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Today was an exciting day. I finally met the full India20 team (all 11 of us) in the Lobby of the Bombay hotel at 9am. It was great to see everyone finally together and it’s a testament to Flavio and the CSC preparation team that we immediately felt strong bond.

After introductions we headed to the airport. Nina was a bit worried about a bit of duct tape around a window on the plane, but while it did look disconcerning it turned out to be a very uneventful 1 hour flight to Jamnagar.

As we descended through the clouds towards the airport I was amazed at how green and agricultural the area is. For some reasons I had wongly pictured a dry environment, but of course at least in Monsoon season this is far from what is true.  Image

The Airport was very interesting and since it’s military based with only one commercial flight in each day personnel at the airport were decidedly formal. After collecting our bags it was off to Hotel Aram, which turns out to be the nicest hotel in the whole city!

In the afternoon we met in the “Royal Suite” which is a large and very beautiful room the team has to work from and meet in each night.

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Following a brief meeting with our hosts Kabi and Shrute we took on the task of accomplishing three things:

  • Getting Cll phone SIM cards (a long ad paper intensive process) for some of the people to get their smart phones fully operational
  • Getting ATM withdrawals and currency exchange happening (India is a VERY cash oriented country)
  • Getting a liquor permit – turns out in Gujarat we are able to get a special permit to allow us to purchase limited supplies

I’m proud to say we accomplished all three of these goals to varying levels of success and there is an interesting sub-story to all I won’t go into here, but trust me each has it’s own level of excitement…

Perhaps the highlight of my day was when Paula (from Brazil) and I were walking behind the main team along the side of a road at night. With Auto Rick Shaws and Cars swarming around us an continual honking in our ears we were approached by a very delightful and excited group of young girls. And while I admit I first wondered what they wanted I soon found out all they wanted to do was to talk to the strangers. They wanted to learn more about us and asked where we were from. Clearly my white skin and Red hair are proving to help me stand out in this city. The girls has had excellent English and explained that they were studying and nearing an exam period on the subject. They asked a us a few questions and expressed there extreme pleasure at having met us. Which is truth be told is not something that any of us normally head. Fortunately I had a couple Canada label pins to give them and when I handed them over as a small gift their eyes sparked with amazement. It’s completely amazing to me how something so trivial can bring that kind of joy, but… there it was.

In between all of this we squeezed in a walk of the market at night, another Auto Rick Shaw ride, more Cows in the street and all manner of orchestrated chaos that would be un-achievable on my beloved homeland of Canada. I’m really beginning to understand what people have said to me about India being both beautiful and complex. A few of the many pictures of the scenes captured here: Image

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I finished off the evening relaxing with the India 20 team in he Royal suite.  It was indeed and very interesting day, one in which I think all of took a big step forward in building friendships and sharing in experiences few of us would have ever dreamt we might have.

Tomorrow we have some more official familiarization meetings starting at 10 am and I’m very much looking forward to that. I’ll post more about it of course after it’s done. For now I’ll sign off. Hope this is proving interesting to all. Please comment to let me know if you have any questions or want me to cover any specific comments.

Best wishes to all and thanks for continuing to read my Blog.

Keith.

#IBMCSC India

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