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December 31st

I went on the rooftop terrace alone at 6 and watched the sun rise (well kind of, it was REALLY foggy again) while writing this blog.  Today we meet with our host organization, the NGO IRRAD (Institute of Rural Research and Development) and begin working on our project before ringing in the New Year on the rooftop.

We went to our host organization, IRRAD.  The building was a short drive from our hotel and was incredibly beautiful and modern and our hosts were very nice.  We sat and listened to some presentations delineating the problem of saline groundwater, as well as some other issues which IRRAD deals with such as rural community empowerment.  For example, there are numerous government “schemes” as they are called (no negative connotation) such as subsidies that villagers are eligible for.  However, the illiteracy rate is very high and many rural Indians don’t know they can receive these benefits.  So IRRAD spreads information such as this.  We listened to presentations for a few hours and then it was time to walk back to the hotel.  This was quite an experience as we had to cross a six lane highway with no crosswalk or stoplights.  We basically had to run out in front of traffic and hope they stopped for us.  Pretty scary!

After returning to the hotel we all took a brief nap and then headed to a western style mall called Ambience.  It was huge!  Seven stories of all kinds of stores, including some pretty specialized ones.  A separate store for adidas, nike, even the football team Manchester United had its own store.  There was an ice skating rink as well.  The whole mall was decked out in Christmas décor, which I found a bit surprising.  After waiting for our cab outside the mall for 30 minutes (patience is a virtue here in India for sure) we headed back to the hotel.  It was time to celebrate the New Year!  We all crammed into a room and watched a bit of a cricket match as we tried (in vain) to discern the rules of game.  Will ended up looking up the rules on Wikipedia, which helped (a little).  The hotel employees constructed a makeshift fire pit on the rooftop and we stood around that until midnight.  There were fireworks from a couple locations in the distance that we could see and loud club music playing in the distance which was perfect.   It was really an unforgettable new year’s eve.


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Last modified on September 10th, 2015
Posted on March 31st, 2013