I’ll try to follow this up with a more complete post but here is a quick update on our weekend. On Saturday we unfortunately had to cancel sightseeing plans in favor of coming into the office and helping with a “super saturday” which is a super-charged hiring event where 10-30 candidates are brought in and run through three interviews each. On Sunday our driver — Govind — drove Amy, Mary (a colleague of ours), and I around the city to do some sightseeing and shopping. We looked at some amazing Indian rugs, some old military forts, the Bahai House of Worship (which while built by the Baha’u’llah, the house is intended to be for all forms of worship), we also visited the first Mosque built in Delhi, drove through Old Delhi (Govind said it would not be safe to get out of the car in this area), and ate at a very nice India restaurant (they were in-between lunch and dinner so they could only serve a “snack” but that ended up being a full meal for the three of us).
During dinner/snack the television was on so that everyone could hear an update on how the Indian-Pakistani talks were going. This is a very big deal for everyone out here but the news conference was devoid of any real information (politics at it’s best?); the conference continues today and hopefully there will be some good forward progress made by it’s conclusion. Expectations from most are that this is just the beginning of a long process rather than a beginning and an end.
What a relief. I was so worried that the housing would be a serious step down from what we’d gotten used to in Oakland, but it’s looking like we’ll find a pretty nice place. The places we looked at today and yesterday were gorgeous!! Ken mentioned the place that we really liked, so I’ll go into more detail. It’s on the second level (which, as Ken explained, is the 3rd floor), and it has a number of windows that face the little park that’s in our area. The place is 2 doors down from Soumya, another Sapient DOT (Director of Technology) and is close to the Visant Vihar Club. We’re not completely certain what the club has, but there are tennis courts. We’re also very close to the market, within walking distance if I recall, and there is a very nice cinema.
The house has 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a living/dining area, and a small kitchen. One of the bedrooms is smaller and would be the study; while the two larger bedrooms will be the master and guest bedrooms. Evidently, there are servant quarters on the same level as the terrace (just above our apartment). We’re not quite sure how this works or what it means.
The house is furnished, which means that it has light fixtures and hot water heaters, and that the owner may put air conditioners in. There are no appliances and there is no furniture as we know it. Evidently, we can rent nearly everything, and there’s a person that Sapient has worked with who can furnish the apartment “smartly” in just a couple of days. Ken and I have agreed that this would be a great place for us, but that we can relatively easily find something else if it falls through. One thing we need to keep in mind is the fact that diplomats are mostly away for the summer right now, but school starts up again in early August, so housing may become a little more difficult to find then.
We hope to find out more about what projects we’ll be working on today; we should find out before we leave at the latest. My project will determine what city I go to when our preparations for moving are complete. I may not be coming back to India with Ken for a number of weeks. How strange it would be to move out of the house and end up in a corporate apartment in SF for a few weeks!
I’ll try to post pictures of our potential flat later today.
We looked at three places yesterday in Vasant Vihar, Malcha Marg, and Shanti Niketan (all three are “diplomatic” areas which means very good security, electricity, and water). From our trip yesterday it seems that all three are very nice and while Malcha Marg is considered the most desireable, we liked the house in Vasant Vihar better and the area has newer houses in general (with better plumbing).
This morning we looked again but this time only in Vasant Vihar. In Delhi, unlike other cities in India, it is a challange to find 2 and 3 bedroom houses/flats as most are much larger. We saw two new places today and relooked at the place we saw yesterday. One place was 4 or 5 bedrooms, a bit too much space for the two of us. The other was a stand-alone house. It was gorgeous with a second floor (although they call it the 1st floor out here) deck. It was also quite expensive — 90,000 rupias per month! (roughly $2000/mo) — but in immaculate condition. That said, Amy insisted she like the house we saw yesterday better so we went back to look again.
On second inspection I have to say I was won over too. It has beautiful marble floors, a nice balcony overlooking a small park, and one thing we hadn’t seen yesterday was the roof deck that is apparently solely for the resident of the 2nd floor (which is the flat we were looking at). The roof has a marble floor too and plenty of room for having parties. I think the two of us have pretty much decided this is where we would like to live, there are some more conversations with Sapient folks that need to happen to work out some of the details … we’ll keep you posted.
I have changed the timezone setting on our blogger. Hopefully the date/time will start to be reported more accurately now.
Today should be fun. We are looking at apartments/flats with a real estate agent this afternoon. Looks like we should be able to get a really nice place for no more that 60,000 rubias a month (that’s roughly $1000/mo for you flat foots out there).
One other interesting footnote … we had a small automobile accident this morning. No one was hurt. In fact at the speed people drive, I’m guessing the only folks in danger are those on two wheelers (albeit there are a lot of them out there). Our driver was new … and not nearly as good … and he side swiped another car. They got out and yelled at each other briefly and then we both just took off again.