Millennium Mom

Monday, October 5, 2009

10/6 Blog: Hello From India

Hello from Delhi everyone. I am in my second full day here, trying to stay awake and soaking it all in. This is my first trip to India, so I can't say I had any real benchmarks on what it would be like. I expected it to be crowded, have more poverty than I was used too, lots of construction (based on my visits to China, another growing economy), and nice people. So far most of what I expected has been true. It is amazing how many new "cyberparks" there are, on pot-hole filled roads, where donkeys walk alongside open air taxis with 10+ people piled on, next to school buses and automobiles. All three cars wide, with no stop lights, stop signs or lanes drawn on the road.

In fact it makes NYC seem quiet, even when you used to be able to honk your horn there. They are building a new metro rail system, hoping to have it open by next summer for the Commonwealth games, but for now it is just a monorail system under construction. My hotel is on "mall road" in a suburb called Gurgoan. This area was developed 10 years ago when GE came to start a tech center. Now it is filled with tech companies in complexes 6-10 stories high. This brought many educated people with money, so there are literally 13 malls on the road (maybe four miles long). One of them is the "longest" in the world at 1.5KM from end to end.

It is far less crowded than what I expected. Nothing like China or Japan. Perhaps it is because we are not in Delhi proper. We head down to Bangalore next which is larger so I think that will be more crowded. The hotel was very Western and quite nice. Just a bit eary as there were not a lot of guests, so the group of four American women got quite a bit of times too much.

I have been able to get adjusted to the time change ok. We left JFK 3 hours late, so around 8pm Saturday night for a 13 hour flight. It was the perfect flight, as you have enough time to eat and sleep before arriving. We landed around 6pm so key was to stay up a bit later and then go to sleep. I got a full nights rest Sunday night no problem. Yesterday afternoon was a bit tough but we rallied, had a nice dinner out and then hit the sack again. I woke up around 5am, but that was okay as I got to talk to Arnie and the kids before they went to bed.

Getting around is fairly easy. We have a driver to take us everywhere. In fact they sit outside and wait for the entire day. It is important to have people who speak English, so they always get arranged ahead of time. This afternoon we are "going to check out markets and more" so I can get a sense of the retail trade here, and how people buy shampoo, from whom and so forth. This will be a true adventure, but our agency will take us around in a van, so not too risk on our part. We will have men and women with us. I may have to barter if I find something, I am not good at doing this, but supposedly it is a must here.

For the next few days I will be in research with consumers and retailers. I can't wait to see the dyanamics and how they are different or similar from consumers in other parts of the world. The adventure continues...more later.


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