As promised, here are some photos of India
We left Hyderabad at 7 am this morning. We arrived at London’s Heathrow at 12:30 pm via 10 hour flight. Heathrow is quite amazing and the traffic flow through the airport was quite light today. We made it through security in record time. The flight to the states leaves at 4:15. We have an 8 hour flight to Chicago. I am tired of sitting in a plane, but with each mile toward Kansas City, I begin to feel less anxious and almost normal. I was able to clean up a bit, brush my teeth and have my first Starbuck’s coffee for the first time in a week! A little slice of heaven.
To demonstrate what a small world it is, when I came through security, the first person I saw was Joyce Davis. She just retired from ESU and has begun her world travels. Very funny running into her.
London has experienced snow and cold, but fortunately, today seems warmer 32 degrees and no snow. Hopefully, we will get out on time, since the connection in Chicago is very tight. The flight from London to Chicago as the best flight of the trip. Very few travelers, so I had my own very own row!!!
This will be my last post (except to put up pictures when I get home). Where are some final reflections on India and the trip in general.
1. India is not a tourist destination. This is country that would be for the very adventurous and a world traveler who would like to see something different.
2. People use a very strange looking broom to sweep. At the hotel workers swept the grass with these straw-like things without handles. I also saw women out in the middle of busy streets at around 3am in the morning sweeping the streets.
3. I hate bartering for goods. India is a country in which everything is bartered and every little thing has a cost.
4. The sense of time in India is very different than the USA. The planners of the conference kept saying, “we will start promptly”, which turned out to be15 to 20 minutes later. Coffee and tea breaks always occurred at midday and mid-afternoon. These breaks would set the timing back at least an hour. Mornings ever started on time or end on time or occurred the way it was first set up.
5. People do not turn off their cell phones at conferences in India. In fact, people would answer the phone and talk on the phone while speakers were making presentations.
Well, that about ends my adventures in India. Again, India is a bit wild west like, I am glad to have had the adventure, but happier to be coming home.
This is the last day in Hyderabad. Very quiet day. Spent time packing, talking to people and finally working out for about an hour (in preparation for a very long flight home). We leave the hotel at 4 am for our flight at 7 am. We will travel to London’s Heathrow airport. This airport was closed due to snow last week and has gotten more snow, but hopefully, we will not be delayed. In addition, it has turned very cold in England and Europe. Since i is 75 to 80 degrees, this change will be quite a shock to my system.
I haven’t been able to put up pictures but will do so when I return home. I think seeing some pictures will reinforce some of the comments I have made. Here are my final comments on India:
1. There is a “smell” Thayer is uniquely India. It isn’t a bad or a good smell (although there are some very powerful bad smells). I am not sure how to describe the smell, maybe a strong scent of curry.
2. I am not a fan of Indian food. Again, I admit to a pedestrian approach to food, but all the meats seemed to be in a cream based sauce. Lots of fried things, which I never completely knew what was fried. Curry is a constant along with rice. The breads are very good and one thing I enjoyed very much.
3. Infrastructure in India has got to be improved. The things we take for granted (sewers, good roads, electrical structure, water, air quality) are missing or at a very substandard level.
4. The Indian people are a kind and warm people. They are polite, helpful and a people who value the need for education.
5. TV in India is as bad as it is in Australia. The one constant is there is always CNN and the BBC.
6. Everything is lukewarm – showers, water, drinks. Maybe I just come from a country that enjoys extremes – hot showers, cold drinks, hot coffee or cold water.
Well, I am going to finish packing and get a few hours of sleep. Looking forward to returning to USA.
I am not even sure how to explain this day. The day started off in a normal way. I got up, went to breakfast and then over to the convention center to begin chatting. We had a pretty good turn out again today. We stopped about 3 pm and decided to take a taxi to a couple of sight-seeing places. Well, safe to say, I have never been in a place like India. The streets are jammed, I am putting up pictures to display the chaos in these streets. It is Sunday so everyone is out in the streets. Gonzalo Bruce loves the place, I, on the other hand, was overwhelmed by the sheer mass of humanity. No room at all
The first day of meeting representatives from Indian Universities has come to an end. It started at 8:30 and end at 9 pm. I so tired of talking, I would like to wire my mouth shut! Gonzalo Bruce is quite pleased with the connections.
Made several observations during this long day (the other times I was just spacing out)
1. Gender equality is not even close in India. International education recruiting is still a male area. It is disconcerting to be ignored or dismissed as “just a female.”. The opportunity for women in certain countries must be improved in order to move the entire society forward.
2. Most of the students we spoke with want graduate degrees, not undergraduate from USA the reason is many Indian undergraduate degrees are 3 year degrees. So it is less expensive and less time to go to an Indian undergraduate school and then move to an international university for a graduate degree. 90% of all the students we met wanted an MBA or engineering. I wonder how many really want these areas or it is the “thing” that should be done.
3. There is very little humor – I found some very funny things happening but no one seemed to see the humor in various situations.
4. Never try to cross a seat in India. We had dinner at the “sailing annex” this evening and had to cross a very busy street. Three gentlemen for conference stepped out and held traffic back while we crossed. Thought I was dead.
5. The students all ask very good questions. Most of the questions focus on the following things:
a. Accreditation – we always get asked are you programs accredited.
b. Ranking – where is your university ranked?
c. Location – where is ESU?
Well, that about ties up today. The hotel put up Christmas decorations today. Sort of a surreal look in 80 degree temperature. It does make me home-sick, however.
Got to hyderabad at 3:30 am on the 3rd. I was exhausted. Got through customs and was met by representative if the conference who helped me maneuver the airport system. People waiting for passengers are not permitted in the airport. They must wait outside. The weather was great, about 75 degrees, but air quality is very poor.
I went straight to the hotel in a taxi let me say that India is the scarred place in the world to be in a motor vehicle, even at 4 am! Everyone honks at everyone, the cars sometimes have their lights on and bikes, scooters and walkers. Some cars have the headlights and some do not.
I got to the hotel, showered and crawled into bed for about 5 hours of sleep. Got up got dressed and to the opening of the conference. We got on a bus that looked like it came from an Indiana Jones movie and were driven to a conference center of one of the spiritual leaders in India. The conference center was a big open area with very hard seats. I spent the next 4 hours listening to very formal chatting about nothing. It has been a long day. Gonzalo Bruce was delayed by a snow storm in London, so he was a day late arriving and got to the conference at about 6pm
My general observations of India
1. This a country that does not know how to get in a line. How hard is that?
2. There is such great poverty and the living conditions are awful for a large percent of the population.
3. The mean age is 25 years of age. Unbelievable.
4. The hotel room uses the room key to keep and turn the lights on. Very funny and rooms all have door bells, the staff scared me to death this morning!
5. Don’t even ask me about public toilets!!!
My longest leg to Hyderabad is complete. I landed in Qatar at about 7:30. I was surprised by the number of English signs. It was a packed flight. Over 200 people, no free seats. I was grateful for an aisle seat. I was also amazed by the number of children, half the flight had babies!
The route we flew was curious. We head up north out of dc and fly the northern route through Amsterdam, Belgrade, Istanbul, thn along the west bank of the tigeres river. Bagdad was just a stones throw away.
I am waiting for the last leg and look forward to a shower and change of clothes. More when I get to India.
Well, made it to the hotel last night, but found the Marriott like many places does not have free wireless. Seriously, can we get any cheaper! The hotel is very nice quite secure and is located right on the Washington mall. The one strange thing about this hotel is the elevator structure you plug-in your floor outside of the elevator and the panel tells you which elevator to get in. Nothing to touch inside the elevator. Very cool.
I decided to take a walk last night around the mall and was immediately reminded how beautiful the city is. The buildings are stunning, almost overwhelming. I have added some pictures to this post. DC at night and close to Christmas is worth the visit.
I have one more workshop and then out the door to airport for India. It is surreal how quickly someone can get half way around the world and back.
I drove to KC airport this morning. When I got to KC, it began to snow. Oh, well, I am inside and my plane to Dulles is on time. This will be the first of many hours in airports. I visit KC, Dulles, Qatar, and finally Hyderabd airports on e way over. I add London and Chicago on the way home. Who ever said traveling was glamorous?
Well, off to get some water and read a book.
Okay, I am a bit pedestrian when it comes to food and drink. I like very American food. This is one area in which I am not much of a risk taker. So after having a conversation with someone who visited a country very similar to India, she indicated that she and her traveling companions had gotten extremely ill by taking in some bad water or food. She warned me to never drink anything that was not bottled and that the bottles were sealed. No ice cubes (NO ICE CUBES!), use bottle water to brush teeth, shower and make sure no water goes in the mouth. WHAT! So I thought, how can this be! So I did a quick google search and it appears that her advice is sound and echoed by many others. I will be bringing some granola bars with me to eat. I leave tomorrow and now I am beginning to wonder what I have gotten myself into!