AALP Class 14 arrived at Pearson International Airport on time for departure on our International Study Tour to India. After a short delay everyone was eager to get started on our trip. The first leg took us to Brussels where we were informed we were in for an 8 hour layover. Most of the class was able to catch some sleep or to sample some wonderful Belgium beer. Remi Van de Slyke, Mark Hermann and Graham Hoogterp joined the main group after their own pre-study tour trips in Belgium and the Netherlands. So after a lengthy delay we were off to New Delhi, India, arriving there at 4:00 a.m.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
AALP Class 14 has finally arrived in India! At 4:00 a.m. the plane arrived at the New Delhi airport. After a quick refresh at the hotel, the class was off to the High Commission of Canada to hear from a plethora of its employees including the High Commissioner (Ambassador), Stewart Beck; AAFC representative in India, Kathleen Donohue; and other representatives who discussed such topics as politics and economy in India and engagement of Canada, and Ontario in particular, in India. Also on-hand to meet with the class was Sara Ahmed, who represents IDRC's agricultural projects in Canada. She explained many of the ongoing projects, most of which partner with the University of Guelph. Interesting learnings from the morning included better understanding of the relationships between India and Canada, the politics of India and advancements in this area, and where the High Commission of Canada would most like to see relationships between the two countries further flourish (trade, improvement of Indian agricultural practices, opportunities for shared learning). The class was then back to the hotel to pick up their belongings and then off by over-night train to Mumbai – and hopefully a better night sleep for everyone!
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
For some AALP Class 14 members it was a good sleep, others not so much, due to the cramped quarters on the train. Either way, we arrived in Mumbai where we were greeted with some hot and humid weather. A quick check in at the Fariyas Hotel and we were on a bus checking out the expansive, twenty million person city. The afternoon of sightseeing included the Prince of Wales Museum, the Mahatma Ghandi Museum, a general tour of the city (with local guide), and a view of the most expensive house in the world a two billion dollar, 400,000 sq. ft. establishment housing 5 people and employing 400. This house, found in the richest part of the Mumbai Malaban Hill, is owned by Mr. Umbani, owner of Reliance Industries, the richest man in India. Another interesting stop on the tour was the largest laundry facility in India, an outdoor wash, dry, iron, fold and deliver business called the Dohbi Ghat. After a visit to the Gate of India, we returned to the hotel for a late dinner and to catch up on some much needed rest, in preparation for an early start tomorrow.
Mike Menzi, Remi Van De Slyke, Michelle Wall - AALP Class 14 Bloggers