Thursday, January 12, 2012

Final days in India

by Joyce Claterbos

We've made the local papers three times so far about various events we've attended. ASB, the school here, is using our visit to generate a lot of PR for their MBA program because it's so new. Having a relationship with a US school is a real coup for Indian schools. 

The group at the Hill Palace, one of the residencies of the royal family of Kerala.
Front to back: Mahesh, Erica, Joe, Alisha; Joyce KB Aaron, Natalie, Liz, Gordon, Case, Helen, Apryl; Wes, Jordan, Anobio, Wes, Gordon, Boone, Nick.
Friday we were in Cochin and saw the Hill Palace, one of the residencies of the Kerala royal family. It was donated to the state and is now a museum. Regrettably, we could only take pictures outside so there are no shots of the beautiful gold crown and the formal reception rooms. In the evening we saw a presentation of traditional dances and costumes. It was pretty spectacular. We met a person who graduated from KU in 2008! 

We got to ride on a houseboat on Lake Vambanad Monday. It was a lot of fun. We had lunch cooked on the boat and most of us went swimming. We were tied up to the bank next to some rice fields and the student found a coconut tree that hung out over the lake. Several climbed the tree, picked a coconut, and then jumped into the lake. Lots of fun until the owner of the tree came up in his boat and asked us to quit! We left his coconuts in a small pile on the bank for him.

Tuesday we visited a cashew factory and had a boat ride and dinner at Sundara Theeram, a local lake. We walked down a dirt track to the lake to a covered set of tables. It started raining after the dinner so KB hired a jeep to carry up back up the track to the bus which was parked on the paved road. I think the students had the most fun on the ride back up the track. It was muddy and bumpy and was a lot like the safari ride at Animal Kingdom at DisneyWorld! Some students were invited into a local woman's home to meet her mother and children. 
Erik, Case, and Jordan meet school children at Hill Palace. We saw three different groups of children visiting the Palace that day.

We will have our final dinner at a restaurant called Island Shack tonight. It's on the beach in Kovalum and it is pretty primitive, but the seafood comes directly to the beach and goes straight to the kitchen. We'll have Tandoori fish, lobster, and shrimp with lime sodas. We will sit on plastic chairs on the sand at the beach with candles on the table. You eat with your right hand in India and use the local bread to scoop up the juices so it can get a little messy. You get a bowl of warm water with a lemon slice at the end to clean your hands. The bathroom was also primitive, but it flushed! Still a step above camping. Dinner is usually at 9 pm so that's been a challenge to get used to.

I think we're all ready to come home. It has been intense, but we all agree, worth the effort. See you next week in class. Make sure you ask us about our trip and to see our pictures. 

Joyce Claterbos is a marketing lecturer at the University of Kansas School of Business.