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AALP Class 14 International Study Tour - Friday March 1, 2013

Another bright,sunny day today in Delhi. AALP Class 14 has really enjoyed their trip to India but many are looking forward to heading back home to family & friends. A trip to the food market is first order of the day. First impression was primitive & more garbage laying around. Hira Singh Wholesale Vegetable Market is one of four fruit & vegetable markets in Delhi. After going through the tight security at the Ontario Food Terminal, Toronto & Hunts Point Food Market in New York, the lack of security was quite evident. Quite the contrast to our North American tours considering the security we had to go thru to check in at a local hotel or mall in India. Plus the hygiene conditions amplified the contrast between North America & India. Monkeys & cows were roaming around randomly. A few booths were burning incense to either keep the bugs away or make a sacrifice to their god of food safety. Majority of the produce came from within India. We did see a lot of apples from China & the state of Washington, US and kiwi from Italy. Booth space is purchased through the association. The location was allocated by the government as a food market after the previous location was deemed unsuitable for the fruit & vegetable market.

There were only men around the market doing the trading & wholesaling. Wives were at home tending to the home duties. The market is divided into two sections - one for fruit & one for vegetables. An example of pricing, we found that one kilogram of basil was 120 rupees or approximately $2.40.

Our next stop was one of the largest spice markets in India. After the bustle of the street we stepped into a spice and tea shop where we were greeted with a piece of cinnamon - a great ant-acid. Too bad we didn't have that earlier on the trip. India is the world's largest grower of many spices but due to consumption, they are also a huge importer of spices. One note of interest was residents of India generally buy spices individually and make their own blends. The owner of the shop also educated us on tea. There are four different times for harvesting tea each year with different results. Different flavours. Different maturity. Smaller (early in the growing season) is higher content & sweeter. As the season progresses, the tea becomes more bitter and less valued. Spring; summer; monsoon; and fall/autumn are the four seasons or times of harvest.

According to the shop owner, Orange Pekoe is a marketing gimmick for Darjeeling tea that is no longer relevant. White tea is the most beneficial in the world. Highest level of antioxidants. 4-500kg of white tea produced each year.

Before heading back to the hotel we were treated to a show by a snake charmer with a few of Class 14 getting involved. Afterwards a few classmates got henna tattooed on their hands.

Upon returning to the hotel, we got packed & ready for dinner at Park Baluci. Our final dinner in India where we thanked our guide, Harsh, for his advice and hospitality over the past 11 days.

For those who are planning on a trip to India, Harsh says if you plan to drive in India you need 3 things:

1) good brakes

2) good horn

3) good luck

And we would like to add that a good ‘little guy’ is also a ‘must have’ to successfully navigate the hustle and bustle of Indian traffic.

Now, on to the flight home.

Wayne Black, Wes Weins, Christina Mol - AALP Class 14 bloggers

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