Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hyderbad adventure

Went on a guided tour of Hyderabad today thanks to the generosity of the ISB.

It was a totally awesome and mind-blowing day. I am too tired to do any justice to everything I experienced today to do any justice to what I experienced in a post, but I will update with a TON of photos and video soon.

Update: Here are the photos, these are pretty raw with few deletions, I will sort out the best ones later:

Friday, February 27, 2009

Clarification on the blog name

It has come to my attention that some people have misunderstood my blog name to imply that Hyderabad is somehow bad. This was not my intention, as is far from the truth (people here are incredibly nice and the city is amazing).

In fact the name is just a spoof of the movie title Superbad which came out last year.

Sorry for any confusion or offense.

Are we going through bat village?

The title is a quote from earlier tonight when Scott and I went searching for the laundry room and had to rely on the fact that the various bats flying through our path were smart enough not to hit us. :P

Anyways quick update since I am EXHAUSTED from what seems like one of the longest weeks of my life.

Quick rant: a told I am happy with my courses here at ISB, the one exception being my Green and Sustainable Technology class. It seems that the professor for the course didn't get the memo that term 8 is supposed to be a little easier on everyone here and so he added a FOURTH individual assignment. He also did so AFTER the drop date so I am essentially stuck with the course. To top it off the assignments themselves are brutal - not only are they totally based off of microeconomics and the joys of P = X - Q and deadweight loss, but they are long and hard (that's what she said).

Apparently there is a minor revolt happening in the class where people are going to the TA to complain, but like everything here I expect the rules to be followed. One piece of good news on that front is that I found out today that another one of my classes had the individual assignments dropped from 2 per half term to 1. Luckily I found this out before attempting my second.

In more positive news tomorrow Scott and I are going on a all expenses paid tour of the city courtest of ISB. Should be pretty kewl and I will take lots of photos.

I will give more details after I get some much needed sleep.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I am finding there is an element of bureaucracy in India that doesn't form any rational basis.

Case in point today when the fit hit the shan with the course choices for many of the exchange students. Scott and I were gearing up to leave to register with the Police station since some kind person in the India embassy gave us VISA for 180+1 days mandating that we must (180 is the limit to NOT need to register). Anyways we were dealing with that, but we both has frustrations with adding courses. Scott got blocked from adding a course through a process so ridicilous I can hardly bear to repeat, but essentially he was tolk 4 hours was an 'Ecessively' long time to respond to an email during which he was asleep.

This whole issues started when the school went against its rules for course allocations to ask exchange students to identify which course they were interested in and to reserve them spots. The spots that weren't protected were given away to ISB students on the waitlist (and some that weren't). The really frustrating this is that we totally folowed ALL ofthe crazy 15 steps (no joke) involved in the bidding process completely properly. The is the same Phase 1, the Is Post Sample Dopr Phase, there is 2nd Sample Drop Phase and Section Switch etc., with requiring expertise in Chess and Game Theory to get the most out of.

What we missed was a tiny email that changed the rules in the middle of all these rules to screw us over (no where is this transfer of classes to ISB students mentioned). Now I get 300 emails here at ISB (no exageration) and I missed this. This may also had something to do with the fact that I only my mail finally set up two days AFTER the deadline that had asked for in the mal. Long story short Scott and I both found ourselves in the postion of not being able to add classes that we both wanted to.

Anyways Rant over. Scott got the course he wanted and I ended up the class wanted but not after having to miss the Police Station visit that will now instead eat up a future Friday, which sucks.

We were chatting about it later tonight when our courses all disappeared from the blackboard online intranet thing they got. This passage was classic (check the times):

[10:38:37 PM] jeffrankine says: I guess we are waiting for post sample drop phase section switch final clearing price IV
[10:38:37 PM] Scott Parker says: probably resetting it after the add/drop/add/drop/switch/drop/add/add/multiply phases

Update: updated the blog entry because I realized it was a little inflamatory, I was a frustrated when I wrote it.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Food Glorious Food

So it turns out there is a little cafe not far from the cafeteria where you can order pizza, pasta, chicken burgers fries and all kinds of western grub. :)

Had the Pasta Bolognese tonight - yum!.


Had my first classes yesterday and today, looks like the academics here are solid though Scott had more of a mixed bag than I did. My biggest problem right now is figuring out the best course mix and number of classes to take.

Currently I have:

Strategic Partnerships (looks like a tough but good class taught by profs from LBS and Wharton)
Green Technology and Sustainability (I have covered some of this at Queen's but I figured this is a must do because of A.T. Kearney's leadership in this area,)
Outsourcing and IT Based Business (this is a razor's edge course for me, I thought it would make sense given my IT background but after the first class it looks like it may be too straightforward and the class has one section and its small so that's not a good sign...)
Innovation Management (this is one that I have later tonight, we'll see if I keep it since it has less applicability to what I want to do right now)

I also sat in on International Marketing today - which Scott is also taking - and that looks pretty cool too.

So right now I am torn between dropping one of my two courses from IT for marketing, dropping both and taking marketing, or just dropping one and not taking marketing.

Most people here seem to only take 2-3 courses so my 4 may be a bit much; I only need two to graduate from Queen's so that's not an issue. Going to see after tonight how I feel about things.

Update: Dropped Outsourcing because it appeared to be not too interesting given my background and experience. Innovation looks interesting, I am going to try to switch sections to an earlier one. Think I will try to move into International marketing also (maybe Scott's section depending).

Monday, February 23, 2009

What the f*ck is that!?!

Well we have bats here as I think I've mentioned, they are bigger than in Canada and seem harmless enough. We pass a family of them on the way back to our room at night every day.

Tonight we found out, though, that not only do we have bats but we have REALLY FREAKING BIG BLACK BATS. Scott noticed a birdish creature flying near a tree that we could see mainly in siloutte. He suggested a bat but i appeared to me to be like a big Raven or Hawk or something, then it landed on the branch and hung upside down and began to steo along it upside down. The branch itself actually hung down the thing was so big - Walking up to get a cloer lookmade it pop off and fly again - I am guessing 3 1/2 foot winspan at least. INSANE.

Othe fun wildlife: I also forgot to mention on day 1 we saw a beettle the size of a mouse I sh*t you not. It was upside down with its crazy beatle legs just flailing. The bug was beyond the reasonable abiity to squash size.

Sunday 3

Hopefully this will not be a rehash of Sunday 1, and not as good as Sunday 2, which though the darkest chapter in the series is critically acclaimed as the best.

OK so after the crazy weird half-mall, half department store Happiness Sale, Scott and I ventured off what I think was North only to find nothing but slums and a woman with a baby begging who tried to follow us (tried very hard not to look at the baby).

We then tried to cross the street. Normally this would be a story, but when you are dealing with 4 lanes merging with no lights that I could see and general anarchy it was like a game of Frogger but I have only one quarter and it is my actual life. You have to be quite alert and unfortunately neither Scott nor I were a hundred percent seeing as the time difference made it about 5:00AM our time (have to stop doing that math...). Anyways we finally made it across the street in once piece and started walking up the street. Again words don't really do any of this justice but Scott has photos. Once classic element was a building where the storefront was intact but the entire front facade of the rest of the building looked like 'Children of Men'. In fact a lot the place looked like that movie now that I come to think of it, except a lot more people, especially children. Anyways, we saw all kinds of stuff I don't understand, a guy machete-ing goats heads, a big rooster just walking along the street etc., garbage just dumped everywhere, buildings looking like they are going to fall down, and then we came across a brand-new Subway franchise. That is how this place works and its nuts. Note: Chicken Meatball Marinara aint to bad. I still have not been able to find my beloved McDonald's though - need to add India to my 13 sample countries for Quarter Pounder with Cheese or nearest local equivalent (still not sure what that will be India).

We crossed the street back a couple more times and I tried (unsuccessfully) to get a phone at a super-new Vodaphone store that had no phones on display (no idea why not). We went back to Happiness Sale to get an alarm clock and I eventually bought one next door for a price I would rather not reveal. It was a situation of a willingness-to-pay, low selection and wanting to get back to civilization as fast as possible. We hired a can to take us home, at first the cabby was going to just use the odometer as a guide to what to charge us. I made sure he noticed that I took note of the number and so he turned on the meter. The drive back was pretty harrowing but I have just come to accept death during the rides so I take it is stride. The final fare was actually pretty good so we may do that from now on.

Getting back to campus we both remaked on how much relaxed and at home - this just shows how relative these things are.

Sunday Part 2

Well I've had a day to digest what happened yesterday so I think I can put my exon the 'bus'perience into perspective.

Yesterday Scott and I decided to venture in to Hyderabad by ourselves because a) we needed some supplies b) we had nothing else to do c) we are idiots.

It turns out there is a 'bus' that goes from ISB to 'downtown' Hyderabad, though both terms are somewhat generous. We ventured out on the 'bus' around 4:30PM with a scheduled return at 9:30PM though I told Scott we would need to cab earlier so I could finish reviewing/editing our teams Global Strategy assignment. Driving into town was quite an eye opener, the poverty and wanton destruction everywhere that I had witnessed on my way in looked even worse in the light of day. There is constructions almost EVERYWHERE on the outskirts of town, with condos and office building popping up like mushrooms, but beside this apparent wealth is poverty like I have never seen it in my life. There are families literally living in garbage dumps with little tent homes made out of garbage and stolen scraps of material, especially blue tarpolin, from nearby construction sites. Seeing a little girl about Daniel's age outside of one of these made me profoundly sad.

The bus kept on driving past the dichotomy of poverty/wealth all the way into town with stores like brand new glass Levi's and Vodaphone stores (and high-end car dealerships and fashion stores) literally right next to a totally decayed old building and people in these blue tents. It was just bizarre to try to understand.

People would get off the bus every couple of kilometers into a sea of humanity and a cluster of shops. At one such stop the bus driver slammed the breaks so hard that a little girl went flying and smashed into the seat in front of her and started wailing, her family just motioned the bus driver to keep going - can you imagine that in the U.S.!?

As the bus drove along Scott and I kept on joking about Arbitrage opportunities for clothes, shoes and other items. We then talked about buying a car here and getting it sent over to Canada, coining the best term ever: CARBITRAGE.

Anyways the bus finally dropped us off in this semi-central downtown area with a couple department stores and cars and motorized rickshaws everywhere. Descriptions just really do this justice but I will try (Scott has some photos that may help and we will probably go back since this is where the shuttle always goes so we'll take more).

There were people EVERYWHERE, cars EVERYWHERE, derilict buildings, department stores, woman with babies begging, security, and a brand-new movie theatre playing Bollywood films and Valkyrie (WTF?). In the middle of it was this weird department store that had a huge blow up photo of a girl who looks EXACTLY like Jon Benet Ramsey (which was especially weird because Scott and I were the only non Desi people out of THOUSANDS). The store was having its 'Happiness Sale' with balloons all over the place - still not sure what the hell it meant. Prices on some items were cheap but for the most part prices were similar to Canada, especially on electronics. We spent about 1/2 hour walking around the mall looking at things that made little sense - like stairs that were just blocked off with hald opened boxes, an elevator that had a partial wall blacking it etc, before we both started getting mentally and physically drained by all the sights, sounds and people. We also started getting hungry so we went on a meat hunt. The downstairs of the store had a Pizza Hut, but there was a host for the restaurant and a waiting list so we bailed. We then decided to walk up the street and see where things led.

To be continued...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Part 1

Sunday was a long day, so I'm going to go top to bottom style and break it up , lets see how it goes.

Chocus cereal were have you been all my life: cookie crisp meats something else awesome that hasn't even been invented yet create the cereal that will get me through the first weeks.

Checked out the outdoor pool today pretty awesome, got some nice photos, its a long 5ft deep pool where for some reason they fill it right up to the brim so everyone can play the part of Archimedes. I can't imagine what will happen if it gets full, which will never happen because, awesomely apparently Desi's don't swim - as we found out in Tina's class. Looks like we will have this bad boy to ourselves largely due to an apparent lack of swimming by Indians (as many of us learned in Tina Dacin's class).

Got a few photos:

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Day 1

Our adventures to get all sorted out with regard to administrative things here continue. There is a lot of miscommunication among people and we get bounced around a bit. The IT help desk experience was quite interesting, there were four girls all dressed in traditional saris working there and they seemed very reluctant to tell us anything, especially if it was not good news. This was probably the first IT help desk I have ever been to - and I've been to a lot that did not quickly and rapidly hand out lan cables to whomever needed them. The difference between this and the Queen's setup was pretty stunning. Without a l cable I am at the mercy of the wireless LAN which is causing me headaches in my room given my distance to the main building.

After that adventure So Scott and I were finally able to grad some food from both the convenience store on campus and the cafeteria. The convenience store is likely going to be a godsend - Diet Coke and KitKats! - but unfortunately conditioner is a foreign concept so I could only get Shampoo. I also bought two HUGE bottles of water to get me through the next couple days and other snacks etc.

The cafeteria is a mixed bag, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that we are coming off a week off here since the place is half empty. The food is good but the western options are severely limited after breakfast. Breakfast has a mix of Indian curries, cereals and custom made omelets. The latter I suspect will be my lifeline for the next 6 weeks.

Lunch was a write off for both Scott and I. Out planned two hour naps extended to about 8 hours and we woke up for dinner. We decided to check out the other meal options besides the caf and walked into a smaller room beside it. We got a few looks from people which we attributed to our whiteness and I checked out the spread, which included tasty looking BBQ Chicken - neither Scott nor idea had had meat since Heathrow. The menu for the caf had the BBQ chicken so we signed up but there was no chicken to be found. We asked a few servers, most of whom have minimal English and eventually were told it was sold out. With a HEAPING serving of rice and various bean dishes Scott and I tried to get enough energy to get through until breakfast the next day.

After a coffee (for Scott) and some ill-adivised Ice Cream (for me) we went our separate ways to get some lingering Queen's work out of the way. On our way back we discovered that the beautiful peacock ofthe day are replaced by giant fruit bats at night. Kinda cool, but creepy - things are BIG. When I got back to my room, powered by DietCoke and weird square Indian Chocalte Chip Cookies, I finally finished by Dynamic Pricing sometime around 2:00AM. With the wireless network constantly flipping out on me I had to go out onto a table on the grass to send my Dynamic Pricing stuff to my team. Got eaten alive by mosquitos so luckily it was fast (FYI these are the malaria carrying mosquitos too :O ).

Tomorrow Scott and I are going to investigate going off campus to get some supplies, cigarettes for him, alarm clock + lan cable for me. Maybe we can also find some meat...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Finally met up with Scotty and made it to ISB.
FYI I am running on 4 hours sleep over 1 1/2 days so I apologize for any grammar and spelling errors in advance.
The academic facilities look amazing, but everything is closed right now, Scotty and I are chilling in the computer lab. The campus is GORGEOUS, there are wild peacocks just walking around - too cool.
The ROOM facilities though are a little more sketch. First off they couldn't find a record of what rooms we were supposed to be in and no one here seemed to know what the hell was going on, but eventually we each got our rooms. The sleeping rooms are nice and big (and air conditioned!), the rest of the apartment leaves a little more to be desired. There is no real shower stall or bathtub, just a 2 inch step down and a paper thin shower curtain. More hostel than hotel really, but doable.
Right now we are just killing time until the cafeteria opens, I think the plan is eat then nap and then socialize tonight. Somewhere in there I also have to figure out a time to right up my Dynamic Pricing Final Assignment. :O


Landed in Heathrow, got a few hours of sleep on the plane.

Observation 1: British Airways' entertainment screens are on the back of the seat in front of you and are touch sensitive. The woman behind me didn't seem to realize that she didn't have to POUND it every five minutes and move my chair. Arghhh.

Observation 2: You can't buy British food in Britain anymore apparently...where's my fry up breakfast?

Two hours to my flight - haven't met up with Scott yet, no idea how to get in touch.