The 2009 AIESEC Alumni Global Conference (AAGC) in Kuala Lumpur was a wonderfully organised networking event.
Every delegate was asked to bring a bottle of hard liquor from their country
Traditional Malaysian dancing opened the conference
A panel discussion featuring the former Malaysian Government Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad (centre)
Prior to the Hall of Fame awards ceremony at the International Congress (IC) where friend David Bacon won a Young Alumni Contribution Award for his Carpets for Communities venture
Lauren (second from left) accepted the award on behalf of Dave
The fabulous Beach Party
Painting Shelter Home One, a refuge for abused and abandoned children
The Australian AAGC and IC contingents
I arrived back to a quiet and clean Perth on Monday evening.
Sadly, I will soon farewell a companion, one who has been literally very close to me for most of the past 10 years. From departing Australia for Turkey in June 2001 to arriving back to Perth Monday we have shared many experiences together including line-ups, waits, pat downs and interrogations. Frankly, without her I would have been stuck, not able to move around or see the world.
Yes, after 20+ countries, 20+ visas and 100+ stamps it is almost time to replace my second Australian passport.
Last night, as I waited in Bangalore Airport for my 3-hour-delayed flight to Singapore to depart, Delhi Belly finally hit after almost 2 weeks of good health in India. Luckily, the condition wasn’t too bad and since taking two Gastro-Stop tablets I’ve been fine, albeit, very tired.
Singapore has been a literal breath of fresh air and I’m now about to board a flight to even fresher Perth.
I’m now in Bangalore Airport, 5 hours before my overnight Tiger Airways flight to Singapore departs. My trip to India has been a wonderful experience and I am sure to visit this fascinating country multiple times again.
Last night we said goodbye to Dragos after a beer at a local pub. Today, Natraj, Sounalya, his delightful wife and I ate a traditional South Indian breakfast of idli and dosa. For lunch, along with delicious Hyderabad Biryani and fish curry, I finally ate lip-tingling and nose-dripping spicy food – a chicken curry. I was waiting all trip for a scorcher and I finally got one!
I didn’t get around to playing a game of street cricket but that will have to wait for my next trip to India…
Like Singapore’s Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur’s LCCT Airport, Bangalore Airport has free (albeit slow) wireless internet access. Perth Airport Terminals, lift your game and set the internet free.
Dragos and I are back in Bangalore after a 6 am flight from Jaipur via Hyderabad. Dragos and I were privileged enough for fellow Mersin-Adana traineeship survivor Honey to take a day off work and take us around town.
The day included a visit to Honey’s brother’s garment making factory where custom-designed clothes are made for the Japanese market. In the evening we went past Jal Mahal (“Water Palace”) on the way to a hilltop lookout over the city.
I have one more day in Bangalore before catching an overnight Tiger Airways flight to Singapore tomorrow night. On Sunday I hope to have a game of cricket with some random local lads in the city backstreets.
I arrived to Jodhpur at 6am this morning on an overnight train from Jaipur. Jaipur train station was alive with people at midnight with dozens sleeping on the ground both inside and outside the station. Men pushed freight around on single axle trolleys and an adjacent train continuously made ear-piercing noises letting off its pressure.
The 2nd class sleeper was comfortable although I was woken up several times by fellow travellers’ alarms. The same alarm repeatedly rang. I’m guessing that the only way to get off at the correct station is to be awake AND alert when the train stops. There is no visual or audible station alert and the outside was not visible from my compartment. I’m glad the other couple in my compartment were also getting off at Jodhpur, otherwise I could have missed the station.
As Dragos didn’t want an overnight train journey I came to Jodhpur myself. Upon arrival I wandered the streets for more than an hour. Stallholders and shopkeepers were setting up market, students going to school and people cleaning their street frontage. The usual cows and dogs provided further company.
Many of old Jodhpur’s buildings are coloured blue from which the place gets its “Blue City” nickname. From the old town I walked up to Merangarh Fort. The foreigner entry price of 300 rupees included a self-guided audio tour. The spoken word descriptions gave life to this large and historic complex and the exhibitions it contained within. The miniature paintings, elephant seats, weaponry, lavish rooms and elaborate courtyards wonderfully illustrated how wealthy the Maharajahs were.
I’m about to go to Umaid Bhawan Palace before catching the train back to Jaipur this evening.
Jaipur is the main city in India’s desert state of Rajasthan. Along with the usual Indian sights and sounds there are also camels, dust and amazingly vibrant ladies’ saris. I swear some of the saris are so bright they seem fluorescent.
From Agra, Dragos and I took a 99th class bus that required push-starting and was structurally severely unsound. Honey, a former AIESEC trainee from Adana met us in Jaipur and lined up a hotel near his place. Last night we drank and ate in the train restaurant of a 5* hotel.
Today I had a shave and haircut at the local barber (Rs. 250 or about AU$6 for 2x haircuts, 2x washes and 1x shave). We spent this afternoon at Bapu Bazaar, haggling with the stall keepers in order to buy clothes and souvenirs.
Jaipur is more conservative and poorer than Bangalore with less signs in English and more in Hindi.
In the next few days I hope to take a train to Jodhpur, Rajasthan’s second city. I’m not too fussed about the destination but look forward to seeing the countryside on my first Indian train journey.