An update from Elizabeth, MBA and Master of Arts Management ’12, who traveled to India with the Cox Global Leadership Program:
One last visit today in Delhi, and then we’re off to our last stop. Can’t believe how it’s flown by – we’re almost on our last city! Suddenly the list of things I still want to do feels urgent: ride in a rickshaw again (and really film it this time), find postcards and mail to the Class of 2013, eat Chinese food in India …
After yesterday’s long day I’m starting to feel like I’m getting used to things; Rebekah and I really have our routine (she giggles every time they call up for “Miss Keeglee” and then I roll out of bed to start the process of getting ready) and I’m now unfazed by cars passing within inches of our bus, toilets that are porcelain but still just a hole in the floor, and brushing my teeth with bottled water. Even the heat bothers me less. A little less.
Bharti Airtel is not far from Bharti Wal-Mart (of course). We stop for what turns out to be a bit of a long morning of PowerPoints with few breaks. We learn more about Bharti as a brand – which we hadn’t heard much of at Wal-Mart. I missed out on a bit of the presentation to snag some Dramamine, Chlor-Trimeton, and Pepcid from my bag on the bus – poor John L is having ear issues from the rough bus ride, and we’re putting all OTC items available in him to help get him ready for the afternoon flight.
Bharti also hosts us for a lovely lunch, where I get more of my newest favorite, Something dum Aloo. I have yet to figure out what ‘dum Aloo’ means, but I love it. Also, they have naan. I could live on naan forever. Rebekah, Erika, and I stop into the Easy Day to grab some Cadbury Dairy Milk (me) and Masala Munch chips (them). Since Easy Day is the convenience store branch of Wal-Mart, we’re doing it in the name of research. Obviously.
The flight to Mumbai goes relatively easily. Once I get on it. I get stopped at security, and this time the problem is apparently electrical cords, which all get pulled out, along with everything else, and the bag sent back through security. We’re not crunched on time so I work to keep my patience, but I’m getting a bit sick of the Indian version of TSA thinking I’m an international security threat. What happened to Indians wanting to take pictures with me? They even handwrite my name and boarding pass info in a log book before I’m allowed to go. It’s all very ominous.
We kill some time in the airport (Clark and Rebekah try Pizza Hut, and regret it later) and then head down to the gate. At the Indian airports, you go to a “gate” and show your boarding pass and the airline’s tags on all your carry-on luggage, which get stamped as you go through security. Then you get on a bus that drives you to the plane.
I almost don’t make it on the bus- in all the hubbub around neutralizing the threat of my phone charger cable, the security people didn’t stamp my carry-on. I am pulled from the line and sent to a smaller x-ray set-up around the corner, waving to Caplan and Semple as I go by. I take my laptop out again and send the bag through, without issue. They even let me cut the line to get on the bus, where apparently Kayla was ready to start throwing punches to ensure the bus didn’t leave without me.
We’re on IndiGo again and it’s small – again. Poor Eric gets stuck in the middle seat, right behind me. Along with Blake and Jordan, the three make the most uncomfortable-looking row of gents in a plane. Erika, Caroline, and I are in front of them and the six of us spend a good portion of the flight dissolving into hysterical giggles at silly jokes. The heat and compactness of this plane are getting to us.
We arrive in Mumbai without further issues and love the last of our Taj hotels. But it’s HUMID here, even indoors! It’s insane. The drive to the hotel made me enamored immediately of Mumbai – water, shores, skyscrapers, lots of lights. It’s like New York, but TONS more people, buildings, all crammed into every possible nook and cranny. I think I love it already, and I’m not even sure what it really looks like.
While most knock off early, Eric, Erika and I seek out the Not Just Jazz Cafe on the recommendation of Ashesh, our classmate. It’s awesome. Pizza, garlic bread, and karaoke. There are two birthday parties, so the audience is amped up. Erika does the crowd pleaser “Footloose” and Eric, when he finally convinces the guy to pick his slip of paper, pulls out “River of Dreams” and realizes he knows fewer lyrics than he thought. We hear so much 90s grunge I start to wonder if they even know about Ke$ha and Katy Perry. We stay until closing at 1am and then get back to the hotel. Can’t wait to see Mumbai by daylight!
Five groups of MBA students traveled to Europe, Asia, Southeast Asia, India and Latin America with the American Airlines Global Leadership Program at the Cox School of Business. Read their blog.