1/4/04

Passage to India

One of the benefits of moving towards the top of the "heap" in education is that you get more opportunities to go to conferences. In the international arena, the conferences are usually somewhere very interesting and/or nice. So, Helen and I were delighted when we were able to attend the International Baccalaureate conference in Mumbai (Bombay). Helen had been to India, but not Mumbai, so it was a new experience for both of us.

We went with our Director, Barbara, and three Indonesian colleagues - Imam, the Junior High School Principal, Darma, the Middle Years Program Coordinator and Frida, the Primary Years Program Coordinator. After nearly a day's travel, we arrived at Mumbai airport, at around 11pm, having stopped over at the spick and span KL airport. Mumbai was on a par with Surabaya airport.

We paid our money for two taxis to the Taj Mahal Hotel. Outside, two dishevelled individuals ushered us to a dark carpark, full of ancient-looking black taxis. We were three-to-a-taxi, and our luggage, obviously, wasn't going to fit. It was lashed on to the roof or tied down onto the boot. We were amazed. In Indonesia you wouldn't get past the first set of traffic lights with it still intact. We made it to the hotel without incident.

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We all did a day of the pre-conference, followed by three-and-a half days of conference proper. It ranged from inspiring, to interesting, to pathetic. I went to one workshop, described by a fellow participant as "some academic mumbling his way through a research paper", but two of the keynote speakers were terrific.

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