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Published: January 5th 2013
As ever here in India there has been LOTs of food and I managed to have 5 meals today!!! My stomach is ready to burst!!! I had a very large breakfast this morning which consisted of:
- bowl of cereal
- 2 dosas (pancakes) with coconut chutney
- 1 omlette
- 2 slices of toast
- glass of lyche juice
- cup of tea
Normally I don't have time for any breakfast back in the UK so this is a lot of food for me and could last me all day!
Today we started our vocational visits and Rtn. Shetty picked me up at 8.15am (early rise for me on a Saturday!!!) and took me to visit Kajane Agricultural Farm. I met Natraj Hegde who is a very forward thinking 2nd generation farmer/businessman who grows coconuts, cashew nuts, rubber, mangosteen, rambutan and peppers. He is experimenting with multiple cropping systems to get maximum yield from his crops and efficient use of water and land. Although we can't grow such exotic crops here in the UK the concept is something many UK farmers could adapt.
After walking round the plantations (which even at 9am this morning were approaching
35 degrees!!!) we sat in the shade and I drank fresh coconut water straight from the shell with a straw. It was very refreshing and afterwards they cut open the shell and I ate the soft creamy inside flesh -delicious!!! Natraj also has a successful online business called Vanilla Mart
, based in Tumbridge Wells, Kent selling vanilla products to UK and European markets.
Lots of photos were taken on the farm of me with my hosts and this was just the beginning of the photograpgy!!!
Rtn. Shetty then took me to a local tile factory that is run by a close family friend as unfortunately the visit to the AMPC weekly market and office was unable to happen today. I met the mother of the family in their house and even though her English was non-existant she was very kind and welcoming to me, with lots of hugs and hand holding. It was here my 2nd meal of the day appeared in the form of more dosas with a sweet filling known as Chana Dal witha side order of freshly roasted cashnew nuts and chilli tikki banana chips. The very kind lady then gave me a packet of
Mangosteen and Rambutan products
Don't think we can buy these in the UK - very exotic fruits.
the dosas and banana chips to take away with me!
Next we were supposed to go straight back to the hotel in Manipal to meet everyone for lunch, but Rtn. Shetty wanted to show me his house and let my try some of his special fried fish (meal 3). It was absolutely delicious and just the right ammount of spice, but did make us cough a lot in the kitchen as he was cooking it! Apparently his wife makes fun of him and says he only likes people who like fish! I guess I am in the good books then!!! I ate 2 pieces and tried desperately not to think of lunch a mere 10 minutes away!!! Rtn. Shetty is a retired banker in his 60's who teaches English part time at a school in his home town that educates poorer children. He also goes swimming every morning VERY early is a member of a Laughter Club - I really like the sounds of this concept and think we could use some of these clubs back in the UK!!!
Lunch (meal 4) at the hotel with all the GSE team and their hosts was again delicious, but I
think we were all strugging with the sheer volume of food. We did of course manage mains, seconds and even pudding with some "gentle" persuasion from our hosts! Afterwards we headed on a tour of Manipal University which was VERY impressive - a very different place to any of our UK univerisities and I got the impression that students were more committed to their studies and appeciated the opportunities available to them following graduation.
A very busy man called Jai Vittal showed us rounf the campus and he was always trying to make us hurry up and move on, but we were all taking lots of photos!!! He even introduced us to the Pro Chancellor - Dr Ballal - who is second in command under Dr Ramdas Pai who is the son of the original university founder Dr PMA Pai and had a significant influence of the development of Udupi and Manipal in general.
We didn't have long to get changed before heading out to our first Rotary Club meeting in India which was a joint event between Udupi and Manipal clubs. We were all very nervous about delivering our presentation for the first time to an audience of nearly 100 people. The difference for us was the outdoor venue with bright stage lights and l lots of mosquitos!!! We got all the technology working (Eventually!!!) and delivered without any hitches. We got presented with several roses from the hosting clubs and we also exchanged banners. Lots more photos were taken including group photos for each club with all members on the stage. We then ate dinner in the same place and was a wonderful buffet which again went down only using the right hand to eat. Meal number 5 of the day done and definitely no more room today!!!!
Onwards now to bed for me I am afraid as it's not after midnight and I must be at breakfast tomorrow for 8.30am.
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