Thursday, August 2, 2007

First Impressions

Instead of staying at the Landmark Hotel as expected, the company put us up at a flat associated with the Princeton Club. It is a three bedroom, two bath on the fourth floor of a group of appartment buildings called the Merlin Residency. Being very close to the office, it works out fine.

Differences: all marble floors, with high thresholds that we keep stubbing our toes on. Even the cat and dog have had a tumble. No central A/C. There are window air conditioners in two of the bedrooms, but none in the living/dining area or the kitchen. TV in the room with no A/C. (Constant struggle with the decision of whether to read in a cool room or watch TV in a hot room; usually the book wins out.)

Similarities: every modern convenience is available, including cable TV, stainless steel appliances, etc. Speaking of TV, they have everything, "My Name is Earl", "ER", "The 4400", "That 70s Show", they even have US soap operas like "General Hospital". MTV India is quite lascivious, much to my surprise - was not expecting that.

We went looking for our own flat a few days ago and looked at a place we really liked on Southern Avenue, even closer to work than where we are now. The flat is on the sixth floor of a newer building (anything after the British split) with white walls, colourful terrazzo floors and huge windows overlooking most of south Calcutta. There's a park just below us, so mostly you see heavy banyan trees and palms and just the tops of other buildings - there are a few high-rises (20-30 floors) to the south. The other half of the view is sky, and with the monsoons, you can see the dark clouds rolling in, dumping sheets of rain and lightly scurrying out to the east. It's a very open and airy space, very light. One of the people at work has been helping us with negotiating the price. It's quite beautiful. It has been explained to me that once you negotiate the price and put down the rather large deposit (4 months), the only time you'll hear from the landlord is if you don't pay the rent. Don't expect them to perform maintenance and such. I hope that works both ways and no one will be complaining about my dog or my noisy son.

Will should be starting school soon as the Calcutta International School. It's a brand new building. He took his admission test on Saturday and he thinks he did well. We had an interview at the school and we had to make a decision whether to have him redo 7th to make his transition easier, or dump him into 8th grade, which started more than a month ago. We're starting 8th and getting a tutor to help him align his math to where they are in class.

Will is enjoying life here. We joined the Princeton Club so he can swim and use the gym. We have someone who comes to the house every morning with the driver bringing our breakfast, then he accompanies me to work. Will can then use the driver to go to the mall or food bazaar during the day. I work 9:30am to 7:30pm M-F, plus 9:30am to 2:30pm on Saturday.

Lance is still upset because we can't find kitty litter. We're using sand right now, and it's not working too well. Two things I can't find yet in calcutta - kitty litter and Gin. I could use a good G&T this evening...


Anonymous said...

First things first- Nice narration.
Good that you are getting on well..

Noise shouldnt be a problem..I mean no one really is going to complain..we're noisy in general.. :)

Also pls write about cultural shocks/embarrassments etc etc

Hows ur son liking the place?

Weather in Chicago is worse in the last three days...hopefully its going to cool down.


Anonymous said...

Haha, yeah I can't remember even knowing the term kitty litter in India( except I think when Red Foreman mentions it on 'The 70s show'). I am surprised that you can't find Gin though, it's not that uncommon in India.

Central AC is not that common at homes in India, it's very energy intensive!!

Unknown said...

gin is a very common drink in should find it very easily in any liquor store (commonly known as wine shop in india)......

kitty litter not too sure about... ask around for a store which has imported goods.... (basically stores that import foreign made products) they should be able to help you....

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