Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Obama's Visit to India -Feeling Close to Home

I was in India for the Presidential election that sent Obama to the White House........that was November 2008........two years later, except for a few visits to the US, this was the closest I have been to the President of the United States of America.

Indian's love politics...........they love Indian politics, and they keep a close eye on what happens in the US.......Bill Clinton is still endeared by the India as a whole.....he left an indelible mark on the the global political atmosphere and most Indian's judge all US Presidents on the "Clinton Benchmark".

Looking back two years ago, I was fresh into India, and most of the people I was meeting, whether casually or at business meetings, would ask me what I thought about the Presidential Election in the US.

I always gave a similar evasive answer.........Why?.....My mother always explained to me that "It is never smart to discuss politics or religion with people you do not know will never make friends"

Mama knows best...........and she also knows her son very well.

I am a very patriotic person..........I love my country and I respect the "Office" of the President of the United States.........for the time being, my "politics" ends with that statement.

I have had the pleasure of meeting, in person five of the last seven Presidents of the United States of America.

Jimmy Carter - Denver, Colorado
Gerald Ford - Denver, Colorado
Ronald Regan - Houston, Texas
Bill Clinton - (twice) - Denver, Colorado
George W. Bush - Lafayette, Louisiana

Hosting the President of the United States in your hotel, is no easy task..........preparations begin as early as two weeks in advance.........and for the time that the President is in your hotel, the entire property becomes the "White House". I have been through this drill several times as you can it was no surprise to me to read about the amount of preparations that were taking place in India ahead of his 3 day visit to India.

Here is a list:
Air Force One
Air Force Two
Nuclear Button - or "Nuke -u -lar" if your are George "W".....he always had trouble with that word!
33 Warships
1 Aircraft Carrier
Marine One - the Presidential helicopter
2 Jets - with advanced communications and security systems
40 - Vehicles in his "convoy"
800 "Luxury" Hotel Rooms.........none of the hotels we are managing unfortunately! That's just Mumbai....there will be another 800 for his Delhi visit.....each city!
13 heavy Lift Aircraft - to carry the vehicles and equipment
3 - helicopters
500 - Security Staff from the US alone - not counting the personnel from the Indian Armed Forces
Sniffer dogs - I remember these animals.........treated very, very well!

I have read that his visit had a price tag of $200 million US dollars per day...........I'm not sure.......

As for me..........the closest I got to Mr. Obama was to see Air Force One.......and AF Two parked at Indira Gandhi International Airport as I was boarding a flight to Visakhapatnam. I managed to "sneak" three pictures, along with several Indian passengers boarding my flight.

They were all snapping pictures with the cameras on their phones......very cool to see their excitement as well. It was very nice to see Air Force One parked at the airport in made me proud.....just as proud when I see the American Flag flying high when I pass the American Embassy here in Delhi.......its always nice to be close to home.

I missed the traffic jams............closed roads and of course the chance to meet him............but maybe there will be a time..........

I did take a picture of a very cute billboard that I saw down in Vizag on my  trip. For those readers who are not familiar with the brand "Amul", they are one of India's largest manufacturers of diary products; butter. milk, cheese, and even ice cream!

They have a very creative advertising group..........

Khanna means food or to eat

Thanks for visiting Mr. and Hillary look great in your Indian clothing.

1 comment:

K said...

Amul's Ads