Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Licensed to drink

It's 6.57 pm, my 4th day in Amdarvad. Using the Tata Indicom WiFi at CEPT University to finally get connect back with the World. Have not read my email since arriving here on Sunday. Ah, Tata is everywhere. Tata is also at the Country Inn & Suites where we are staying. At the hotel, you can opt for hourly, 4 hourly, 12 hours, 24 hours or one week rates. The one week rate is 2,700 rupees (almost RM200). Being cheap skate I did not subscribe, 'cos I thought I would be too busy to make full use of it anyway. And I was right. It's being meetings, official dinners, keynotes, opening ceremonies, launching ceremony (I was asked to launch the extension building at CEPT; I had to crack a coconut).

Just finished a roundtable about 15 minutes ago. And then heard that the cultural show had been postponed by one hour to 8 pm. So, thought I would update the blog. Late night there was also a fabulous show put up by the students. Tonight the show would be by professional dancers.

I will just make it a pictorial report.

 Me buying a khurta at a stall at the exhibition pavilion for the APSA 2009. "Hand-made by the differently abled" - that's what it says on the label. Three of the ladies in the picture are differently abled.
 Me with the khurta at the cultural show and dinner last night.

This was the opening ceremony on the first day. I was up on stage and looking down the crowd was impressive. About 150 papers accepted from around 28 countries. Total attendance estimated at close to 500. Students paid only 1200 rupees, heavily discounted to provide a golden opportunity for Indian students to be part of a global event.

The Chief Minister of Gujarat (bearded), the Chairman of CEPT (right) and Utpal Sharma (on the left) looking at the publications. I first met Utpal in Hanoi. We walked the streets of Hanoi at midnight with Nihal Perera, looking for beer!

Chairing my last APSA EXCO meeting yesterday afternoon. By tomorrow this time, I would become "past president".

The reporters and photographer of Ahmedebad Mirror who interviewed the APSA EXCO. The lady reporter actually googled me before the interview and saw photos and the webpage of my family I put up long ago. She said she wants to do that too. There's a lot coverage of the APSA congress in the local media.

The combined GPEAN committee members. This is their first attendance of the APSA Congress.

I surrendered my greenness this week. I boiled water in the hotel and took it along for the tour on sunday. Everyone, especially the local students, advised me against drinking the water from the tap. It does taste weird (hard water) and there's the worry about contamination. So its bottled water for the whole week.

 At the dinner hosted by Nihal Perera.

 Attending the final crit of the Industrial Area design workshop. Seated on my right is Nihal who is visiting professor at CEPT.
 The students at the crit.

My bed for another 2 nights

 My breakfast on my first morning. Glorious vegetarian food. I had masala thosai this morning. Heaven.

At the Mausoleum and mosque of the sultan who built Ahmedabad.


Oh, licensed to drink? Gujarat is a dry state. There are no pubs and to buy liquor you need a licence. We kidded with the students about getting some beer. But they were serious. So, I had to bring my passport, letter from the hotel to say I was staying there from when to when and then go to licensed liquour shop, pay 100 rupees for a licence (after a lot of queries). And guess how many bottles of beer I was allowed to buy? Ten (10). I had actually told the GPEAN that the first beer in Ahmedabad would be on me. And they were reminding me about my promise. But ten is not enough. So the students had to get another willing participant in this game to quench our thirst.

Bye for now, the cultural show is about to start.

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