Friday, June 4, 2010

Inside the Global Investor Meet

I spent a few hours this afternoon at the Global Investors Meet, with an invitation to attend the breakout session on Education, scheduled for 2:00. This was one of the last sessions, with the closing ceremony to start at 6:30.

I took a printed copy of my invitation from my email, and waved it by the security guards, who didn't take a look at it. I found the registration area, but when I got to the front, they asked to see my invitation, took a business card, and offered me a ticket for lunch, but said that all their registration packets had been given out already, but that I could go in to whatever sessions I wanted.
There were lots of different kinds of police around, the picture below shows my favorite: the green police. I certainly had never seen these before here. They are supposed to help keep things clean. Unfortunately my attempt to find out what they have the power to do was unsuccessful as a result of limited language skills on both sides.Despite the name, there were very few "global" representatives there. Indian men were plentiful, although there were some women with great saris.
This is a group of men trying to enter the largest of the conference halls. Here is what the inside looked like:This was the stage. I'm not sure who was up there, but clearly someone important given the swarm of press.One positive note was that I saw a wide collection of emergency vehicles.

I personally don't see why you need the Chief Minister (equivalent to US Governor more or less) staring at you everywhere, but it seems to be a custom here. And here we have (from left to right) a fire truck, emergency police bus, police van, and the ambulance seen above from a different angle.
You can also see the garland of mango leaves for good luck hanging everywhere.
This was the entrance, and you can see the location on the palace grounds right next to the Bangalore Palace. This set up was built (and lit, and air conditioned) just for this occasion.
This picture doesn't really have the impact I would have liked, but let me explain. I took this at about 3 p.m. The lights are all on. I write this in the night when the lights are coming off and on every few minutes. Yet they made sure the lights were on OUTSIDE during the day, a hot and sunny day.

I did appreciate the lights inside and the air conditioning, but I didn't attend any sessions as the one I was supposed to attend didn't start on time (por supuesto), and then it started with a video in Kannada. So instead I went off to the exhibition. MUCH more interesting. I picked up all kinds of literature, and saw interesting exhibits of lots of government agencies but also some private sector folks.

The Bangalore Development Authority had a lovely display with great posters and little models of some of their overpass projects.
The Bangalore Metro had a mock up of a metro car:
Note all those lights. I was actually happy to get out into the hot air. As I was walking around, I saw three young white kids and heard strong Mexican accents (and vocabulary), so I talked to them. Turned out there were students from the TEC de Monterrey, on a tour around Asia, starting with India. That was the most interesting conversation I had, as most of the others were folks trying to convince me to use their services (electronic design, computer coding, etc.).
This gives a better perspective on the location. And here are more banners.

This exhibition ends tonight, I'll keep you posted on how long the hastily tarred roads remain pothole free.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bangalore Gets Made Up

In preparation for the Karnataka Global Investor's Meet being held today and tomorrow here in Bangalore, the city has been gussied up with new paint, new roads, lights hung all over (and power found, somehow, to light them), and signs galore.

First, the signs:Then the security cameras. Note that it is hard to find the stop light in this picture, probably the most useful piece of technology (not) in the pictures. Hint: it has a blur pole.

Then the sides of the road, painting the rocks where there is no formal border, or the border itself where this is one.
In some areas, new barriers were placed on the traffic medians too. Where will the people stop now as they dash across the highway? Note the new sod too.

Then there is the shoulder, or what should be the shoulder. I can't quite figure out what they are doing here, putting piles of white powder in piles on the side of the road, and then spreading it around. It is especially nice when it spills out into a lane of traffic.

Next the greenery in the median.

And of course you need lights everywhere, especially important when you have power cuts all the time.
The new asphalt on the roads, and the lines painted on it, could actually be useful if I thought the road would last longer than a few weeks.
Finally, the entry way for one of the sites of the accompanying parties, on the Palace Ground entrance that I have shown many times adorned for other occasions.
Tomorrow I'll go to the Investor's Meet itself, not sure if they'll let me take photos though.

Imagine if the money spent to doll up the place had been spent on schools and school books instead!