Monday, January 26, 2009
Return to the "City of Destiny"
Jeff Sheehan,Jessica's(Parker's friend)dad, was our first house guest. How he managed to find himself in India was because of me. This is a story of it's own, that I will share, but let's just say that it was another one of those strange things that took place that made me think that India was where we belonged.....destiny.
Luckily he was here on business, a trip that I was to attend with him, but was unable to because of my need to be in Vizag. The Doubletree in Vizag is positioned to be open in a few months, and we are in the window of identifying our Management Team.
Notice periods are long in India, a minimum of one month and they can be longer.....3 to 4 months for the more senior positions.
Two other members of the team and I were returning to Vizag on Monday January 19th for 3 1/2 days of final interviews for key positions throughout the hotel.
Although this marked the first overnight trip for me, I was comfortable leaving Linda and Preston to experience India without me.....all in all they had 18 days in Delhi, and they were adjusting amazingly well. Linda was getting a bit more adventurous and learning.....and Preston was busy at school.
My flight was scheduled to leave Delhi at 5:55am, which means with the tightened security at the airport my day started at 3:00am, to be ready to leave the house by 4:00am; by 4:15 the driver and I were to reach Sonya's house and then on to the airport. Although the driver was here on time, the fog was so thick I instructed him to go very slow....I did not want him to hit anything, or anyone! This is Delhi after all and there were people walking on the side of the road at 4:00am, and we were using it to guide us as me crawled along. Winters in Delhi are notorious for fog....and having grown up in Louisiana, I am intimately familiar with fog, but honestly, I have never experienced FOG like this in my life until moving here.
It is thick......very thick and dense,mixed with smoke, which is common in Delhi due to the many people that use wood for keeping warm, and cooking. It made the journey to Sonya's and to the airport very long. We arrived to find that our flight had been delayed 5 hours.
By 11:00am the fog had cleared enough that we were able to take off and were airborne. Vizag and several candidates were waiting for us. Monday was a very long day of interviews, but the end of the day was most special.
The team and I had been invited to the owners home for dinner with his family. although we were interviewing candidates for Executive Chef for the Doubletree, I am convinced that the best Chef in Vizag is Sarat's wife, Bhavani.
Her food was fantastic......and was such a treat at the end of such a long day.
Tuesday was similar, but without the flight delay.....interviews started at 9:00am, and went throughout the day. Lunch was prepared by a candidate for Executive Chef.....it was very good, and dinner was prepared by another culinary team candidate. We selected both of them.....
Wednesday more interviews......and two hours touring the hotel site with our General Manager, Shoeb. Things are falling into place and the Doubletree by Hilton-Visakhapatnam is "destined" to open in a few short months. After the tour of the property, we had approximately an hour or so before the sun disappeared, so we took a quick drive north on Waltair Beach Road......Vizag was named "Waltair" during British Colonial times. Sonya urged us to take a walk down to the beach even though we were all in business clothes. While I was on the beach, I missed Preston's second soccer game.....this time against the French School......another loss for his team.....
Vizag is gorgeous......and each time I visit the city I fall in love with it again......here are some snapshot's of my most recent trip to the "City of Destiny".
The pictures: The Doubletree by Hilton-Visakhapatnam, Ashish Hasrat, GM F&B;Shoeb, GM of the Doubletree;Sonya, Corporate Director of Human Resources on the beach in Vizag, Visakhapatnam Sunset, Tombs, Vizag Fishing Boats at the end of their day.