UW Alumni Tours Blog

An Internet Connection..Finally!

February 14th, 2009 by Pauline Ranieri, UW Alumni Tours


I erroneously assumed that I wouldn’t have a problem finding an internet connection during thisimg_2020trip. Although India may be techonologically advanced, the last few hotels had such slow internet connections that I haven’t been able to get through to update blog going. Today, the internet connection is wonderful…only problem is that my electrical converter blew up!

Our Indian meals have not disappointed! Our welcome dinner was a traditional Thali dinner where we enjoyed a variety of local aromatic dishes made with spices and herbs such as turmeric, cumin, ginger and chile peppers. So far, I think my favorite meals have been the lunches we order and pay for on our own.  For those of us who aren’t widely familiar with Indian cuisine, these meals are an adventure as we try to decipher the menu, never knowing for sure what we really ordered until it arrives. Each meal has been a flavorful, delightful surprise! Today, we experienced a traditional Chettinad lunch where a banana leaf is used as your plate and the leaf is filled with samplings of many dishes.

chet-lunch3The traditional way of eating is with your right hand which I tried, admittedly licking my fingers a few times throughout the meal. I was a bit embarrassed to later read in my guidebook that licking one’s fingers was considered improper.

The people we’ve met are incredibly friendly and just as curious about us as we are about them. Each day, children come up to us asking what our names are and wanting to shake our hands. As we’ve driven through local villages, I’ve noticed that adults and children seem to be ready with a smile and a wave making us feeling so very welcome in their country. They often ask us where we are from and responding United States elicits a big smile. boys

One of today’s highlights was an impromptu visit to a local boy’s school. It was a treat to see and hear a young group of boys practicing traditional wedding celebration music on a wind instrument called the nadeshwaram. The tune sounded a bit like a bunch of screeching monkeys, but based on the concentration we saw on all of their faces, we felt sure that by the time the boys graduated they would truly be playing music for one’s ears.

Our driving adventures continue with near misses every day and a heavy use of the bus brakes. After a few missed turns and a couple of U-turns, we discovered that even the men in India don’t like to stop and ask for directions! We were back on the right track only after our female tour guide Sandhya hopped into the cab of the bus and had the driver stop so she could ask directions. Our poor driver was so embarrassed but we all had a good laugh with him.

I wonder what awaits us tomorrow?

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