Fair warning: My next several posts are going to revolve around my trip to Lyon and Paris, France with my classmates from the UT Dallas Naveen Jindal School of Management Cohort MBA Class of 2013. We are required to blog about our trip and especially take time to reflect not only on what we do, but also on how it compares to business and culture within the US. This is my first trip to Europe, so let's hope it's a grand adventure!
Sunday, May 19, 2013
To say the least, I am on an adventure. Today marked my first arrival in a foreign country. The whole thing has been immensely stressful thus far not least because I have no idea what I am doing, but my biggest fear was that I would miss a flight to my next stop. Of course I chose a somewhat roundabout way to get to Lyon, France, but I had to do what was cheapest!
I flew out of DFW* to Chicago-O’Haire, with only twenty minutes to spare between the seat belt light going off and the boarding calls for my flight from Chicago-O’Haire to Madrid. Sweating slightly and exhausted already, I boarded my Iberia flight. Let me tell you—it was no picnic. That’s no insult toward the Iberia crew, they were excellent. But the full flight was crowded and hot, and I didn’t sleep a wink. Halfway through it I was almost wishing I had never left the ground (that was probably mostly due to nausea).
Still, I made it to Madrid. They may have the most confusing airport I’ve ever been to (even worse than Denver, and that’s saying something). I think I walked in 4 circles and did maybe 4 laps down and back in the terminals. I speak enough Spanish, and I still felt like I was on a wild goose chase to get from customs to security to the terminal for my next flight, which I felt was poorly marked even though it was just a letter and a number. Still, I found it and boarded my first flight that required walking out of the boarding tunnel and across the flight deck to the plane itself. The plane from Madrid to Lyon was small and unmarked, but was perhaps the most comfortable of the three considering it was short and not crowded with the friendliest flight attendant. At this point, I could have been too sleepy to care.
Upon arriving in Lyon, my first objective was to get my bag and some Euros. I have to applaud American Airlines and Iberia here—I was really shocked they got my bags from Dallas to Lyon with no errors, what with the short transfer times and flight delays. Having heard such negative things about AA and its operations, I was expecting that surely their operations would lose my baggage. I was pleasantly surprised that it was conveyer-ing toward me when I reached Lyon.
Getting Euros was more simple than I had imagined, then I grabbed a taxi and showed him the address to our hotel. Here I learned my first lesson in European tipping. According to my peers, I may have been overcharged for the taxi I took. Gratuity had probably already been added but I tipped a more than fair amount anyway and got at least 5 “Thank you!”’s from my driver. Oh well, as long as I was at my final destination I didn’t care.
Lunch in Lyon. Our first glass of wine in France--at an Italian Pizza Place. The irony!
Thankfully, most of all my peers had all just arrived as well. We met some of the EMYLYON students for a happy hour and some much needed wine, then spent the remainder of the evening in an English pub. Exhausted, I went to bed around 11pm France time. I found Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on TV, figured out how to play it in English, and put on my comfy sweater before curling up. Finally, I was able to relax, even if just for a little while….
One of my first photos of Lyon's architecture and statues.
Happy Hour with classmates
Relaxing after our long trips in!
*I feel that DFW needs to adopt moving walkways. IAH and Madrid both have them, as well as many other airports. They’re very useful and at the very least offer the illusion that I’m moving faster…. Perhaps I’m just whining.