Saturday, December 10, 2011


I'm back in Minneapolis for the first time since we moved. It's a bit of a strange feeling, not least because I'm here by myself (just here for a week of pretty intense work) and I'm staying in a hotel (interesting history can be found here). Both of these facts mean that it would be miserable for the kids to be here, plus they have school, so it's just me.

I'd forgotten what a long journey it is to get here; it is almost halfway round the world, but even so it's quite a schlep. Usually I'd go with Air France and Delta, meaning just one stop in Paris, but that flight was all sold out, so I went with BA through London and Chicago. The bonus of this was having the Bangalore-London leg in a 747, and being in the upper deck. BA's business class is pretty nice, and I did appreciate how their seats go totally flat so I got a few hours' sleep in both of the long flights. It was really strange, though, going through Heathrow. Terminal 5 is very nice, but after being in sunny Bangalore for the last few months it was a total culture shock to be in what feels like a shopping mall in London with Christmas decorations all over the place. It was surprising how early it got dark - around 4pm - in Bangalore the sun sets between 6:30 and 7 every evening. Also being there for only a couple of hours and not having the chance to see friends or family made me feel quite rootless, so all in all it was a strange experience. Chicago airport was quiet by the time we arrived, and I had a few hours to hang around. I got some free wifi at the American Airlines Admirals Club. Their literature didn't seem to feature any apostrophes in "Admirals", and there was a noticeable and disappointing lack of admirals, or indeed any seafaring theme - just an obnoxiously loudmouthed guy at the bar.

Anyway, I got into Minneapolis on schedule at around midnight and cabbed to the hotel. It was about 14ºF, quite a shock after not having experienced anything below 60ºF since May. That morning there was  a meeting scheduled for 8am, and I figured if I was going to be totally dazed anyway I might as well attempt to go. I did manage to get up around 6:30, and room service breakfast arrived at 7 - an omelette with hashed browns, which seemed like a good idea when I ordered it the night before. However I think that the tiredness got to me, and the fact that the food was a lot greasier than anything I've eaten in months, so the food only stayed down for five minutes. It seemed ridiculous that I had never been sick in India, but within 12 hours of getting back to America I should be throwing up, but there we are. I went back to bed for a couple of hours after which I felt much better, so went into the office.

Got loads done, really good to see so many old friends and have the chance to chat with my boss and colleagues, and have time to discuss all kinds of stuff, not just a quick half hour phone call. I've got a packed calendar for this coming week, and really looking forward to working out lots of stuff. By the evening I was feeling pretty good, and had a delicious dinner and got to bed around 9pm. I did wake up a bit in the night but slept pretty well. This morning I got to Skype with Emma and Dara, and had a totally great breakfast in the hotel restaurant - Dutch apple pancake and amazing local back bacon. Yum. Now I'm going to nip over to Target to pick up some stuff to take back home, and this afternoon I'm going to visit some really good friends for dinner - really looking forward to it, even though it's probably going to be a bit strange to be there without Emma and the kids.

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