The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Just gotta get right out of here

For the first time I can recall—going back more than two years, at least, and probably longer—I don't have a flight booked to anywhere. I started realizing this as I got closer to flying to Boston last weekend. Combine that with the brand-spanking-new passport I just got, and I feel oddly confined.

So, possessed of a ton of frequent-flyer miles but with no possibility of making the next level of elite status this year, and also facing a dramatic shift in my work-life balance in just over 110 days, I have started plotting my escape.

Where to go, though?

First criterion: Get out of the U.S. A passport without stamps (or creases, scuff marks, bent edges, etc.) just looks sad. Unused. Unloved. Wherever I go in December, then, must get me a passport stamp.

Second: Use frequent-flyer miles. Even though it's August, the number of available seats for miles in mid-December looks pretty grim to a lot of places. Forget most warm spots; forget popular Christmas destinations. At least, not for less than 100,000 miles, and a four-day trip just isn't worth that amount.

Third: Eight hours or less from O'Hare. I'm not relishing the thought of a longer flight for a four-day trip. That rules out Asia, most of South America, and parts of Europe. I can live with that.

So: Candidates. Initially I thought of going someplace warm and sitting on a beach. There are non-stops on American from Chicago to Cancún, Cabo San Lucas, México, and Acapulco. But I'm not really a resort kind of person, and getting anywhere more interesting in Mexico carries risks right now I'm not completely comfortable taking. A connection in Miami opens up the Carribean and Central America; but the number of available seats makes that expensive.

Of course, I'd go to London for almost any reason anyway. It's my second-favorite city in the world, it's only 7 hours away, and in December business-class miles tickets are only 35,000 miles in some cases. But think: London in December? I don't expect to sit along the Thames and sip beer in the six hours of daylight I get before the sun sets just before 4pm.

I think I've settled on Quito, Ecuador. With a connection in Miami it's 7 hours from Chicago (and no overnight flights!). It's reasonably warm. It has living history, being a UNESCO World Heritage site. And very few people speak English, which will force me to practice my Spanish.

More information as events warrant.

One year on

I can scarcely believe I've spent (only!) a year in the CCMBA already. We started last August 14th in London, and we're already almost done with our fifth term. I'd write more, but I've already spent most of today working.

About that workload: for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that I'm a nerd, and not most of which is that I've been a consultant for most of my professional life, I've tracked the time spent on this program. So far, including getting to and from the residencies, time in class, pre-reading, homework, team meetings, etc., I've spent 1,157 hours on it. For those keeping score at home, that's almost 7 months of full-time work. This is in addition to the actual full-time work I've had to do during the same period.

I honestly have no idea what I'll do with all that time when I'm finally done with the program.

I am, however, done for the day. Done. Except for that Operations paper I need to finish. But it's not due until tonight, so I'm off with Parker to go watch the Blue Angels, which have just buzzed me 200 meters directly above my house.

Back in the US

The first day or so back is always hectic and exhausting. I still marvel that the 11½-hour time change from India was easier than the 9-hour change from St. Petersburg (or, come to think of it, the 8-hour change from Dubai.)

I'm still getting back into my life, so I'll end here, but for this non-sequitur: I have t oget these cookies.

St. Petersburg Residency, Day 8

Ah, the quandry. Quandries, in fact: there are two.

The biggest is that it's 4:30am in St. Petersburg but only 7:30pm in Chicago. I need to be back on Chicago time by Tuesday morning. Thus, I'm staying up very late in order to remain conscious at work in three days. I hope it works.

The other is that I took some photos of my classmates at the end-of-term party tonight, but I haven't secured permission for general publication yet. On Facebook, only Dukies and my family can see the Duke photos (if I've set up the permissions right). Here, on The Daily Parker, anyone on the Intertubes can see them. So I tend to publish photos of Parker instead of my classmates, because he has no privacy rights and they do.

So there are a ton of photos I'd like to publish to show off my photo skillz, but this is the only one for which I have permission to publish so far:

Yeah, they're that cute together. Before prospective CCMBA students get all excited after Googling the program, I should point out that they've been engaged for quite some time, and only one of them is in my class. Still, this is the kind of shot that makes the photographer blow on his fingernails, so I just had to publish it.

Dehli Terminal 3 completed

Back in February, some of us got the opportunity to tour Indira Gandhi Airport Terminal 3, then under construction. It opened this week:

The new terminal—Terminal 3—was "inaugurated" on July 3rd (Saturday) with India's great and good in attendance, and flights will start from July 14th. Mumbai’s airport is also getting a new terminal, but I don’t think it’s nearly as far along as Delhi’s, which needed completing before the Commonwealth Games this October. There is much excitement in the Indian media about the scale of the thing. Nobody seems able to decide whether it will be the world’s third-, fifth-, or eighth-biggest airport terminal. But it seems pretty certain that it will be a vast improvement over what came before (that’s a low bar, I suppose). Perhaps readers can help resolve this issue: in terms of floor area, which are the world's biggest airport terminals, and how big are they? (The most reliable stuff I've seen puts Delhi T3 in roughly the same ballpark as Madrid's T4, the Mexico City airport, Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi, and a couple of others—around 500,000 square meters—and about half the size of Beijing's new terminal, and a third that of Dubai's).

Of course, however spiffy the building, there is always scope for Heathrow T5-style shenanigans with baggage and so on to mess things up. I’m curious, therefore, to hear from any readers travelling through Delhi after July 15th. Do let us know how you found the new terminal. I myself won’t be passing through until mid-October. I am timing my annual visit home until after the Commonwealth-Games madness, such as it is, is over. By then, teething troubles will hopefully have been sorted out.

Good news, bad news

The good: Spain beating Germany last night. The bad: The sound of "¡Olé olé olé olé!" ricocheting around my aching head this morning. The ugly: Receving a (hopefully-mail-merged) message from the program reminding me of the importance of attending class after I missed for the second time in my MBA program.