Sunday, March 13, 2011

Hyderablog, Part I

A Post by Dave

A change of location on Saturday -- moving from Delhi to Hyderabad. While I may be slow, I know I could outrun the elephant sighted at the airport.

An early morning start had us headed out of the hotel at 6:45 for a 9:55 flight.

Making our way through security, shepherded carefully by our fearless leader Arun,
we had a few minutes to get croissants and coffee before heading to the gate.

On the screen to our right a major cricket match was airing -- quite the rage in India and large parts of the world, yet still a bit confusing to some Americans who are more accustomed to baseball.  Arun has explained the game more fully to us, and it is indeed high competition.

For me, the word "cricket" has since boyhood evoked the sound of a mid-summer insect chirping in the grass on a lazy afternoon, and "wicket" brings to mind the small wire archways sprinkling our lawn for croquet during a family picnic. Now I start to grasp the excitement and enthralling competition of a global sport, and realize that cricket is keen and dynamic competition within and among nations, drawing immense crowds and sparking pride for one's regional team. 

Our flight got us into the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport around noon. Suffice it to say that the airport is easily as grand as the one we left in Delhi -- a world class operation.

At end of the 1,000 mile trip, we were met at the airport by Amrit, the uncle of one of our students from the American Business Experience course of study at St. Ambros e University last Summer, and Sister Alphonsa, from St. Francis College for Women . Last year she travelled to Davenport with 4 St. Francis College students.

The warmth and hospitality extended both by Sister Alphonsa and Amrit, were remarkable, and quite outstanding. Above is a picture of Sister Alphonsa, with Sister Joan Lescinski, President of St. Ambrose University

Sister Alphonsa and Sister Joan at the dinner party Saturday night.

We will post more about them both, and about the college later. Our visit to St. Francis is one of our main reasons for coming Hyderabad.

Amit's driver took the wheel of a large and beautiful SUV and we headed into city of Hyderabad.

Hyderabad , a city founded in the late1500's, has grow to include some 6 million people; as we traversed it of the city on the way from the airport the diversity of vehicles and styles on the streets reminded me of Delhi. But the press and bustle of close-quarters driving was not so striking as it was on day one in Delhi. Perhaps I'm getting acclimated a bit.

Hyderabad is a city of contrast, with ancient sites that we will chronicle a bit later, to a large and recently-emerged part of the town called Cyberabad  -- a significant hub for high-tech businesses in the region. IT heavy-hitters such as Microsoft, Dell, IBM and TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) have facilities in this part of the city.

Since we have been here it is easy to see the size of India simply by the change of climate from north to south. A 1,000 mile trip took us from what seems like early summer in Delhi (by midwestern U.S. standards) to the height of summer in Hyderabad, with a temperature forecast for Monday of about 35 C, which is 95 F. (Click here for a neat temp converter.)

A bit drained by the trip, we took in a late lunch then a couple of hours down time before the spectacular dinner at Amrit's family home. The dinner was so wonderful, and the hospitality so warm, we'll make a separate post about it.

As I type this text it is early evening and it sounds like a call to prayer in the distance.

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