My Look See Visit to Hyderabad

Trip Start Mar 29, 2007
Trip End Sep 30, 2009

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

So...after nearly 8 years in consulting, I've decided to try something a bit different...and this quick 4 day trip to India is to check out an opportunity within my firm, but outside of consulting.  I've actually got an offer to move to New Zealand as well...but this India offer is intriguing in many, many ways.  I pretty much decide that if I can handle this look-see visit from both a location perspective and from a people/team perspective, I'm choosing India over New Zealand.  Just writing that looks weird....New Zealand - home to beautiful scenery, extreme sporting, cute girls and a damn fine standard of living...vs...India - home to the sacred cow, spicy food and as I would find out...a lot of one armed beggars.  Am I really choosing India over New Zealand?  It appears that way.

Depart Dallas for my first ever trip to India on Tuesday Feb. 20th via Lufthansa.  A pretty great airline to fly to India from Dallas as there is only one stop in Frankfurt.  Plus it's a pretty even split in flight times...9+ hours to Frankfurt...2 hour layover...then 8+ hours to Hyderabad.  Both flights were fine...lot's of pampering in business class, many meals, lie flat beds that don't lie at 180 degrees flat but at 180 degrees with a slightly downhill angle...weird.  My departure time from Dallas was around 4PM on expected arrival time into Hyderabad was around midnight Wednesday night.   With that in mind I make the brilliant decision to try and keep myself awake the entire trip so I will arrive into Hyderabad dead tired and ready for a decent nights sleep at the hotel.  Riiiiiight....good plan there dumbass.  I pretty much passed out for a good 4 hours on the first flight...likely wine induced.  On the second flight I had another 3 hour "cat nap" so when we finally arrived into Hyderabad...Mr. Brandon was wide awake.

Immigration at the Hyderabad airport was sort of a joke.  I think they guy working the immigration control line was also a part time taxi driver, part time school teacher and part time narcoleptic.  He may have woken up and looked at my passport for 3 secs before stamping it and moving on.  Didn't check any bags for this quick trip so thru customs I went and on to the waiting hoards of people waiting to either a) meet loved ones or b) harass the tourists.  I say (b) jokingly as there must have been 50 drivers looking for someone to take to a hotel...and likely charge them triple the rate they would a local.  Fortunately for me, I had a confirmed hotel pickup and within a few seconds, my driver emerged and off we went to find the car.  Within a few minutes we were off towards the hotel, complete with a cold towel and bottle of water to refresh myself on the way there.  The drive toward the hotel gave me a pretty good idea on what driving would be like in India...scary as hell.  Lot's of construction, narrow roads, thousands of honk-belching autos, the occasional cow in the road, three people on a motor bike built for one, a complete disregard for signals and signs...complete chaos...think the "Lord of the Flies" with cars.  Arrived at the hotel safe and sound...but kept my eyes closed a lot of the way.  The Novotel hotel was quite a ways from the airport...but close to the office.  Decent place, pretty new, flat panel TVs in the rooms, free Wi Fi, cool bar.  Took a pill and slept a few hours before my first day in the office Thursday morning.

The office visit on Thursday and Friday went great...met a lot of great people including the person who would be my new boss.  Just an overall great team...full of enthusiasm and all very in to their jobs and doing whats best for the firm.  While in Hyderabad I also managed to check out the local nightlife with some fellow company expats which was surprisingly fun.  Cheesy as hell, but fun.  One thing that I know is going to make my liver that most expats have a full time car and driver over here making it very easy to abuse the fact that when you go out bar hopping, you really don't have to worry about driving home...scary.  I had a couple good meals too and given my taste for spicy food...I was definitely enjoying it all.  Thursday and Friday were full of meetings during the day.  On Saturday I hired a tour guide and hit some of the major local tourist destinations which you'll see some pictures of.  After a late night Saturday night with some crazy Deloitters, I slept in on Sunday then asked my driver to take me to a local mall, department store and a couple other places so I could see what I could purchase there if I did actually live there.  My flight left around 2AM Monday morning so after a quick cleanup back at the hotel Sunday night, I was back on a plane for 21 hours of flight time back to the US.

After this trip, I pretty much made the decision to choose India over New Zealand...crazy.  I accepted the offer later that week and then had a little less than four weeks to do all the things I needed to do when you're moving out of the country for two years...oh joy. :-|
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