Jesse’s Blog

Saturday, May 26, 2007

It ain’t so bad after all…

From Delhi Nights 1

Ok. So I admit that ever since I have arrived in India I have been overly negative about this place. I never ventured too far beyond Noida and when I did I just got annoyed. But recently a friend of mine sharply criticized my overt attitude towards Delhi and said I was a “f*#$ing pessimist!” Well, that didn’t sit well with me. There’s nothing I hate worse than a pessimist (let alone being called one), so lately I have been making an effort to change my outlook on my life here. I have been finding some great places to hang out in Delhi and meeting some awesome people. It’s important to make time for fun, because I work too damn hard around here to stay sane otherwise. Even if I’m just tagging along… :)

So far this weekend we have been out to sushi twice and did a bit of bar-hopping in Delhi. Check out the pics!

posted by Jesse at 11:42 am  

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Going away party

We had a little going-away bash last night at the Radisson. Half of the remaining team here in India is heading home for the holidays; Tony and Waylon left this morning at 8am. So now it’s just Albert and I, holding down the fort. Dhilip took some close-ups. Notice my scraggly half-beard from a weekend of “crunch mode” at the office.
That last image of Waylon is freaking hilarious. I think we’re going to make it into an ad for our company. He looks confused, angry, and fed-up all at once. Brilliant!

posted by Jesse at 12:20 am  

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Lots of work…

Well it seems like it has been forever since I have last posted. We’ve been pretty busy with interviews and trying to find the right artists to start training at our studio. Paul came to visit for a few days all the way from NYC to check out the operation and do some planning. We had a great time hanging out at nights, too.

Whaley left today to head back to the States. He’ll be gone for about 2 months tying up loose ends and getting ready to move his family here. He was pretty emotional about leaving… he loves this place. Garland was supposed to leave today as well (with Esther), but he has extended his stay until the 15th to make sure the company finishes getting set up. We still have to finish the incorporation and set up bank accounts for everyone.

Also, it looks like I’m back to getting the Bajaj Avenger. In fact, everyone is going to get an Avenger except for Albert who wants a scooter. As soon as the company bank account it set up we’re heading down to the Bajaj dealer to make the purchases! Everyone is really excited.

Oh and, Happy Birthday Bree and Dad! I wish I was there to celebrate with you guys. I promise I’ll bring you something nice back from India soon. :)

Oh, and Happy 4th to my fellow countrymen everywhere!

posted by Jesse at 7:05 am  

Friday, June 23, 2006

Papa John’s and my first salad

This may not seem like a big deal to those of you in the audience who reside in the U.S., but there’s a Papa John’s pizza in Sector 18. Even more amazing – this is the first and only Papa John’s in India and it opened just 1 week ago here in Noida. There can be no coincidence about this – God is watching out for us whiteboys!

Tonight Waylon and I made our first visit to this glorious oasis of authentic American cuisine. I can’t quite explain the excitement that I felt tingling through my toes as we walked up to the door and put our name on the “list”. Yes, indeed – it seemed there would be a bit of a wait for a table. We had driven by the place a few times before and noticed that it was always packed. Before we even had a chance to taste the food – we knew it had to be good. This place was doing quite well for itself considering it had just opened. Amazing.

About 10 minutes later we found ourselves at a 2-top, pouring over the nicely-done menus. I was holding back a foodgasm as I saw actual pepperoni on the menu. I don’t even like pepperoni pizza, but the fact that I can’t usually get it here has sent its value to my palate through the roof of my mouth. (Ha! That was a good one.) We finally decided on a medium supreme pizza loaded with chicken, pepperoni, and I think a few other meats and vegetables. At this point I was drunk with excitement and my culinary inhibitions were at an all-time Indian low. Despite my better judgment, in complete disregard of everything I had been told, I did the unthinkable.

I ordered a salad.

“What’s the big deal??” You might be asking. See, the problem is, we Americans have very weak immune systems. Just like we’re not supposed to drink the water in Mexico, the same holds true for India. And salads – fresh and crispy vegetables abounding – usually come in contact with their fair share of water before entering anyone’s mouth. Furthermore, the actual vegetables could contain harmful bacteria if not handled and prepared correctly, hence the CDC’s warning that you should not eat any fruits or vegetables that you haven’t washed and peeled yourself. Some might even say it’s crazy to do so. “You’d have to be insane,” they might say.

The second the salad landed in front of me, looking even more scrumptious than I had imagined, I felt a twinge of doubt. Should I really do this? Should I risk a day hugging the thrown in my 300 degree bathroom? I felt like all I had eaten for the past 2 weeks were carbs and protein. I was craving these vegetables like a smoker who had gone cold-turkey on a deserted island. My body literally ached for these fresh, crisp, delectable ambassadors from the vegetable kingdom. I could feel it in my jaw. I could feel it in my jaw, and that was weird. Screw it! I tossed on the dressing and mixed up the lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes. I stabbed a huge bite with one-of-everything on my fork and shoved it in to my mouth!

Salad had never tasted so good. Honestly, I didn’t even care if I had my pizza. Of course, that was irrational – I wanted my pizza like a kid wants his presents at Christmas-time. But I didn’t really feel like it mattered. There was no turning back now. My fate was sealed. Could I “hack it”? Would this be my first salad, or my last? Only time would tell.

By the time the pizza came out my salad was gone and my attention was refocused. The server melodramatically served up our first slice of pizza. It’s funny, but now that I think about it, I have never been to a Papa John’s in the U.S. were you could actually sit down and be served. Here in Noida, Papa John’s is practically a gourmet restaurant. I had eaten Pizza Hut, which was pretty OK, and heard that Dominos was awful. This looked better than all of them. “Better Ingredients Make Better Pizza.”

Let me tell you, it’s hard to distinguish between PJ’s in the U.S. and here in India. PJ’s was my favorite pizza in the States, and I never ordered anything else. I know what Papa John’s tastes like, and this is definitely Papa John’s. Waylon and I ate half of our pizza (we had also ordered garlic sticks and got a free order of cheese sticks), and boxed up the rest to go. I love cold pizza for breakfast and I couldn’t wait to indulge myself in the morning. Assuming I wasn’t sick by then…

As we left I could confirm what my friends had been telling me. This is the best American food in India. As we pulled away on a bicycle rickshaw, I laughed at the sweet little delivery scooters with a custom Papa John’s pizza warmer on the back. And the phone number? 424-PAPA. :)

posted by Jesse at 10:53 am  

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Almost Wal-Mart

Last night we took a field trip to New Delhi to what seemed to be the largest mall in India. The name escapes me at the moment, and I left my camera in the car (I wish I had a camera phone). Anyway, there is a store on the ground floor called Spencer’s Hyper. I’m assuming there are smaller versions of this store that are simple called “Spencer’s”. This one was huge.

From the moment we walked in we were all smiles. It was the closest thing to a Super Wal-Mart I had seen since being in the boondocks of Florida. Electronics, appliances, clothes, household goods – and groceries! Lots of them. I was ecstatic to find peanut butter, jelly and sandwhich bread. Tropicana orange juice! Frozen dinners, Pringles, produce, oh my!

Just some of the goodies we picked up at the supermarket.

This morning I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich for breakfast. Not exactly American, but pretty close!

For lunch today we took bicycle ricks over to the Shoprixx Mall (our driver was taking Garland and Chris to buy some computer parts in Sector 18). We enjoyed some Pizza Hut for lunch, and Baskin Robbins for dessert. On the way back, Anthony and I were riding with a kid who, in the U.S., would have still been in school at that time of day. As we attempted to cross a busy 3-lane road the kid couldn’t make it up the incline and traffic was bearing down on us. Tony and I had to leap from the bicycle and run across the road so the poor kid could make it out of harm’s way! Looking back, it was all kind of funny. We paid the kid an extra 10 rupees for the entertainment value.

Lastly, here are some random pictures that you may find interesting:

Whaley and Ronald… friends forever.Waylon in our usual morning hangout (Costa Coffee in Sector 18)A monkey with a pet man.

posted by Jesse at 11:08 pm  
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