All’s quiet here on the Western front.
This week’s photos are from my husband’s business trip “east,” to India. Click the photos to enlarge.
Check out two previous photo essay blogs for other pictures of Eric’s trip to India: elephants and frogs (oh my!); and motorcycle taxis.
Mumbai accommodations: the Hotel Leela. Shi-shi.
Hotel gardens -- Eden, but with the smell of a landfill. Eric said that for him, the bright colors and horrible smell most define his sensory perception of traveling to India.
Jamnagar accommodations at Reliance Green. Very comfortable and safe.
Traveling. Inside the car, it is cool and civilized. Outside, on the streets of Jamnagar, scenes of poverty.
Streets of Mumbai -- a nicer area. Note Christian cross, an odd sight.
Eric et al following an ox-drawn cart in Jamnagar.
Their drivers (two cars for their group), "California" and "Slim." Eric did not know their Gujarati names, and the drivers spoke no English. They worked LONG hours. Eric said that after they tipped the drivers one day (tips are not the norm), Slim showed up in a new western shirt, all smiles.
Eric and his co-wokers (Edward pictured here) towered over most everyone...and the mini-taxis!
A common street scene -- queued vehicles waiting for fares.
A view into one car (and Eric) from the other. Their drive into work took nearly a half hour, although they stayed on the grounds. This was due not only to the slow speed limit, but the two-mile deep greenbelt inside the refinery's perimeter.
BIG WEIRD BUG. Reminds me of "Feely Bugs," a book I read to my kids when they were little.
Eric on the far right, with his co-workers and Mr. Paparo, one of their contacts at the plant and a very gracious host. On this day, he took them on a driving tour inside the refinery. This picture is in the greenbelt, in a lush garden entertaining area for the owner's family.
Picture of the deceased founder. The current owner, one of his sons, just built a new house. Google Ambani's Mumbai House and see what $2 Billion will get you. Wowza.
Jamnagar is in the state of Gujarat. Garba Dance is a 9-day festival in Gujarat. Eric was lucky enough to attend one night. (more in next captions)
More Garba Dance. Reliance (the company) held a Garba Dance for its employees -- there are 20,000 of them, with 7,000 homes on their grounds.
The story is that the goddess Durba slayed 9 demons, each on a different day. Revelers form concentric circles around her image and perform the Garba dance in colorful costumes.
More of the gorgeous dancers at Garba Dance.
Thousands of people attended each night of the Garba Dance held by Reliance.
An operator that Eric worked with at Reliance, showing off his beautiful family at Garba Dance.
Chairs and couches ringed the festivities. As honored guests, Eric and his co-workers sat at a couch. Eric said he saw no other non-Indians at the festival.
A sign Eric brought home from the plant. The wording on top: Hindi. On the bottom: Gujarati. The meaning: this scaffolding is finished and ready for use.
Door to door, it took Eric 42 hours to get home. On his layover in Mumbai, he bought us gifts from street vendors, including this jewlery for me. He also picked up a virus while he was there and gave that to me, too. Stepping in open sewage, while unavoidable, turned out not to be such a good idea.
Eric would prefer not to travel, but he loves the experience of seeing places like India and Libya. Someday, when the kids are grown, I hope to tag along. Until then, you might have guessed I miss him a lot while he’s gone.
p.s. Thanks to Jason Nigg for the fantastic pictures, for all of which he is the copyright owner. If you would like to reuse any of them, please contact me to obtain specific written permission.