Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Back in the USA

Wow, it is hard to believe the trip is over. Everything about it was fantastic. Given an opportunity I would visit again instantly. The only thing that was different that I didn't like were the bathrooms. The traffic was unbelievably hectic but seemed to work - we went to Agra on Saturday to see the Taj Mahal and Red Fort. It was approximately 124 miles from Dehli and took 5 1/2 hours each way. On the trip (sharing the same road) we saw a camel caravan (5 camels), an elephant, cars, rickshaws, buses, trucks, motorcycles, ox drawn carts, people and probably modes of transportation I have forgotten. I definitely would not drive in India.

The people were absolutely wonderful. Everyone was friendly and very excited meeting Americans. Although the street vendors were strange at first we got used to them and started bargaining as we walked.

Poverty definitely exists in India - and seeing people living on the street or in tent cities was hard. Having beggers knocking on the windows of the bus, and mothers with young children asking for money tore at my heart.

I was very impressed with the commitment of the students. They attend classes 6 days a week and are often in tutoring sessions on Sunday. Families see education as a means to improvement - and also as an opportunity. I wish I could bring some of that commitment back with me.

I LOVED the food. However, Indian food has always been a favorite - and the variety that was offered at meals made it hard to choose. However, we did alot of walking so I didn't gain any weight on the trip (although I didn't lose any).

Where else could I visit Perot Systems, IBM, Oracle, and InfoSys all in 4 days. And if we had more time Microsoft, Dell, Yahoo and many other companies also had buildings in the same area. However, the Indian people we talked to still see the USA as the land of opportunity - and also see a direct tie in of our success and theirs. As we talked about a global economy Romania and Vietnam were often mentioned as new sites for globalization.

Ghandi's Memorial - Burial Site

Pictures from the Red Fort - Across from the Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal - Do I need to say more!!

Visit to Perot Systems

Of all the places we visited I would most like to work for Perot Systems. They have a very employee centered work place. The flowered arrangement is a lantern which has five places to be lit - each of the faculty on the trip and a student lit one of the wicks as well as a Perot System employee. The lighting of the lantern is to symbolize Enlightenment. This is also the place that gave us each 2 dozen red roses. High tea was very good and included sandwiches, desserts, and of course tea.

Perot System Pictures

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pictures of school kids at garden and outside school

Pictures below

The first pictures below are of the state capital. The other ones show people working. A lady is sweeping the sidewalk and the men are cleaning the lily pond. The last one is the hands of two of the Indio Asia Academy students showing the henna (sp??) design on their hands.

Pictures from Friday Morning

Friday morning - March 14

This morning we did a quick bus tour of Bangalore. It included a stop at the State Capital, Cappon Park and the Botantical Gardens. We are back at the hotel to finish packing and eat lunch before leaving for the airport to fly to New Dehli.

Pictures of roses and buffet

Thursday, March 13

Today we had two great events. The first was going to the Indo Asian Academy where we had a last fellowship exchange with students and faculty. Their hospitality has been so gracious. Each day they provided a buffet of traditional Indian food but each day it was different choices.

After lunch we went to Perot Systems. Their welcome was the best yet. At the door they had a lantern that is lit by 5 people - I think it was called a Light of Knowledge. Dr. Harris, Jackie Harris and I all lit the lamp along with a student and a person from Perot Systems. There are 5 slots to light the lantern. Then they presented flowers to the faculty - 2 dozen long stemmed roses each. It was really amazing. We had a presentation on Perot Systems including a very good presentation on HR in India. They also served High Tea which in this case included heavy appetizers.

In the evening we went shopping to the place where the locals shop. I am glad I brought along fairly empty suitcases. We ate dinner at a place called The Only Place - it was basically American Cuisine. We got back to the room around 11 pm which was late considering we had to get to pack and be ready for a bus tour of Bangalore Friday morning at 8:30.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Friday, March 14

After we left the hotel yesterday we didn't get back until 11 pm. And are leaving this morning at 8:30. After a tour of Bangalore we fly to New Dehli. So if there are no posts for a few days that is why.

We went to Perot Systems yesterday - a fantastic welcoming ceremony with the lighting of the lamp and I received 2 dozen long stemmed red roses.

More soon

Pictures of me at the ceremony yesterday

Bus Rides

I have already talked about the traffic while riding the bus. It continues to amaze me. However, as we are stopped in traffic I have been able to take some pictures of street scenes - a few are shared below. NOTE: The statue of the elephant is on the front window of the bus

Pictures from the bus

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Visit to Oracle

On Wednesday we visited Oracle. It is very interesting to listen to the IT ideas from different companies. Where else could I visit Infosys, IBM, Oracle and Perot Systems (on Thursday) all within miles of each other. All of the facilities are very strict about no pictures inside. However, Oracle has a rooftop garden and let us take pictures of the city skyline.

I hadn't realized the Romania was also becoming an IT hotspot. And the concept of "follow the sun" was new to me. This means that companies want to have a support site in North/South America, Europe and Asia. This means that personnel can work day hours but someone is always working 24/7 for customer support.

Oracle also showed us wonderful hospitality - after the presentations and tour we had high tea which consisted of a mint type tea and corn sandwiches. Yes, it was 2 pieces of bread and kernals of corn and some very delicious spice/seasoning. I loved it, although some in the group were not as impressed. As many of you know I say if someone is willing to feed me I will eat anything - maybe I am proving it on this trip.

Skyline view of Bangalare from the rooftop of Oracle

Cultural Festival an Indio Asian Academy

On Wednesday we attended a wonderful ceremony at the Indo Asian Academy. It including a lighting of a lamp, an honoring of the guests from the United States where they presented the 3 faculty members with a shawl, a sandelwood lei, and gifts and the students with a lei and gifts. Students then performed dances and songs from their local region or country. Below are pictures of the some of the students in their native dress. Some pictures look smoky because they had a smoke machine and added the smoke at appropriate times. It was an amazing event and alot of time and effort was put into it. I loved the ceremony and attention to detail.

More Pictures of the Cultural Program on Wednesday

Pictures from the Cultural Program on Wednesday