Like much of the rest of the world, Bangalore's urban landscape adopts an increasingly American flavor. Expats who need a taste of home can stop for a quick meal at KFC, McDonald's, or Pizza Hut, which serves a Chicken Tikka pizza. Modern shopping malls carry familiar Western brands like Lee, Van Heusen, and Louis Phillipe, as well as Indian goods and unmarked electronics products. An exchange rate of 43 rupees to one U.S. dollar guarantees Ameri­cans more spending power. Clubs play the latest hip-hop music, and a Hollywood film will open in a 1,000-seat theater the same week as in the States. Women now wear jeans and shirts on the streets, alongside the more traditional saris.

But it's Bangalore's boisterous nightlife that really gets the expats out on the weekends, particularly along dense arteries like Brigade Road and MG (Mahatma Ghandi) Road. While other major cities like Bombay and Delhi offer discos for drinks and dancing, only Bangalore features actual bars, earning it the title "Pub Capital of India." Nearby universities feed a steady stream of local students to keep things lively. Locally based Kingfisher brewery keeps the city's pubs well-stocked with Indian beers. Expats can slide into a bar to socialize and watch a World Cup cricket match.There are pubs devoted to Irish, Scottish, British, Egyptian, German, karaoke, and New Orleans jazz atmospheres. The NASA bar is shaped like a space shuttle, and the Underground borrows its ambience from London's subway system. Western-style discos like Spinn, Club Inferno, and Club X are packed with dancing young people and may feature basketball courts, swimming pools, and artificial monsoons. Spinn even celebrates America's Independence Day with an annual Stars-and-Stripes-themed party. And the next morning, there's always brunch at The Leela Palace or Taj Residency Hotel.

During their free time, American expatriates explore the city and surrounding ­areas. Arman Zand plays tennis, goes to movies, and has visited the Taj Mahal. Cecilia Villalon says she likes to hit the shopping malls because "I feel like everything is on sale for me." Susan Chopra takes cooking classes and is learning the Hindi language. And everyone keeps up with news in America through the Internet.

Joanna (last name withheld) has lived with her husband in Bangalore for eight years, raising their young daughter and helping run a content-development firm. She likes to get out of the city on the weekends, taking short trips to spas and the Bangalore Bannerghatta Zoo. However, her expatriate experience is somewhat different than most. She's witnessed the city's phenomenal growth over time, and notes that shopping malls and big grocery stores were virtually nonexistent four years ago. Her family loves living in India. But, she says, socializing with American expats doesn't always depict the most flattering view of her homeland.

After having a recent lunch with four American expat families, she and her husband later realized how the conversation had turned into a "dump on India" session. "Complaints about the roads, the lack of planning, the lack of customer service, just dump, dump, dump,"Joanna says. "We both reflected [on] how, often, when we get together with Americans, it becomes a dumping session. But in our minds, and even in our hearts, we could only reflect on being thankful for the opportunities we have here."