Another Trip to India

On the plane back from about 12 days in India. I went to Delhi and Gurgaon again to meet my team and work with them for a week and a half. This marks my fifth time to India and in total I think I have logged almost half a year combined stay in India.

As far as work trips go, India is a bit more fun but I did not get a chance to sight see nor did I really feel the need for it. A weekend was just too short to go anywhere far and cool and I had already explored dehli numerous times. This trip however I did learn finally the game of Cricket and got into watching two games of the 2011 World Cup. This was actually a historic moment for India who national sport if Cricket, Cricket and more Cricket. I partied with a few coworkers/friends and watched the highly emotional India-Pakistan semi final match which India won. On Saturday I watched the entire game of India vs Sri Lanka. India won. The whole country went crazy and it was amazing to see such an event in India. I think the last time they won was in 1983. I went down to the hotel lobby just in time as India won the world cup. People in the hotel weren’t just cheering. They were dancing. Guests and hotel workers alike hugged and danced together. Then this guy started to throw cake around and smeared half the people in the lobby with cake. Since I was there I got it too and also gave back some to a buch of others as well. Pretty soon the whole hotel lobby was slippery with pieces of cake. Needless to say, it was an experience.

Meeting the team in India was excellent and I was able to finally learn all 40+ peoples names. We worked some long hours as I had a lot of meetings during the day with our leads there and had to run some meetings in the e evenings with our clients. It was really great to meet them face to face and we discussed and i hope took a lot of actions against many issues. Here’s a pic of the Michelin team.


I also got a chance to meet some of their families over lunch on Sunday. Anuj, Kumar and Bahri have really cute kids and they we the center of our attention all through lunch. We ate at BBQ nation, a North Indian Grill. The food was excellent, except i thought the appetizer was the main course because there was so much food!


This time, I was able to meet up with Abi. He showed me his office and even one of his contraction sites. Abi was nice enough to take me around Delhi as we went jewelry hunting to buy some nice but affordable India style earrings and pendants. We eventually found a nice store in Karol Baugh a old market area in Delhi.


I had a great time in India, didn’t get any food poison, brushed up on my Hindi, met up with old friends and met new ones and learned how to watch cricket. I still really missed Ash, Emery and Nai Nai however and I am really looking forward to be home.

Been a long time…

It’s been awhile since I last posted.  Things got pretty busy after Ashley’s birthday.  Here’s some updates:


Most importantly, I made the best purchase of 2008, the iPhone 3G!!!!  This thing rocks.  It’s like a mini computer.  I use for work email, music, calendar, GPS, facebook and games.  Like the ad says, this has changed everything.  I am also happy to announce that my old Motorola flip phone that was worse than the first cell phone I ever got is sitting quietly in some dark drawer gathering dust…


Ok with that major event out of the way…

Ashley’s Hawaii and Cali Trip

In August Ash went to Hawaii and California to visit family.  It was her PoPo’s 90th birthday on August 27th!!  She still looks quite good for her age and still enjoys fried food, especially fried shrimp and roast duck on a regular basis.  Now that is a women with a good digestive system!


Ash also took lots of great photos of plants and flowers in Hawaii to use as materials for her painting. This one is my favorite and she should definitely paint this one.


California is also where Ziggy lives (LA).  Ash spent lots of time with Megan and Dylan going to Disney Land and Sea World. I grew up on sesame street but these Cali kids grew up on Disney!


Ray in India

Around the same time in August, I went to India again to kick off another project with the Spark City team there.  It started out great and I was having a great time working with everyone until I got sort of viral fever that was quite common in August after the monsoon.  Unfortunately the fever knocked me out for the last week of the 2 weeks I was there.  I still had a great time and we achieved all that I had hoped but I really wish I had the energy to spend more time with the team that last week.

Apple Picking

September was for the most part a heads down week for work though the weekends were pretty busy as well.  Ash and I went with the Lo’s to enjoy some Georgia apple picking which also included farm favorite attractions like cow milking, pig races and the plenty of fried food southern style.  Below is a photo of Ash and I poking our faces through these cheesey cut-outs.  We love these things and take a photo like this everywhere we find one.  How do I look with the curls?


Ian’s visit to the US

Ian also came and visited in September.  It was his first time in the US and Ash and I drove down to Savanah where he was attending a conference.  It has been alittle over 10 Years since we last saw each other in Beijing and Harbin.  He was just 15 then and now he’s married!  We had a great time catching up and I was sorry to see him go.  In my generation in China, most people don’t have siblings so cousins are like brothers and sisters.  I wish him and his wife the best!


Hollywod’s Bachelor Party

It was also Hollhywood’s bachlor party in September as well and I had a great time acting like the college days with the bros.  We went skeet shooting, had lots of good food, and plenty of drinks.  Here’s a cool photo of me shooting down a wild boar!  Just kidding, it was a clay disc…


Spark City India Team

I had a great time work with the Spark City team.  Everyone is very enthusiastic about the project and working with the technology.  We have a good mix of both young and veteran team members and it’s really nice to see everyone pitching in to do their share.  It has been a great learning experience for me as well.  I was able to accomplish so many things during just two weeks, that the same would have taken me twice to three times as long if I were in the US.

We spent a lot of time going through the logic of each development function.  We printed out the screen design, wireframes  to plan out work activities and wrote test cases.  We also spent some significant amount of time on overall project context, giving the team an idea of the business reason, the coca-cola culture and our clients.  We also had a discussions about quality and how we all can improve the user experience.

Here’s a picture of the full team.


Every morning, we have a LLP (low level plan) meeting where each person goes through what they did yesterday and their plan for the day.  It’s also the opportunity to identify or escalate any issues or risks.  In typical Sapient style, the LLP is on a huge whiteboard.  Every team has one and at the end of each LLP meeting there is a team cheer.  So in the morning with five or six other teams in the same floor, you hear everyone’s team cheer.  Our’s is Spark City Halla Bol.  (I forget what it means, and I think I also spelled it wrong -will correct later)


Here’s Arif, our Site Dev Lead facilitating a LLP meeting.



The team giving their status update (front the left: Vaibhav, Archit, Pankaj, Jomy).


Here’s Avesh and Rajni discussing their story (functional development scope).


Printing out and posting the site comps with the wireframes on the wall helps the team discuss and communicate.


Hardik showing us his Connect & Collaborate page in development.


Arrival to India for the Spark City Project

It’s just under 2 hours before I leave to catch my flight back to the US.  I sit now in my hotel room stretching out my legs before the long trip home.  On March 1st, I arrived in Delhi, India for my second trip.  Exactly one year ago I arrived in Delhi, India for the first time for the Sapient People Portal project .  This time my purpose was to kick off the Coca-Cola Spark City Project with the team in Gurgaon.  My arrival to India the second time around was very different.  I anticipated the crowds, the dust, the craziness that is so wonderful yet so frustrating about India.  I knew where to go and didn’t feel like I was completely lost in a foreign world

Getting off the plane, the familiar smell of a country of people and growth. It’s hard to explain what that smell is but you can’t forget it though I loose the smell after being here for a day. This time, I had my camera in hand and I was able to snap a photo of the welcoming party of rental car companies. There were over a hundred plus signs. They all stare at you with foreign names on their boards wondering if you are their guest. I found my ride. 🙂


At the Sterling Guest House, and I was greeted warmly by the caretakers., Ankur, Laxman and Co. These guys were so glad to see me and I them. They treat me quite well and with great respect. I try my best to do the same for them. We exchanged hugs and hand shakes. It was a very nice reunion.

Gurgaon is quickly transforming. The dust is worse this time with the endless construction. From large corporate buildings, to sky metro rails, to little shacks.  The most notable is the huge metro project which is connecting all of Delhi and surrounding cities.  For just 10 Ruppees (25 cents) people will be able travel in a air condition train from Delhi to surrounding area.  The cab drivers and the rickshaws drivers are nervous for sure.  The project is slated to finish in another year.

I had lot’s of shopping requests this time as usual and I had frequent trips to the nearby Sahara Mall. It’s a small mall and not near as fancy as some of the new malls. These days malls are old if they have been around for a year or two.


The fruit market near the guest house looks so colorful, I had to take this pic.


I met of up with Jomy and Avesh the first day after my arrival and we went around Delhi streets.  I told them I liked crowded markets, that wasn’t hard to find.  Here’s Avesh and I getting a local street treat.  It’s steamed sweet corn kernels with butter and spices.  Very good.


Jomy checking out how the cornwalla.


Another interesting looking street food that I did not try was this chaat dish.  It is made with fried patotoes, spices, onions and this creen curry.


We ended the day at this spinning restaurant called Parikrama in Connaught Place.  The food was very good and the views were also nice though i was not able to capture it sufficiently with the camera.  The paneer or India cheese (curd) is the predominant food in India.  This particular dish, I think it was Paneer Pakora (fried paneer) covered with spices was particularly delicious.


Leaving India

The last day finally arrived at the end of an almost 4 month stay in this amazing country. The People Portal project still continues but I must return home to get ready for the wedding, the move out to Atlanta. I am going to really miss the people on the project in Gurgoan. I wish I had a group photo of everyone but for now here’s some random pictures of the days before I left.

This is my typical ride everyday on the Riskshaw to the Sapient office. The name of this busy street is called the MG Road. Everyday there is something new to see whether it is animals to people shipping large chunks of ice. Guys on top of buses or a variety of roadkill, some including people!


This next photo is the Sterling Guest House crew sending me off. The guy in the front still remains nameless to me though I did finally learn his name the night previously during our farewell dinner but again I forgot. The guy on the far right is the infamous Lakshman. More stories about him at a later time. 🙂


Finally, this last photo is of the crowded Delhi airport. The entrance way to the ticketing booths are well gaurded by security with AK-47s. The lines can also be quite long. However or the impatient or the anxious, baggage guys will come out and for a small “fee” will help you cut the lines inside and out.