Settling in and getting unsettled (29 October 2005)

Submitted by Pam Baker on Wed, 2005-11-02 09:51.

USEFI arranges for a local student to be our facilitator the first few days, for which we are very grateful. Kaushik is a law student and a great guy. First order of business was to find an ATM machine. When we were in India in 1998, ATMs didn’t exist and getting money was at least a 2-hour process. Now, on the second try, we found a bank in the same network as Peoples/BankNorth, and voila, cash! The next stop was a cell phone store. We are now the proud owners of a basic Nokia, a pre-paid phone card and a phone number. Jet-lag required an afternoon nap, then off to an internet shop, it’s that “flat-world” again. It was about an 8 by 10 foot building with 6 computers, right in the middle of this very nice residential area where we are staying. While many people use the internet now, fewer actually have a connection in their home, and instead go to a shop like this (reminds me of the “communal” public telephone in villages in Wales 35 years ago.) While sitting at our rented computer terminal, we stared eyeball to eyeball with a very large sacred cow on the doorstep.

On returning to our hotel, we learned that in the hour we had been at the internet, there had been three horrendous bomb blasts in Delhi. Terrorists had targeted two shopping markets and one bus filled with exceptionally large crowds all intent on purchasing gifts for the holidays. We were safely in our hotel watching the reports on the TV. Ironically, when we going through the security process necessary for buying our cell phone, Kaushik had explained that India had tightened security considerably after had their 9/11, when terrorists tried to destroy the Indian Parliament buildings in 2002. But as security has tightened on cell phones, technology has changed and terrorists now use Bluetooth infra-red communication technology because it is not as traceable as the standard phone transmissions.

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