately someone standing behind us was kind enough to make this memory last forever. See if you can spot me. I think I pulled off the technically-uninvited-guest-who-knew-no-one-was-the-only-white-guy-and-had-no-formal-clothes look pretty well.
Indian Wedding Party

After meeting the couple, we moved into the other half of the hall -- the food half of the hall. All types of Indian cuisine stretched as far as the eye could see. It was nicely divided into categories:

  • North Indian
  • South Indian
  • Idli & Dosa
  • Chaat
  • Sweets
  • Fruit
  • Water
We tried just about everything we could. The food was absolutely delicious. If I have one complaint, it's that the sweets here are out of control. I'm a big fan of these hats.
Indian Wedding_17

Of special note, the center of the vegetables table was formed into an alligator.
Indian Wedding_22

Indian weddings typically end with the gift of a coconut, and this was no exception.
Indian Wedding Coconut
After receiving the coconut from a table of girls, something weird happened: It was exactly the kind of stare you'd expect being the only white guy in a reception that felt 2000-people strong. What made it weirder was the fact that it continued after I made eye contact with her.

As one of the more memorable nights of my stay in India comes to an end, I'd like to say I certainly wish for the best to Rupesh and Vinita -- a lovely, hospitable couple who showed us something in India we never thought we'd see.
Indian Wedding_25

Honorable Mentions

  1. I asked a girl staring at me in amazement if she'd like a picture. She responded "NoooOOOOooooOOOO!"
  2. Almost the exact scenario as #1 happened with yet another person.
  3. I asked the person who brought us if it was obvious we were Americans. He just laughed.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pizza in India

In the giant list of things I was tipped-off about when making my way to India, one of the more surprising was pizza. At home, pizza is one of the cheapest ways to eat out. Here, pizza is like a delicacy -- it costs almost as much as in the US (after converting!). The sizes are also much smaller. A large here is about at medium at home.

So, what are the pizza places?

Exactly who you'd expect in the US:

So far, I've had Domino's and Papa John's

Not being fond of The Hut, and not wanting to deal with a phone order, we opted for Domino's online ordering on Thursday night. Or tried to.

I guess ordering online has a fraud problem here? I can't come up with any other explanation for why I need to type in a phone number and wait for a text with my "happiness code" before I can actually order. I also can't come up with a reason for why their website is written in Flex and generally doesn't work. We ended up calling to place an order after waiting far too long for a happiness code. Moments after the order was complete, our happiness code had been delivered.
Indian Dominos Box

The pizza is pretty good, but it doesn't really taste like the stuff at home. When compared to everything else, it's hard to believe a large is worth Rs. 350-400, but hey, who am I to compare markets?

For the ever-curious, I had a cheese.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Roomali With a View

By popular demand, we're going to be covering the apartment in more detail, perhaps much much much more detail. It's been pouring down rain for most of the day, so for now we'll stick to the view from inside the apartment.
Roomali with a ViewNote I've never eaten at this restaurant

Before we begin, we should note I'm on the first floor in a central position in the district. A few colleagues have stunning marble balconies with views that extend for miles. Interesting to note that these are all owned and leased by different people. Possibly more interesting is the extreme variance in the chalets.

The view from the living room is pretty nice, especially for facing another building. I have to say the tropical plants here are beautiful, and the weather is mostly wonderful.
From the Living Room

The kitchen doesn't have a noteworthy view. I believe we're seeing a power substation here. Fun fact: the system handles 11,000 volts. They must've known I was coming, because they put up a sign so I didn't even have to ask.
From the Kitchen

I also have a balcony. It's not quite as glamorous as the marble ones mentioned above, though. If you can even believe it, I haven't ventured out here.
From the Bedroom 1

And I wasn't about to for the first time in the rain...
From the Bedroom 2

I'm not sure how I feel about the bars on the windows. It's classic debate -- On one hand, they add some character, are ornate, and make the cost of breaking in much higher. On the other, the very presence of bars on windows doesn't exactly make me feel safer in the area I'm in. It's hard to tell about the security of a place that is so new.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bangalore's Junk Food

The majority of what I'm eating here has been paid for by the company. For the most part, we're talking about quite delicious food that is very fresh. This post is instead about the junk food. If Coke and Pepsi are a good barometer, and in my opinion they absolutely are, preservatives don't seem to exist here.

The prices are ridiculously cheap on their own. Couple that with the exchange rate I got upon arrival was $1 = Rs. 46.4, and these prices are shockingly low. Junk food felt like a good vehicle for comparison to the American market.

12 Tiger Gluclose Biscuits | (Rs. 4 = $0.0862)

Tiger Glucose Biscuits

Kinley 1L Bottled Water by Coca-Cola | (Rs. 15 = $0.323)

Kinley Bottled Water

Thums Up 1L Cola by Coca-Cola | (Rs. 22 = $0.474)

Thums Up Cola

Lay's "American Style" Cream & Onion Chips | (Rs. 20 = $0.431)

"American style" chips

Note these prices hold for similar products, so a 1L Coke, Pepsi, or Sprite all cost about $0.47 in every place I've been. They taste a bit different too, actually using real sugar. In the first week, I've actually spent less than $3

Thursday, August 19, 2010

TWU Amazing Race (part 2)

In the last post we took a look at the beginning of the Amazing Race events.

The second event? Darts. Darts in the park. The kids from Chicago were assumed to be good at this, because it's an American game. Unfortunately darts to Americans isn't the same as cricket to Indians. We adjusted the rules slightly: If a dart hit the board, it was worth 5 points; if it somehow landed on the bullseye, it was 15 points.

Darts in Park

Then began the mummification process. We took the tallest, and slenderest, member of our team and mummified him to the nth degree with toilet paper. It was quite funny to see the crowd of park-goers gathering at this point. By the end, our mummy couldn't see, though he did claim he could breathe.

Mummy Kyle

The last phase was coming up when I spotted some graffiti. This graffiti wasn't in the style of Detroit or Chicago though. This property defacement was so different I needed a picture.

Indian Graffiti

Finally it was time for the Amazing Race. We all started with one clue, 1.5 hours, and a beginning location. Our team's location was MG Road, which was covered in depth here. We ran there from the park, solving the clues between strides. Lucky for us a 25-year local of Bangalore was on our team.

The race involved tons of running. The first clue lead us to a restaurant where no one knew they were supposed to give us the next clue. We finally wrangled it out of them somehow and ran down the road to the next location. This continued for an hour, with local knowledge playing an incredibly important role.


An extraordinarily cramped ride in an auto-rickshaw


Sprinting through a downpour -- monsoon season is not over

Flagging a driver down and hitchhiking in his car -- 6 of us in a compact

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

TWU Amazing Race (part 1)

On Sunday, August 15th, the graduates of the previous ThoughtWorks University scheduled a day in the city. It was incredibly generous of them to take the time to prepare events and guide us throughout the day.

We started the day in Bangalore's Shiva Temple. It was an interesting escape inside the city, with mountains created in the temple that attempted to take visitors to another place. The relentless growth was obvious though, as billboards and building corners peaked above the faux mountain tops. Shiva, the god of destruction, was present. "Interesting," I thought, as I cut my arm on the way in as I felt my peace of mind destroyed in thinking of the looming implications.

From the temple it was on to a park. We had breakfast and arranged ourselves into teams. Just as you'd expect from a group of 20-somethings, the team names we had to choose from were the Naked Warriors and Flying Dragons. Solving the tough problems as I often do, we compromised on my hybrid suggestion and competed as the Flying Naked Warrior Dragons.

The first competition was multi-faceted. Each team member had to complete the sequence:

  1. Jump rope to the potato sack
  2. Get in the potato sack and hop to a line in the ground
  3. Tell the next member of your team to start step 1
  4. Run back with the sack to the middle of the course
  5. Grab the jump rope and return it to the start
The cycle gets repeated until you've run out, at which point the clock stops and your team's time is recorded.

Remember those street dogs? A tame one was present for all of this event.

TWU Amazing Race Event 1

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Breakfast in Bangalore

One of the best things about this experience is the food. I haven't had anything from north India so far, but I've liked many of the southern dishes I have tried.

On the first day we were taken out for breakfast by the ThoughtWorks University staff to a very small restaurant down a very crowded street. At this place we tried two traditional Indian breakfast dishes.

Side Street Near Office

Idli is a rather plain, soft, small cake made primarily of rice. Frankly, it isn't very good on its own and very much needs the accompanying sauces.

Idli with Sambar and Chutney - Chennai Banana Leaf, SyndalIdli with Sambar and Chutney by avlxyz

Masala Dosa has a much better texture. It reminds me more of a crepe, at least in terms of looks (I haven't actually had a crepe). Dosa is also made of rice, and ours came with spicy yellow potatoes in the middle. Spiciness for breakfast is new to me, but it's also very good.

Breakfast at the Blue Diamond Hotel, ChennaiDosa by paulswansen

The side items were the same for both dishes. I much preferred the mint chutney. The sambar was good as well, but not quite what I expected at this hour.

mint and tomato chutneys with vegetable pakoraMint and Tomato Chutneys by sashafatcat

I'll definitely be on the lookout for good chutney back in the States.

Note the attributed photos aren't by anyone I know, I just found them on Flickr licensed under the creative commons because I hadn't taken any pictures myself.

Monday, August 16, 2010


At home we all have these routines and a basic knowledge that left few surprises in day-to-day life. For example, I rarely think very hard about what I'll have to eat. Laundry is an annoyance, but it's a mindless task. Most things are that way. By contrast, I spend a ton of time here feeling super ignorant about the basics.

I've completed laundry for the first time just now. I use the term completed very loosely. My work is done, but I just learned that air-drying pants will take about 24 hours.

In order to start the laundry, I had to ask for instructions on how to use this machine.
Washing Machine
The instructions were mind-blowing, so I'll repeat them here

  1. Turn it on
  2. Put clothes in
  3. Put detergent in
  4. Press Start

Drying is the tricky part. I've never air-dryed anything before, so I had no idea how long it would take when I decided to wash absolutely everything that I wasn't wearing and hang them up on the clothesline. Word is they should be dry by the time I finish training today. Luckily I was stylin' big time yesterday, so my colleagues get to enjoy an encore of my awesome ensemble.
Clothesline 1

The drying seemed obvious, but I wasn't sure what to do with socks because I hadn't seen any on a clothesline. I asked my roommate what to do about drying socks. Again, I'd be remiss to withhold this crucial information. To dry socks here, one should put them on the clothesline.

The Highly Anticipated Indian Street Dog Exposé

Street Dogs are a well-known problem within India. As an outsider, I had no idea they existed and certainly didn't expect so many. The stray dog population is terrifying, saddening, and far too prevalent.

A few days ago, we found ourselves in a park for the previously mentioned TWU Amazing Race games. A street dog was present for those as well. It's odd how quickly the below goes from absolutely shocking to expected.

On my first day here, I went out with a few people to explore the surroundings. We headed to 100 ft road and started to explore the shops. This, like I imagine much of the country, is a fairly dense area.

View Larger Map

Perhaps a bit off topic, but important nonetheless -- there aren't very many crosswalks here. I haven't seen any lights on the few crosswalks that do exist. This certainly is a giant difference from being in the West. The receipe for a successful journey to the other side of the street essentially boils down to this scientific process:

  1. Wait for a break
  2. Run like your life depends on it...because it does

Crossing Street

After we miraculously crossed the street, we met an unbelievably scary pack of street dogs. Thank goodness they stayed away from us all. Another dog was not so lucky, as they chased him into traffic. Yikes.
Street Dog Pack

Most of the time they do seem fairly harmless. The common saying is present here as well: "they're more scared of you than you are of them." I did see one dog jump on a guy during our 100 ft road outing, however. I snapped this rather dark and terrible picture as the dog was running away. It took two people to kick the dog off the person.
Street Dog Running Away

Again, yikes.