25th April 2005. Letter to friend. Writing from the IBM Learning Center in Armonk.
Have reached Armonk safely, it’s 7:00 AM here on a glorious Monday morning! I reached roughly at 2 PM on Sunday (yahaan ka time – EST – which is about 10 hrs 30 mins behind IST).
Immediately upon arrival, I went to a taxi stand, and haggled with the taxi driver for a full 10 mins on the fare (supposed to be pre-decided). I got him down from $162 to $130, and *still* made him give me a bill for $146!! He said to me on the way: “I gonna go home an’ tell ma wife – I met a guy from India, and he brought me down – ah, man – brought me down so hard – I dinna what he did – he just talked and talked!” I guess some of the bargaining skills picked up after years in Mumbai have done me some good! It was the driver’s b’day, and we had a fine time. Actually, everyone had warned me against big blacks, but this guy was just that – Big and Black! Then the lady at the reception (even bigger and blacker) gave a a big bag with 3 apples, one peach, one cheesecake, a bag of salted peanuts, one packet of chips (like apna Lays), and one bottle of water, and one juice can (yes,really) *just* because I looked tired! How about that!! These people here are really good!
I then slept for 14 hours (yup, that’s right – 14 hours) to get used to the time zone here. I have now fully recovered from jet lag. I awoke at 4AM today, so I’m all ready. Am going for a walk in what appears to be the most beautiful place on earth! Seriously, re – this place ROCKS!