Is it possible to escape America?

I don't want to pretend that escaping Americans, American foods, Customs or it's TV shows was ever my intent in taking this post in Delhi. It would be absurd of my to pretend I had some sort of higher - find oneself - ideas about this adventure. My goals for coming were pretty clear, 1) Gain an incredibly unique career experience by working in the second fastest growing major market in the world. 2) Take in a new set of cultural & social experiences by absorbing a culture far removed from the life I lead in the states.

It has surprised me however to realize just how difficult that second idea can be. You see, the American culture has so permeated itself into the rest of the world, that you literally can spend an entire day (with the proper access to cash) without eating, drinking or driving in anything unfamiliar. I think today, it really stood out to me - just how strong the American commercial and cultural engine is.

For a variety of reasons, I took it pretty easy today. It was my first day back in an apartment after a week of living in Hotels & showering in Airport lounges. I was excited about spending my downtime relaxing & recharging my engine.

Unfortunately, my body was in now mood to relax. I rose this morning about 5 am as I'm still a bit off. I made myself a cup of coffee in my new apartment, and then settled in to watch CNN. After about an hour, I made a call back home & decided to get a move on things. I've hired a temporary car & driver for the month, and at 7:45 I got a knock on the door - it seems my Ford was waiting out front. After heading downstairs, I jumped in the car for my 30 minute commute from extreme South Delhi to Gurgaon.

Along the way, I passed the offices of some of America's most famous employers. A short list of firms Gurgaon included: Google, Hewitt, Jones Lang Lasalle, KPMG, Deloitte, Adobe, GE, ESPN, Baxter Healthcare - I could go on and on.

About 9, I headed across town to Noida, another booming BPO / Textile district. If there were any familiar US firms I didn't name already, the rest of them have headquarters here. It should be noted, that this trip across town took about 2 hours & took me through 3 separate Indian States - just a fun factoid for you!

At 4 pm, and back in the office, a delivery crew showed up to drop off 9 new Dell Laptops for our office - I watched the workmen deliver while i noshed on Lays Sour Cream and Onion potato chips from the cafeteria.

Before moving into the apartment, I stopped at Spencers Hypermarket. I'll try to grab some video of this place for you in a future post as the store is pretty impressive. I needed to grab a few things so that I would have food for dinner. As I was in a rush - I grabbed some familiar staples and headed out the door. After I got home, I made myself a nice bowl of spaghetti with Prego sauce & popped a small bag of Pop Secret popcorn for a snack.

Now, is every day like this here? Certainly not - Along the way there are PLENTY of foreign sights and sounds & many exciting, fun & uniquely Indian aspects to this culture - but I'm beginning to really understand just how far the American Culture will reach.

I've made a promise to myself to try to limit my "American" days - but it won't be easy. There is simply such easy access to all your familiar staples here that it is almost extra effort to NOT buy the familiar US brand. In any case - 1 day in my life - many more to come.