Time: I’ve learned over the last decade that by changing my watch to the local time before a long flight, I can reduce jet lag to nothing (don’t know about you but it works for me). The trick is pretending it is the time zone you are going to and acting appropriately. I even try it a day before boarding…but then must remember to make the plane instead of going to bed.
I leave Sunday night for New Delhi, the first stop on our delegation’s itinerary. I just googled the world clock and the time in New Delhi is 10…and a half hours later than New Jersey!
What?! A half hour? Somehow I missed that lesson in 6th grade when I had to memorize Greenwich Mean Time as the international reference point, divide the world into 24 time zones and find the International date line on a map. I thought China was strange with every region pretending to be in Beijing’s time zone but how could you get ½ hour off?
India it turns out isn’t the only one with rounding error problems. Afghanistan and Sri Lanka are also ½ hour off and Nepal is 40 minutes off the mark. Saudi Arabia is…well that is for a different trip. Apparently, before the conference in 1884 that fixed GMT, folks just figured out when the sun was directly above and called that noon. India apparently got stuck between GMT +5 and +6 and decided the whole country should be in the middle. There’s a lesson in here somewhere.
Medicine: If I brought all the medicine with me that people are telling me I need in India, I would not have room for clothes. No shots were required by India which made me feel pretty good… until I learned that what a country requires is to protect its population from you not you from what the country can do to you. I went to a local international health office to learn what was recommended (and called a couple delegates to ask them what they were doing).
The health office I picked to advise me, (part of a franchise owned by a lawyer which should have been my first clue), was run by a doppelganger for Nurse Rached from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. After ticking off the deadly plagues I could contract for which they had pills, shots, salves, balms, poultices and vaccinations for sale, she then described the many ways I could die from diseases that there is no cure for! I think she wanted me to take out insurance to have my body returned.
Yes, I spent a small fortune on my shots. I also told Nurse Rached that I thought Halloween was over and she could dispense with the scary stories. She was not amused. I’ve no doubt half of her patients/clients cancel their trips after her harangue and donate their tickets to charity.
I did however, promise to go to McDonalds and steal a carton of straws so that the outside of a plastic bottle will never touch my lips and to shoot on sight anyone who offers me water from a previously cracked and refilled water bottle. This last has been mentioned to me by 4324 well meaning friends who have been to India (or met someone who has) and, I’ve no doubt, have personal points of view about the subsequent problems associated with that error.
Clothes: Every time I travel for more than a week, anywhere, I’m thankful for being a man. I have enough clothes of the same boring color I can squeeze into a modest sized valise… and still fit my medicines from Nurse Rached. The one problem is a suit jacket. I’m going to need one and wish I could find a travel jacket I could unravel but that might appear just a bit odd in a business meeting where our hosts are dressed in suit and tie. And the tie is another problem since I only wear one for funerals and prefer to wear bolos…I’ll bring both. Oh, and I did pack my recrutingblogs knit cap for a photo op at the Taj. Perhaps I’ll even discover a little Dave Mendoza there.
Tech Equipment: Compact Cannon Camera- 2gig capacity, Dell 11z Inspiron w extra 6-cell battery, 1T external hard disk with all files from main computer, Sony flat headphones with white noise, (2) Electrical adapters, RIM’s Storm upgraded for 1 month to work (fingers crossed) in India.
Note to self: Remember to call credit card company and let them know where you are going so they don’t, on your behalf, cancel your card when they see Int’l charges and can’t reach you…because you are in India and your smartphone goes unanswered while gulping Nurse Rached's immodium after accidentally ingesting a drop of water.
Thanks to all who offered questions via recruitngblogs, facebook and twitter to dig deeper into recruiting practices.