Greetings from my friend Vivek’s home office. I’m choosing to sleep here tonight since it has A/C and the guest bedroom where I slept last night only has a ceiling fan. And it is HOT today. Over 90 most of the day, and humid and sticky. Plus this morning there was a rolling blackout from 6-8 a.m. and the ceiling fan just shut off which turned the room into an instant sauna. Turns out these blackouts are an everyday thing. I guess you just get used to it.

We’re on the outskirts of Chennai, formerly known as Madras. Vivek’s house is about a mile off of the main road down a ridiculously uneven, bumpy dirt road. One of these things the government says they’re going to fix but just haven’t quite gotten around to doing it. Vivek says it’s because the right politician hasn’t been greased yet. It did make for a fun scooter ride today as I took his wife Vidya’s scooter and he took his motorcycle and we took a ride around the ‘hood. We are near the “IT Highway” right now, which is a long stretch of road where a lot of technology offshoring goes on. And wouldn’t you know it, there is a mini-real estate bubble happening right now with lots of office buildings going up but now a few of them are beginning to have troubles renting them out. Maybe the U.S. can bail them out too.

I’ve seen probably over a hundred stray dogs in my first day here. They are everywhere. I just found one hiding under this computer desk I’m sitting at. And lots of cows too. They’ll just be hanging out in the middle of the road, between the lanes, and since they don’t kill any cows over here, most male cows end up just doing this their whole life. Some unfortunate few will get put to work hauling stuff around but otherwise they’ll get castrated and just set free. What a life. Except for the castration part.

It’s common for people to have a cow at home that they keep around for milk. Vivek wants to get a cow for this reason, says it saves money in the long run. And you outsource the maintenance of it. Someone comes over, takes care of the cow and milks it. And for payment they take half of the cow’s output. Sounds like a good deal to me. I’m trying to convince Vivek to get the cow this week while I’m here so I can check it out. Vidya on the other hand wants nothing to do with a cow. I’m interested to see how this one plays out.

On the health front, so far so good. I have gotten about 10 mosquito bites so far. There’s just no avoiding them. Vivek has a mosquito zapper shaped like a tennis racket that you literally swing at the bugs and they get zapped. You can see them light up and hear the crackle as they burn to death. It’s actually quite fun if you manage to kill them and not get bit.