On the first day, I was walking back from the office. I just wanted to prove myself that my road sense was not that bad at all. I had remembered the road, all the landmarks while going to office in the morning by taxi. There is no way I will be lost! Half way, I confirmed all the landmarks and was proud of myself that I was right on track. It was then I saw the board - "Dont walk"! "What the **** is that?" I said to myself. It was a highway and I was not supposed to walk straight at that traffic signal. I remembered my vector class in college. AB is same as AD+DC+CB. So, instead of going straight, go left, take a right and another right, and there you are! Who said that mathematics is useless? I turned left and walked for a few minutes when I got a traffic signal without "Dont walk" board. I crossed the signal and started walking in the vector DC. But, where is DC supposed to end? I was lost! There were no people around to get the directions. I could see only cars around. It seemed like its one man's fight against the kingdom of cars. I took a right turn and decided to walk till I get my hotel or some homosapien. After sometime, I came near a shopping mall, met an old man and showed my address. He asked me to cross the road, and go straight. I crossed the road, and again I was not sure where to go. I saw a young couple coming out of another store. It seemed like they had come for christmas shopping.
"Excuse me ma'm, can you please tell me how to go to this address?"
"You have to take a turn here, go till you get the intersection, take a right turn there. Its slightly far"
"I got it, thank you", I said, even though I was not very sure about the full path. I wanted to go the nearest point on the right track and take it from there. "Delta approach", I said to myself.
"Its a bit far, do you want us to drop you?"
"No its fine with me. I am enjoying the weather", I said, even while I was shivering slightly.
"You are sure?"
"Sure, thank you very much" Am I using too much of "thank you" after coming here?
They went to their car and the woman shouted at me - "Hey, its very cold out here, come over, we will drop you"
"Ok, thanks" and I got in the car.
"Hey, whats your name?"
"Vasuki, I have come from India"
"Hai there. I am Megan and this is Steve", introducing me to man at the steering.
"Hai Megan. Hello Steve"
"Oh good. How long you have been here?"
"I landed here just yesterday"
"Oh really?" These americans are realy amusing people. Whats was so suprising or suspicious about my reply? All these "thanks", "wow", "well", "really" have no big meaning, I thought.
"I liked the city. Especially the snowfall"
"Really? You've been to Temple square? Go there, you'll like it. Its full of christmas decorations"
We were near my hotel room and I remembered the landmarks "Krispry Kreme" and "IHOP".
They gave me their phone numbers and asked me to call them, if I need any help.
I thanked them once again and got into the warm confines of my hotel.
It was my second day in Salt Lake City. I decided not to walk in the morning, partially because I was tired and partially because I had lost my way the previous evening. The weather was cold, but it was not snowing. I could see sun after a long time, but that had no effect on the cold. I remembered the science class of my first grade - "Sun gives us heat and light". To hell with the science teacher! The sun gives only light here. The receptionist of my hotel, Jeremy had booked a cab for me. I thanked him. He has a very peculiar way of saying "You are very welcome". It nearly sounds like "Yoorvrywlkome". I never miss an opportunity to thank him, so that I can hear that funny phrase. The yellow taxi was waiting outside. Inside was a driver, with a long beard. He wore the cap which muslims wear. "Good morning, sir. The weather is so cold, son-of-a-bitch" he murmured. Whats so "son-of-a-bitch" in that? I wondered as to how "american" he has become after coming here.
"Are you from India?".
"Ya", I told, disappointed with the fact that no one guesses wrong.
I thought of asking where he is from, but decided to keep my mouth shut. In case he is from Pakistan, he might misunderstand even my "okay" or "oh" or silence for his answer.
Towards the next turn, there was quite a big traffic jam. Wow, I am not missing Bangalore at all! "Thees ees Rush hour, traffic jam. Son-of-a-bitch" he told and changed the lane by acknowledging the person who tried to overtake him by his favorite phrase - "Son-of-a-bitch" I asked him if there is any other way to avoid the highway.
"You aint gonna need no highway. There is a straight road. I will show you." and took a left turn.
"Are you in software?"
Do I look as stupid as actually am? "Yes, I am a software engineer and I have come here for three months", I said.
"How much do you get?".
"40$. So less? Your company charges 20$, per hour. They make 160$ per day. They give you 40$ and put 120$ in their pocket. Son-of-a-bitch. People come to this country to make money. If you cant make money, whats the point coming here? Are you single?"
"Then it is okay. Otherwise, it is difficult with a family. I have 5 children, the money is not enough"
The car stopped at 756 East.
"Do you want a bill? It is $12.40"
"I came yesterday in another cab. It cost me 10 dollars. Are the rates different for different companies?"
"No, the minimum is 10 dollars. But, it charges for waiting time. Today, it was rush hour, traffic, son-of-a-bitch. Its okay, you give me just 10 dollars"
"No its okay. I just asked to confirm. I will give you 12.40"
"No no, give me 10 dollars". He did not allow me to give him 12.40, probably pitying my meagre perdium.
I went inside the building and started doing the most uninteresting thing I have done after coming here - I started coding!