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Updated: August 26, 2010 16:06 IST

Feels like home

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Paul Archer is from Australia and says Hyderabad is a good place to start the Indian experience

After spending two and half years in Fiji where 40 per cent of the population are Indians, Paul Archer, the new General Manager at Hyderabad Novotel Convention Center thought India would be an extension of where he was living. Fully aware of the Indian culture with his association of Indians in Fiji, Paul thought life wouldn't be any different.

“I was so wrong. Everyday there is something to learn and know here. And in a place like Hyderabad where traffic appears to be sane and people willing to give you directions, I think it is a good place to start experiencing India. When I travel to Delhi for meetings, I make sure after the meetings I am in the next available flight to Hyderabad,” smiles Paul.

Paul likes the quaint atmosphere of the city and is having a good time sampling the local foods. Paul had no great thoughts or regards for vegetarian food.

“From where I come, vegetarian food is either steamed, boiled or served raw. If one wanted variation there is lasagne. It is so boring. But in Hyderabad, vegetarian dishes are a treat. You have dry curries, you have light gravy curries and then there are the heavily gravied dishes and all this made with vegetables. The way spices and masalas are mixed is an art. Now I am a big vegetarian fan. In Australia, where I come from Indian dinner is rogan josh, papadam and rice. That's the standard Indian food that we get. Here, everyday I am trying something new and all the food experiences are adding layers to my belly,” he laughs

On the work front Paul feels the potential of the city to grow is much higher. One indication of this growth factor is the buzzing hotel industry. To meet the demands of the well travelled guests, hotels are consciously making an effort to up their standards. In the process there is a need to increase the inventory. India is the new kid on the block and to see that we have more tourists coming in we are planning to start a Hyderabad Convention Bureau. This is to plan the international events and gauge the needs,” he explains.

However, there is something that scares Paul in Hyderabad. “The two wheeler riders. They need to be given bravery awards. There is no sign of fear or frown when they zoom past between two cars. I will be most petrified on a two-wheeler zipping in-out of traffic,” he laughs.

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