What a feast for the eyes, the nose and the stomach!!
After 24 hours on the plane, Smitha from Pyxera Global, helped me to the hotel taxi for my 45 minute (but blissfully short without the normal traffic due to the late hour) journey to the Bloomrooms hotel. There, I experienced my first unusual encounter; an older gentleman helped me take my bags to my room and I thanked him by using the Hindi word, Namastey. He then asked me if I spoke Hindi, so while blushing I admitted that I did not speak Hindi. The man then reached over and 'gently' slapped my face!! Apparently, this is actually not rude, but seen more as a teasing gesture, but I must say it gave me quite a shock!
After 4 hours of sleep, I was up to meet my new friends and colleagues in the lobby to head to the train station. Thanks to our other wonderful Pyxera Global representative Shruti, we successfully boarded the train and headed to Ludhiana. I sat with Dymtro, sharing stories and enjoying multiple cups of tea or "dip dip" and food, which of course we ate with our hands!
IBM was also featured in the local newspaper with a short article including our CEO. Not sure I can share the article here, so leaving out for now.
We then had a fun experience exiting the train and following our bags to the car. You only have three minutes to get off the train and have the coolies (not considered a derogatory term here) get on and grab your bags before the train departs to its next location! You then must follow the coolies who have your bag to ensure your it makes it to the car.
That is my 51lb bag on top of that woman's head, she is amazingly strong!!
We then reached our hotel the Fortune Park Klassik hotel where we were greeted with warmth and fanfare!
On our way to lunch! On the way, I was also almost fortunate enough to have a cow pee on me!! I was busy trying to get a photo of the cow, while holding on for dear life in the auto, when I realized it was relieving itself and I was about to be sprayed!! Thankfully, I realized in time to scoot out of the way...though apparently it would have meant good luck so maybe I missed out?
As we were all falling asleep we decided to finish the stories on Monday morning! We took a short walk (crossing the street here makes Vietnam seem like a walk in the park!!) to see the nearby markets.
Tomorrow we are headed to Chandigarh to the Rock Garden designed by Nak Chund. It will be a day trip, but apparently an amazing site so can't wait to see it. More to come tomorrow, for now I need some sleep so that I can have all my energy to take photos and enjoy the day.
To Fabio Ferreira, Oliver Gehb and Alexandre Gaeckle: Look who we now have as mutual friends!!