It took us thirty hours to get to Hubli (although by other accounts it was more), but we finally made it safely. The route from Boston to Dubai to Bengaluru was pretty straightforward. Once in Bengaluru, we met with the Chinese team of students, who greeted us with big smiles. Shortly after our arrival, we were informed that our final flight to Hubli (which was set to depart in five hours) had been delayed by five hours.
We arrived in Bengaluru shortly after 2am.
After 20 hours or so of travel, the last thing I needed was a delay. However, in the spirit of welcoming new experiences with optimism, I searched the airport with a couple of other students for something to do to kill time. After a warm shower and breakfast, I felt reinvigorated and ready to take on the rest of the trip. That is until I came face to face with this:
Our propeller plane greeted us with a big smile.
I’m no stranger to propeller planes, as I’ve had the need for short-distance flights in the past, but I’ve had pretty good luck avoiding them in the past few years. Despite the numerous thoughts running through my head, I was for once thankful for my sleep deprivation, as it allowed me to pass out shortly after takeoff, and remain asleep until the final approach.
Upon exiting the plane, a gust of hot air hit me, sparking the realization that I’d be enjoying pleasant, albeit hot weather. As soon as we walked out of the airport, we were greeted by locals who adorned us with tricolor garland and kumkuma, a very powerful moment marking my arrival to India.
Once at KLE’s Scholar House, we met the other students of the program and were immediately treated to lunch. I thought I had mentally prepared myself for the spicy food, but quickly realized I was wrong (it probably didn’t help that I bit into a pepper). Regardless, the food was incredibly delicious and gave us all an opportunity to get to know each other over a meal. During a 5:30pm orientation session, we were welcomed by KLE’s vice-chancellor, and were introduced to other program faculty.
After the session, I had a chance to familiarize myself with the dormitory. I found that my room’s water heater had broken, but was of little importance since a cold shower was just what I needed. It was only 7pm, but my exhaustion finally took over and I succumbed to sleep shortly after closing my eyes. Despite some rocky sleep caused by a combination of jet-lag, heat, and loud noises outside my window, I was up and ready by 7:30am, ready to take on our first day…