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Here I would love to share with you our travels and adventures as international mushroom consultants. MEMOIRS about husband Pieter Vedder, who was a SCIENTIFIC PIONEER in Mushroom Cultivation Education. His practical handbook is in 8 languages and is called the MUSHROOM BIBLE: https://mariettesbacktobasics.blogspot.com/2020/08/modern-mushroom-growing-2020-harvesting.html

Thursday, January 10, 2019

My 5th Consulting Trip to India & Visit of Taj Mahal

On Wednesday, July 27, of 1994 we both flew again to India for consulting service together. This was Pieter's 8th trip to India meanwhile.
On KLM Royal Dutch Airlines we sat in preferred seating, the old business class.
We landed in Amsterdam on Thursday, July 28, at 8:00 and went to hotel Ibis.
On Friday, July 29, we did rise early at 5:30 and rode the Ibis bus to the airport.
Our Royal Wing card did yield us again a business seat on our way to Bombay (Mumbai).
On Saturday night, July 30, we were at our The Leela Hotel, Mumbai by 1:00 and went to bed.
By 11:00 we went back to the airport for our flight to Coimbatore. From there the usual climb up into the mountains, by car and it was beautiful and green.
We reached our guest house in Ooty by 17:30, it was rainy and windy!
This time we came prepared with a piece of thick plastic in our suitcase to cover those metal slats to keep the cold wind out.
It sure made it a lot more pleasant!
On Sunday, July 31, we went to the mushroom farm by 8:00 and were back home by 19:00. 
It was such inclement weather and here we were with compost hands, eating our sandwich near the electric heater!
On Monday, August 1, we again went together to the farm. This time I asked a favor for stitching my black leather jacket that had come loose when carrying the heavy square box with glass and sculpture gift from Pond's, inside my Samsonite bag. It would be sent to Madras (Chennai) to the leather garment factory where Pieter had purchased a lambs leather jacket for him and for my brother Martin plus a suede leather for me.
We had dinner at the home of one of the staff members.
We continued working every day and on Thursday, August 4, a special courier from Madras did bring back my meticulously stitched leather jacket! What a joy.
Friday, August 5, was our final day at work and we got again honored with a farewell ceremony in which we, as usual received each a gift. A twin gift since we both worked for them. This time it were solid silver Diyas in which the Hindus pour fragrant oil and use 5 cotton wicks to light it.
On Saturday, August 6, we did drive by car early morning with a staff member to Mysore and visited the Palace, where we have been before. Then we traveled to Bangalore and stayed at the Sheraton hotel in Bangalore.
On Sunday, August 7, we flew to Delhi, and stayed at hotel Kanishka (Ashok), sounds almost Russian...
Strange enough, there were lots of Russians staying!
We had a relaxing day.
Monday, August 8, at 4:15 I shampooed my hair, nearly cold water... By 5:30 we left with 2 beautiful sisters as our guides. They were the daughters of some of Pond's employees and we were going to Agra, some 225 km south of Delhi.

There still was no 6-lane Yamuna Expressway at the time and on the road we saw elephants with  HUGE balloons of fabric, that got filled with fresh harvested cotton. Large black camels pulling a cart and with the shaves pointed up.
Black camels are larger than the Arab camels and in the dessert state of Rajasthan, there are a lot of them.
In an article of the Daily Mail: From Delhi to Jaipur and back in a VW Polo? You'll need a blindfold for that! I did find some similar chaos to show you how that looked like.
The writer also mentions: Everyone points their vehicle/camel/elephant in the direction they wish to go, keeps a hand on the horn, and advances as fast as they can, avoiding the pedestrians, chickens, monkeys, goats and cows, who persistently cross the road kamikaze-style, despite the roaring traffic.
Yes, we saw goats, stray dogs that were either pregnant or nursing pups. The ever present holy cows and buffalos, adding horses and donkeys used by people as load animal.
You just did weave with your car all the way through. Those cows know that wonderfully well, they usually dream or lie in the median, a raised area between the lanes. The average speed was not high with all the roaming cattle! Occasionally on an open stretch you reached one hundred km/hr. It was pleasant to keep the windows closed and the air conditioning on in the car, thus keeping the odor of manure from all those beasts at bay. Oh yes, there were also roaming pigs, kind of wild boars, at least they looked a lot like that. Plenty of manure and to top it off,  the necessary mud from the wet monsoon! Unseen, you can not imagine what a mess and chaos there was!!!
Taj Mahal a UNESCO World Heritage site click on pink hyperlink to read more.
BUT we made it to Agra and we enjoyed the marvel of the Taj Mahal.
It is entirely built in white Indian marble, which is a lot harder than the Italian marble.
As a matter of fact it is the mausoleum of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan who had it built for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.
She was a Persian Princess who died when giving birth to their 14th child.
View our: Taj Mahal short Video
It is indeed one of World's Wonders!
Beautifully situated on the banks of the Yamuna River lies the Taj Mahal.
Taj Mahal (UNESCO/NHK) video with lots of info. At the time we were there, it was prohibited to make any photos! You even had to pay for having your camera placed inside a locker...
We did purchase the book from Taj Mahal & The Glory of Mughal Agra Lall, John (Text by)
also some video we have from it, as seen from the Agra Red Fort, across the river.
On Amazon there is the same book available with different cover photo: Taj Mahal and the Glory of Mughal Agra
From the White Indian marble we purchased the above picture frame at the Taj Mahal.
Agra Red Fort see more photos via link.
This is an enormous complex of palaces.
We enjoyed our private English guide and learned a lot! Great architecture from the early 17th Century.
The road back in our Ambassador car was again an adventure. One should not be surprised to see suddenly we were moving as a ghost rider, on the wrong side of the road, because it seemed temporarily less congested there. It was a newly opened 4 lane highway divided by a concrete median. At certain spots the concrete quality seemed rather poor, so openings appeared and drivers were  too eager for switching over to drive against the traffic...
Our Guardian Angels had again a very busy day!!!
Lunch we ate at the Sheraton Hotel in Agra.
We were home before it got quite dark as we did not trust the mini lights of the Ambassador car and others and many without any lights!
On Tuesday August 9, we had a quiet morning till 11:00 when the wife of our usual Delhi guide who for 5 years always picked us up, came to take us shopping. At 14:00 we had a meeting with the General Manager from Madras, who just happened to be in Delhi. We had a good conversation with him and it helped that both of us worked for the same company.
Again we went with the same wife as guide into New Delhi, to the Lotus Temple which we this time could video tape. Also the estate from the president; Rashtrapati Bhawan (built in 1931) and the government buildings and India Gate.
We just could run to the car before a downpour!
We let her drop us off at the airport by 20:30 so nobody needed to look after us anymore...
We were early and after checkin with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines we observed something we'd never ever seen.
Russians with huge burlap bales, on which they walked and laid down...
When we asked our KLM agent, she said this was a daily drama with Ukraine Air to Kiev.
They can not even take it all home... they buy huge amounts of fabric rolls, let the Indians sew for a dollar a piece children- and teenage clothing and they stash that all in these burlap bags. In Russia they have a shortage and due to the lower wages in India they purchase it there.
How we would have loved to capture that but at Delhi airport photography or filming was prohibited.
We found in one of the stores, beautiful boxes, cut out in a kind of lacework, made from camel bone!
Never seen them before. They came from the dessert state of Rajasthan. What are those people artists!
Wednesday, August 10, we started boarding at 0:15... but when we were on the runway at 0:50 the captain stopped! The temperature indicator of one of four engines did not work.
They had to replace that and it would take 1.5 hour. We parked on an apron and the captain announced that the food had to be served meanwhile.
We had an upgrade on our Royal Wing card and got seated in the upper deck in business class.
By 8:00 the captain said we had to return to the gate... they couldn't find the problem.
We disembarked and went to the waiting room.
First they called all business class passengers + all passengers traveling to the UK.
So we were lucky since we had our upgrades!
We had to turn in our boarding passes for new ones on Air Canada for flying with them to London.
Then we had to walk to where the plane parked, for identifying our luggage on the pavement, so they could load it into the Air Canada plane.
We flew to London in 8 hours and 45 minutes, departure at 8:30 instead of 0:50...
We had left a note in Delhi for contacting our friends who would pick us up, as we parked our car with them. They got informed!
In London we got awaited by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and after we retrieved our luggage they brought us by bus to the other terminal of Heathrow Airport.
Then we had to run for passport check and straight into the KLM plane that was waiting for us.
To Amsterdam with 106 stranded passengers from Delhi.
By 17:15 we were in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
KLM did bring us to the Golden Tulip, Barbizon hotel (now Barbizon Palace) in Amsterdam.
Also a voucher for dinner and breakfast included.
Thursday, August 11, we went by shuttle back to the airport in Amsterdam and we flew with Delta to Atlanta, USA.
Plane was full and lots of smokers, so bad that the captain had to request to refrain from smoking for at least 15 minutes to refresh the air. How blessed we are now with non-smoking flights!

End of another India adventure...

Thanks for your visit and comment!

Related links:
Pieter Hands Check to Rotary Club Ketti Valley, India | previous post by me
My 4th Consulting Trip to India after HUGE Landslide | previous post by me
Husband Pieter's DANGEROUS Trip back from India | previous post by me
My 3rd trip to India - Consulting Together with Husband Pieter | previous post by me
Consulting for Pond's (India) Limited Mushroom Project | previous post by me
My 2nd trip to India - Consulting Together with Husband Pieter | previous post by me
Brindavan Gardens Mysore with Luxury Heritage Hotel | previous post by me

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Pieter Hands Check to Rotary Club Ketti Valley, India

During my 4th Consulting Trip to India, together with husband Pieter, he did also visit the Ketti Valley Rotary Club for handing them a US $ 500.00 check from our own Rotary Club of Dublin, Georgia.
Here husband Pieter hands the US $ 500.00 check to the Ketti Valley Rotary President in India.
The check from our own Dublin, Georgia USA Rotary Club
Sorry, my photos are NOT good but it is what it is!
Rotary Club of Ketti Valley District 3200
They just had a meeting without any food or drinks being served.
Husband Pieter tells something about the Dublin, Georgia Rotary Club
There were chairs lined up and this is the room we met in.
Mingling and talking
President standing under Club's banner...
Me to the right talking with one of the Lady Rotary members...
Wearing my Yves Saint Laurent silk shawl, a gift from a mushroom friend in Switzerland.

In combination with Rotary International and The Innerwheel Club of Ketti Valley they also did FREE CLINIC by LADY DOCTORS
Such a Lady Doctor at work...
And again here, the same Lady Doctor
The US $ 500.00 check from our local Dublin, Georgia Rotary Club would get used for teaching the poorest women English...
And also teaching them to sew or to knit on machines which they later on would get to take home so they could start making their own living.

There is so much to do in countries like India...

Thanks for your visit and comment!

Related links:
My 4th Consulting Trip to India after HUGE Landslide | previous post by me
Husband Pieter's DANGEROUS Trip back from India | previous post by me
My 3rd trip to India - Consulting Together with Husband Pieter | previous post by me
Consulting for Pond's (India) Limited Mushroom Project | previous post by me
My 2nd trip to India - Consulting Together with Husband Pieter | previous post by me
Brindavan Gardens Mysore with Luxury Heritage Hotel | previous post by me

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

My 4th Consulting Trip to India after HUGE Landslide

On Wednesday, January 5, 1994, we start our consulting trip to India aboard KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and with our Royal Wing Card, we both enjoyed once again an upgrade into Business Class.
Around noon on Thursday, we landed in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and after calling my Parents, we headed to hotel Ibis for some rest and a shower. 
We departed for Bombay (Mumbai) India on Friday, around 10:30 and arrived on Saturday, January 8, by 1:00 at hotel Centaur Airport, the very same hotel Pieter stayed at during his DANGEROUS solo trip (see link below post).
We did rise early as we had a flight at 8:00 to Coimbatore.
From Coimbatore, the road by car up into the mountains and instead of the usual 2.5 hours it would take us today 3.5 hours because of a detour.
On September 30, 1993, the deadliest earthquake in Maharashtra, Mumbai, presumably caused an underground long tear, so the mountains shifted.
From a distance we got to see this bare mountain side, it makes one skip a breath... 
Mother Nature's POWER.
There was another 'cloud burst' on 11th November 1993 in the upper reach of Marappalam of Coonoor Taluk, about 18 huts situated below the road and washing away Coonoor MTP ghat Road for about 1.5 km. The road traffic was suspended for more than a fort night. Twelve persons lost their live and 15 persons missing. It is said that 21 passengers were washed away with two buses. An important highway, sheared stretched of rail road for about 300m.
To the right, the landslide damage is still visible...
We both have seen the rail road, the one that we traveled once to work that stretch, was sticking up  in the air like matches! See below post about My 1st Trip to India...
Like a giant hand had stripped the entire mountain side bare, removing everything in its path...


We did arrive finally at our guest house in Ooty, Pieter was as carsick as one can get from the longer road up into the mountains.
That was on Saturday, January 09.
This guest house's shower was a rather puritan experience!
No window, but a hole in the wall, that was only provided with metal slats, which did not close...
We had a small electric heater, to turn in any case not completely blue from cold, from shower to bedroom.
This also helped us with getting into our clothes fast; just like a couple of drilled soldiers!
Keep in mind - this is HIGH IN THE MOUNTAINS!
Lovely mountains... but rather cold and windy during the night!
On Sunday, January 10, we did drive through the mountains to the mushroom farm to start our work period together as consultants.
We always enjoyed our beautiful surroundings in the Queen of Hills
Mother nature can be rough at times but when the sun shines down, it looks awesome...
People in the mountains for sure are not wealthy...
This is how they live close to that mushroom farm.
Two donkeys on the side of the road...
Yes, India is a vast country and one of many contrasts!
Looking down on the mushroom farm, visible through the trees.
And here the mushroom farm is in full view...
Of course it is hard to capture it in one shot!
We did work intensely for one week and on Friday, January 14, we left from the farm, after a meeting with the entire staff, on our way to Coimbatore.
This time we could travel via the normal route as of 14:00 o'clock that day, they had opened a Bailey Bridge, put in place by the military, to be used for light vehicles.
There was a sign: One Vehicle at a Time but we saw another vehicle coming our way!
It looked terribly scary! In Indonesia we saw more often a land slide but never such a devastation as here!
The two of us are never afraid, but we both know for certain that there is really such a thing as a Guardian Angel!!!
A miracle often, that we once again got out unscathed.
Also good to see up close such destruction from a natural disaster!
This teaches us once more very clearly, that there is still someone who is many times more powerful than we, small measly ants on this little globe.

We arrived in Coimbatore and traveled again, like the previous consulting trip together, by train to Madras (Chennai). This stretch of some 600 km we managed in 10 hours, in a first class sleeping compartment. Two rows of bunk beds for 4 people. Both of us slept at the top.
One staff member was with us and another unknown businessman.

We arrived around 5:00 and were being dropped off at a chic Sheraton Hotel (far more luxurious in India than here in the USA!).
After a shower and change of clothes, we had our usual wrap-up meeting with the general manager from Pond's India, at their main office in Chennai.
It took quite some effort and even courage for always being straight forward, but still righteous, to give our opinion about things and people. This was required of our job, being consultants...
We always felt relieved, when starting the return journey.
With our luggage packed up again, we left around 14:30 to the airport of Madras.
Flying to Delhi, first class; thus they found us worthy of that!
We met again with our contact person whom we had not seen in two years, because of our non-stop direct flight to Bombay (Mumbai) but on Saturday, there was no Bombay/Amsterdam flight.
In completing the Royal Treatment, they brought us for one night to the Taj Palace Inter Continental Hotel...
Again, such a stark contrast with so many poor people in that country, such luxury for only two people!
We got up at 4:30 on Sunday, January 16 and started our flight back on Royal Dutch Airlines.
Again we got an upgrade to Business Class, due to our Royal Wing card and flew to Amsterdam, The Netherlands and on to Detroit, MI before going to Atlanta, GA.
Back in the USA...

Thanks for your visit and comment!

Related links:
Husband Pieter's DANGEROUS Trip back from India | previous post by me
My 3rd trip to India - Consulting Together with Husband Pieter | previous post by me
Consulting for Pond's (India) Limited Mushroom Project | previous post by me
My 2nd trip to India - Consulting Together with Husband Pieter | previous post by me
Brindavan Gardens Mysore with Luxury Heritage Hotel | previous post by me

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