Saturday, May 22, 2010
India, Spring 2010
Aquarium at Vancouver airport, with a Lancome store in the background!
I ended up going back to India for work. I couldn't believe it; I hadn't gone for 17 years, and then I ended up going twice in the same year! It's really different for me to go there by myself rather than with family. I was excited to get to see new cities in other parts of India aside from where my family lives, but it's not ideal to be a female there alone, so I basically just stuck to the hotel in the evenings when I was free. The thing is that even though most people speak English, people like taxi drivers continue to lack it enough that I didn't feel safe enough to just get a taxi to take me around in the evening. So I didn't do any sightseeing, but I did manage to still take a lot of pictures. One of the things that struck me the most was the slums in Mumbai. I was staying at a decent hotel, but it turned out it was close to the slum area, the same place where they filmed Slumdog Millionaire. It's so fascinating that people will live on the streets in shanty-town conditions, that babies will be born, grow up, even work at menial jobs in some cases, get married, produce more babies, grow old, and then die, and never really leave the slum. Children defecate on the side of the road, women are able to safely hang their clothes to dry or simply to store on ropes they have somehow fastened to the stone walls against which their tents are built. And I should point out that their clothes are clean and bright, because even the poorest of the poor have pride and dignity. Unfortunately, I didn't really get any photos of that because I only drove past this area on the way to my work events every day, so I didn't think it would be a good idea to get the taxi to stop for photos. Furthermore, the road was so bumpy that it made it too difficult to get good photos while we were moving.
The other city that was really interesting that I wished I would have had more time to see was Kolkata. Sadly I only had one day there, and it was filled with meetings, but it was such a lush and green area with these gorgeous old British buildings all over the place. I learned that the British had used the city as their capital when they ruled India.
It was also kind of interesting to see Bangalore, especially as I had to go to California after and ended up finding myself in both the Silicon Valleys of the world. It looked the same: big, modern buildings that were bright and shiny. Anyway, I should get these pics posted, but it looks like I'll have to put them in a new post, at least until I get this blog figured out.