. . . and I'm back! (posted by Ann)
It was a great trip. I arrived home Thursday 1PM after 22 hours travelling. The flights back were longer than the flights there (headwinds instead of tailwinds. When we arrived at the office, there was this great ceremony to welcome us. One of the things that is normally done here is to create very elaborate patterns on the floor with colored rice or chalk. The man I was talking to about it told me that his wife does it every morning to start the day. Wow - I think it's good if I say good morning before we all run off to start our days. Here is the beautiful pattern they did for us out of colored rice, which one of our guys immediately stepped on. He thought it was a rug! They also had me light an oil lamp (which you can see next to the peacock) to ask for enlightenment, and to start the visit off with good luck. It was very nice, and made me think about what we do for visitors - make them wait in reception, and if they're lucky we walk out to get them and ask if they want coffee in a styrofoam cup.
Here are a few pictures of what it looks like getting around. Traffic is really incredible. When I heard that I thought they meant the traffic was heavy, but what they really meant was - well, incredible. Horses, ox carts, rickshaws (three wheel motorcycle cabs), elephants, cows, goats and buffalo along with cars and buses. There appear to be no traffic rules. There are no lane markers, or if there are no one follows them. It's just wild!
The first night, we had dinner and saw traditional Indian dance. It was interesting, the dancers showed us several different styles which were very different. They always wear a band of bells around their ankles, and they are graceful. It was cool - though the lead guy scolded us for not clapping enough. He said we were "watching like westerners". We clapped more enthusiastically after that. This picture is of a dance style that involves dancing on top of a brass bowl.
Of course, there was shopping. Here is a shot of Commercial Street, which is an interesting blend of very modern looking shops and little hole in the wall joints that I wouldn't have gone in even if they told me the greatest deal in the world was in the back. No way!!
More later, I have lots more pictures. I'll be in Chicago most of the week, so I should have time to post more. Hope everyone is doing well!