Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What another amazing day in Nagpur, India!! We were hosted by the Rotary Club of Nagpur Ishanya for the day and they showed us a great time.
We met at the Deekshabhoomi temple and learned all about Dr. Ambedkar, an important figure here in Nagpur. Part of the temple is a huge room where you can make an echo 7 times if you stand in the exact centre of the room.
From there, we headed to the 0 mile marker, the geographical center of india. We then visited a Hindu temple where we each made a wish to Ganesh.
We had an amazing visit to the Miniature Engineering World of Iqbal Ahmed – he is an incredible engineer who created the world’s smallest steam engine – it is literally the size of a thumbnail and the miniature train can pull 3 adults. That, among his other miniatures, was really the highlight of Jean’s day!
We then visited another Guiness Book of World Records holder, the smallest woman in the world (2009, 2012, 2013), 19 year old Jyoti Kisanji Amge.
After a delicious Rajistan-style lunch at the home of Rotarian Anand Mohata we visited a shop full of beautiful saris and an upscale jewelry shop to see some amazing traditional Indian jewelry. It was lovely, but quite out of our price range!
We visited a train museum that included a park full of children playing and we saw some bats – just to make us remember it is Halloween today! The bats were much, much bigger than we have at home and there were a lot of them!!
We then drove to a nearby town to visit the Buddhist Dragon temple. It is a beautiful structure without any beams (made in a triangle shape) and it was very serene.
After an exciting drive back to Nagpur, we briefly toured the outside of the High Court, a very imposing building, and headed to a club for a wonderful meal. We learned all about jugad – how to get things done without any resources – an admired Indian trait.
We are very thankful to our wonderful and energetic hosts and their families for today. It was a day packed full of interesting sights, tastes and experiences!
(I will hopefully post pictures soon - I'm having some technical difficulties!!)
- Sarah.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tuesday, October 30

The hospitality we continue to receive in Nagpur is second to none.  The Indian people leave no detail behind.  The outgoing GSE Team leaders, Dr. Ravi Waikar and Rtn Ajay Narakesari, hosted dinner at the cricket stadium on Monday evening.  As we arrived with Dr. Ravi Waikar, Mr. Sanjay Aurora and Dr. Darshin all we knew was that we would be eating in open space.  We strolled along the stadium perimeter heading what ended up the opposite direction of our destination.  We got turned back around and backtracked in the right direction, applying mosquito repellant as we walked!  Enjoying the night sky (it becomes dark here at approx. 6PM now and most of the year, they tell us) and pleasant conversation, we turn the corner to enter the field where a party of rotarians awaited our arrival.  Another humbling moment.  Dr. Ravi's team, who greeted us in the morning introduced us to Rtn Ajay's team.  The set up is comparable to what we would see at a wedding reception at home.  Clean white linens draping the tables, lilac coloured cloths, a long hot buffet table, dessert table, and even a bar.  Wow.  We were humbled.   
Dr. Vinay Tule offered a tour of the spectacular cricket club, which also houses many other amenities: squash courts, gymnasium, bar, and a display of signed cricket bats, just to name a few.  As we mingled and enjoyed each others' company and a fine India meal, we began to learn and appreciate more about Nagpur.  I know the excitement for what is to come was building inside of me, and when we arrived back at the hotel, we went to bed like "kids at Christmas", just as Jean's friend described us at the airport!  
We received a brief orientation about the "dos" and don'ts" for our stay in India (do carry a *photocopy* of your passport, do carry small amounts of money, do ask about the drinking water in your host home, do remove your shoes when entering a home, don't drive... much to Alain's displeasure!).  At noon, we parted ways and headed to our first host home.  From there, our days were quite varied (home cooked meal, school visits, temple visit, and a few of us got set up with a mobile phone).  
This evening's gathering took place at Rotary Club of Nagpur West where the highlights were participating in the Kojagiri celebration (take a peek at this website for more information ), exchanging club banners and sampling a sweet  and crisp fried dough in a tasty syrup.  We made our first presentation this evening, which was especially exciting because District 3030's outgoing team to District 7810 was in attendance.  They seem eager to visit New Brunswick and Maine.  

You haven't quite had supper yet back at home, but I am plenty tired, and clearly beginning to get over the jet lag and really adjust to the time difference.  
Tomorrow will be a full day rich in Nagpur's history.  We visit a temple and college, tour other cultural and historical sites, eat lunch at the home of a local rotarian and have dinner at an Italian restaurant called ZinQ.  Also, Becky connected with a local bird expert and will head out early tomorrow morning for some birding (I don't know the correct terminology, Becky, correct me if I'm wrong!).  
Good night, our friends.  

Monday, October 29, 2012

A warm welcome

A warm welcome is a bit of an understatement!  As we arrived at Nagpur airport, Rotary District 3030's greeting was one we will not soon forget.  We met several Rotarians this morning, including District Governor Sanjay, and Rotarian Sanjay (pictured in the white shirt) who has organized our itinerary for the duration of our stay in India.  A GSE group from Nagpur, India, also greeted us.  We are excited to get to know them better; they will be travelling to Canada (to our District 7810) this coming May!

More posts to come!  Off to see a bit of Nagpur, then dinner at the cricket stadium.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

We made it to India.

We are currently at Mumbai Intl. airport waiting to get on a connecting flight to Nagpur.

So far so good, we got all our luggage and no issues with flights.

As soon as we get better internet access we will update the blog with some photos.

We got in Mumbai at just around 12:00am, and it was 28 degrees and very humid.

The airport is really bis as we had to take a 10min shuttle just to get to the correct terminal.

Our exposure to Mumbai has been limited to the airport and some view of the city at night; we were still exposed to some very eye opening sight.

Stay tuned for more news,


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

India? Where in India?

19 Sleeps!

One of the questions we are frequently asked is, "where will you be travelling in India?". 

Here is a map of the state of Maharashtra, where we will be spending our time (4-5 days in each city).  We land in Mumbai and then fly to Nagpur.  Over the next 28 days, we will work our way west and end up back in Mumbai at the end of the tour.