Over the past few days, I have had the pleasure of experiencing a number of different local sites and customs.
The weekend began with a stroll around the neighborhood around the hotel, which even on Saturday morning is quite busy and full of people. We enjoyed a chai tea from the local vendor. Slightly different than how we make it at home, but one of the tastiest in Jamnagar. Here is the local vendor at work.
Here I am with Malcolm, Peter, and Claudia enjoying the finished product.
Saturday evening, we visited the local market with our clients, Hitesh and Kajal, which was quite fun. Those who know me well, will be shocked to learn I loved shopping in a foreign country 🙂
With the help of Kajal, I was able to navigate the many beautiful fabrics for sale and purchase a few traditional Indian outfits, or punjabis, which consist of a long flowing top, pants, and coordinating scarf. After purchasing the punjabis, we went upstairs, to the tailor who will be fitting to size. Thankfully Kajal was there to translate, as there were numerous measurements and decisions involved! I received the finished product today; it is quite beautiful, and I am very much looking forward to wearing the Punjabi to work over the next few days. The children at the center will go wild!
Here I am shopping with Kajal (check out all of those choices behind me!) and Keith and Claudia enjoying the experience.
Early Sunday morning, the whole team visited the Khijadia Bird Sanctuary. Although, prime bird watching season occurs later in the year, there were still a number of local birds to see, including pelicans; the banner of this blog is a scene from the Sanctuary. The entire atmosphere of the Bird Sanctuary was quite calming and peaceful, and a welcomed respite from the otherwise noisy and crowded streets of Jamnagar. The scenery was beautiful; the water lilies even reminded me of one of my favorite impressionist paintings.
After the Bird Sanctuary, the team took a quick stop at what can only be described as an Indian rest stop, and we headed to the beach! Unfortunately, the nearest beach is more similar to Revere beaches than those of Hawaii, however, it was still very fun to stick our feet in the Arabian Sea!! Another funny moment, conservative dress extended even to the beach, where even the water goers went in full clothed!
Yesterday, we celebrated another national holiday, Raksha Bandhan. Sisters tie bracelets around their brothers’ wrists to symbolize their love and affection and brothers’ commitment to protect and look after their sisters. It is quite sweet. The schools were closed, so we worked from the hotel during the day, but on Monday afternoon, Keith, Peter, and I were treated to a chorus of well wishing students telling us “Happy Raksha Bandhan Day” in anticipation of the upcoming holiday. It was too precious for words, to receive Happy Raksha Bandhan cards from the young girls, who even managed to spell out my name phonetically…very impressive indeed, when you consider that English is the third language they are learning after native Gujarati and Hindi.
Finally, there are quite a few camels that call Jamnagar home. So, as it is Wednesday, thought it only fitting to pay homage…with love to you, Lee!