People of India

I was told I would fall in love with India before I left and that I did.  Home to over 1 billion people this country is nothing short of amazing wonderment.  People ask me two things about my India experience;  the first, what was the most surprising thing about India?  The second, what do you miss the most?  To answer the first question, the first thing I noticed was there were people everywhere and lots of color!  Color – color of bright sari’s, blankets, spices, decorations, and jewelry.

As for the second question, what do I miss the most… the People.  The people of India are one of the most genuine, caring, loving, and spiritual people I have met.  Although 47% of their families live in 1 room houses, they are not poor, and in many cases feel they have a richer or just as rich quality of life.  Their passion for life and simplistic way of life is admirable; focus on family, religion – where religion isn’t just something on Sundays it’s ingrained in their everyday life.

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Posted by on November 23, 2011 in Travels


Last day of work – November 11

November 11, 2011 – 11/11/11 !  Last day at Bangalore office…

The staff that I worked with were the nicest I have ever worked with!  They surprised me on my last day and said I needed to go to a “scheduling meeting” and went in the pantry and saw everyone I had worked with.  They overwhelmed me with nice gifts!  They presented me with an India painting and a gold Rickshaw. – so nice.  I loved them both!  Thank you everyone!   Throughout the day I got little heart notes from staff and gifts – was completely unexpected and so thoughtful of everyone!

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Posted by on November 18, 2011 in Travels


Last few days in Bangalore

Last week in Bangalore!  :(  Will miss everyone I’ve met here!

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Posted by on November 11, 2011 in Travels


Hampi – Day 2

Hampi – Day 2: November 6, 2011

More pictures from Hampi.  The second day was nice we got to relax in Hampi and went to markets most of the day.  We found a great place that was selling gems in and bought some onyx and other rings that we had made.  Loved the shopping there – great prices!

We went back to the Mango Tree for lunch – it was so good and beautiful overlooking the river decided to go back.  Hampi is kind of a hippie feel town, slow paced, and not as many people.  I really enjoyed the little town-Definitely a place to visit if you’re coming to India!

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Posted by on November 9, 2011 in Travels


Hampi – November 5 – Day 1

Hampi – November 5, 2011

Hampi is known as the largest open air museum.  It’s a really neat city that has endless ruins where kings, battles, markets, homes used to be in the 1300s.  Hampi was the capital city of the Vijayanagar Empire.   It was conquered by northern rulers of north India in 1565 after the Battle of Tailkota, but originally founded by Harihara and Bukka in 1336.

Hampi was a really neat city with beautiful landscape along the Tungabhadra river.  We stayed in Hospet, which was only 12km away from this great little city of 2,000 people.  They don’t allow people to really live in Hampi since it is a World Heritage Site.

We went to lunch at the Mango Tree and had a great time eating there.  It was really neat place – no shoes, eat on the floor and over look the Tungabhadra river.  Beautiful!  The food was amazing and really cheap 80 Rps. ($1.6) for a their special which included 3 different curries, rice, lentils, and breads.

There are 2 main parts to Hampi, the Royal Centre in the southwest part of Hampi that include places such as palaces, royal baths, pavilions, stables, and temples.  The Sacred Centre is on the northern edge along the river and is where the old market used to be and the main temple.

Vijay Vithala Temple – This is the picture with the stone chariot in the temple courtyard.  It has also pillars in the ruins that were played as music when struck.

The Virupakha Temple- This is the only temple that is still used for worship.  The second day we saw them singing and walking into the temple. Pretty neat! The temple has 9 stories and is the tallest structure at Hampi.  The ceiling was beautifully painted as well with scenes from Hindu past although was only able to see some of them.  When you go through temple (no shoes allowed in Hindu temples) we put our hand over fire and then get some holy water and poor it on your head.

We also saw the King’s palace, Elephant stables, Pushkarni, Lotus Mahal, and Hazara Rama Temple.

The elephant stables were really beautiful and some of my favorite but hard to say – just loved walking around all the ruins!  The Pushkarni was the tired structure that was laid out in granite pieces that supposedly was a stepped up water tank.  This was the structure where we walked on top of the tank and can overlook the ruins.

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Posted by on November 8, 2011 in Travels


Bus Ride to Hampi / Hospet

Riding in the overnight bus from Bangalore or Hampi.

A 370 kilometer drive means… 9 hours on a bus

Bathroom on sleeper bus…no

Clean sheets? blankets?  ….hmmm don’t want to think about it

We thought they were single beds, sure glad that I went with someone and wasn’t by myself in this 2 person bunk!

Ready for the night, oh wait, why don’t you sleep next to a pile of wet branches?

I think I actually hit the ceiling at one point for the bumps on the bus.  Had the best seat – in the back right over the wheel. :)  Hampi was amazing more photos to come.  Bus not too bad, pretty cheap way to travel and get around!

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Posted by on November 7, 2011 in Travels


Week 5 – Bangalore out and about

October 31 – Halloween out in Bangalore! 
I went out with a couple of the staff for dinner and drinks at Beire Club in Bangalore.  It was a really nice place that had 3 different floors and brew their own beer here.  Januk and Karen from work and their friend from Mumbai came out and was a great time!
They are so funny, we started talking about differences in the US, since one of them had gone to school in the US for a couple years.  He was saying driving in the US is so hard – automatic cars, and “You have to get in the left lane to turn left!”.  I thought that was so funny – because here yeah there isn’t many rules in traffic you can cross traffic and turn in front of people and somehow it works.  Januk also said, “You have can’t go through red stoplights!”  Who would have thought?  Even if there is no-one there you cannot just go through a red-light. :)  Januk is from Mumbai and had his friend in town from Mumbai (Bombay) for the Metallica concert that was on Sunday night at the Palace Grounds.  Metallica was playing here and one of the first main rock bands to come to India.  It was a pretty big deal!  They were supposed to play in Delhi as well and it got cancelled and then had major riots with angry fans since they all traveled from all parts of India just for the concert.  Glad Bangalore’s went on without a hitch.  Lady Gaga was also in Delhi and opened for the F1 car racing new stadium.  This was the first car racing track and said there was 80,000 in the stadium. Januk tells me I have to visit Mumbai since it’s the New York of India.  He also said Goa too, but I don’t think I’ll make it to either of those places – but I have seen a lot!  There is just so much to see and wish I was here longer!
Karen will be coming to the US in Des Moines, Iowa (my old college stomping grounds) and can’t wait for her visit!  She may have to get a license there that she is a little worried about, but should be downtown most of the time I think.  Karen is from Mangalore, that is west of Bangalore a few hours.
Karen and I at Beire Club in Bangalore – they brew great beer here!  Karen is going to be a rotator in the Des Moines, Iowa office in January through March so I am very excited for her rotation to Iowa!!
November 1, 2011
On Tuesday night we decided to go to Hard Rock Cafe…everyone was kind of craving some Beef and some good American food.  :)  We met in our hotel bar below that really can’t beat their happy hour free drinks for hotel guests!  Below is a picture of many of the rotators here, mostly from US, UK, Germany, Caymans, Netherlands.  We ordered some nachos at hard rock and were amazing!  Missing guacamole here – but was fun to check out Hard Rock even though it definitely didn’t feel like I was in India when I was there.
November 2, 2011
Chung asked to borrow my camera today at work and said they wanted to take some photos of the GTH staff to send teams in the US.  So they went out and did a little photo shoot. 🙂
Tonight we took our staff out to dinner and was so much fun!  We had a blast!
Seniors at GTH
Sikh temple
Pushpa took us to a Sikh temple worship in Bangalore.  It was really neat inside (couldn’t take photos in holy place), but was a lot of gold over the shrine in the middle.  Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world.  The Golden Temple in Amritsar is one of their main places of worship that is on the Pakistan/India border.  The majority of Sikhs are from Punjab in India (in the north and borders Pakistan). They also had some great music they were playing at the time we were there.  3 men were singing and playing drums and an accordion type music.  Above in the photo is me, Pushpa, Jenn, Nazareen, and Dominique.
Pushpa told us a little about Sikhism (she is Hindu but thought it would fun for us to see this place), and said there were five major things that Sikhs always have with them at all times.  They wear a bracelet, carry a sword or knife, traditionally wear long hair and beard, and carry a comb, and wear the turban hats.  It was fun hearing their music and seeing one of their religious places. We have seen now many Hindu temples, Muslim Masques and now Sikh place of worship.  So interesting learning about their different religions and ways of life.
 Dinner at Tandoor – Fabulous food! 
Pushpalatha and I at Tandoor Punjabi restaurant – it was so good!!! Pushpa is one of the staff I am working with at GTH.  She has a lot of spunk and enthusiasm.  She is such a hard worker and really love getting to know her!  She may take us shopping next week and show us some good spots!The food was awesome!  Pushpa ordered 3 different curries for us, with rice, naan, and some appetizers.  We had some dessert also that was very interesting.  It looked like noodles with some ice cream on top.  Was very good – but I was so full I couldn’t eat it all!  We also at the end had some leaves with some spices/sweets inside.  They were good – took me a while to chew since it was a large leaf taste to eat! There was also this interesting tray of different little ingredients you were supposed to have at the end for your digestion.  We all tried them all, one we felt taste like soap, another like perfume, and another – just interesting I will say…!  Check out Jenn’s faces – I think the photos say enough. J  Altogether though the food was amazing and had fun taking the staff out to eat.  I only started sweating a bit from the spice and calmed it down with some buttermilk so it was all good!

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Posted by on November 3, 2011 in Travels