Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Back from the Travels

 Beginning of the Journey: Camel Ride in Jaisalmer
 AGRA: Taj Mahal
 The Typical Taj Mahal Picture
2nd shot: Self-Timer

So I've arrived back home in Toronto! Woohoo! It was an enjoyable vacation through the few parts of India that I visited and it was definitely not enough time to enjoy all of the locations properly. However, it was quite an experience being able to travel from Mussoorie-30deg weather, to Rajastan-48 deg weather, to Goa-35degree weather and beaches =). The final destination was definitely necessary as I was able to enjoy the beaches and catch up with new friends that I met in Mussoorie. The culture is completely different from the rest of India, and I was able to check out one of the weddings in India.

What can I say? The first part of EMI is over, and I'm sure there will be many more experiences with EMI in the future. I've learned many things, ranging from professional work, to personal growth, to spiritual growth. One of the main things that has impacted me through this experience was the connection and ability to mesh with the other workers in a way I've never seen before. Every skill and every personality was complimented by every person in the office to a degree that allowed for us to stand out with the roles that we were given. The other valuable experience that I gained, was a greater appreciation for water. As we were in Mussoorie, we had constant power shortages and unstable electricity which was complained about constantly as we were running short on our deadlines. One day, our water supply dried up and we didn't have water for multiple days, which helped me to gain a perspective that I'd rather have running water and no power any time. After coming back I've seen how much of a blessing water is.

Anyway, as I am back now I'd love to share stories and/or answer questions in person over a coffee or a meal. Please feel free to contact me at and I'd be glad to go more in depth with sharing my experience!

Thanks for your support and keeping me updated with everything. I'll be sure to add more pictures of the travels to the facebook albums.



Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Quick Update

Hello all,

I'm currently in Jaipur. We finished out travels to Jaisalmer (the furthest west in Rajastan) and then we skipped over Jodhpur due to lack of time and we're in Jaipur heading to Agra tonight. So far our trip has been very busy as we've been seeing a lot and the sun is extremely draining. The temperature is approximately 42-48 degrees Celsius and can go well over the 50s as well, or at least the locals say that. I don't particularly want to experience that. In Jaisalmer, we rode camels into the desert and stayed a night in the sand dunes. The hours between 1-3 became too hot to travel, so there was an afternoon break where we had lunch and slept each day and it continues even into this city where people don't work and take their time to relax/sleep back home. In the desert we were engulfed by a sandstorm. I survived a sandstorm! it was a cool experience as the whole group was sleeping and then all of a sudden we were hit by what felt like sand pellets and blinded by the sand lifted into the air. Being disoriented I hid under the blanket, I peered out to see Lauren sitting straight up confused and not sure what to do, so i pulled her under the blanket and we just sat there with sand in our eyes trying to breath for about a few hours. At midnight exactly, the sandstorm gave way and we opened out eyes and stepped out to see that our shoes were buried, the mattress was under a bunch of sand and our hair had so much sand that it couldn't be washed out properly even with multiple showers. Overall a great time there as the culture is a lot slower and people are genuinely friendly.

Having a lot of culture shock as the city is much different from Mussoorie where people will tend to keep their personal space and distance.

When I have the chance to later, I'll write about the culture, and the architecture/construction in India.



Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Trek

The Interns at the Himalayan Glacier Mountains

 The Team - Interns + Franks Family
 Glacier Mountains 

 Snow on the mountain top =)

 At the Top 

 Heading Back from the Trek

Just got back from the trek with the office and ended up getting 13,600ft above sea level. I was able to go on the first hike EVER, and up the Himalayan Mountain to check out the snow glaciers that we are able to see every day from the office. It was a great experience and we were able to see God's creations. Hiking up was fun because we did it in the rain, and for the final night we slept under the stars since the weather was clear. Lucky for us we had a mountain sheep dog that traveled with us all the way up and guarded us all night long. Basically, it barked all night long waking us up every hour allowing us to see the stars. Clearest sky I've ever seen. As a reward, whenever the dog slept on us or on our sleeping bag and barked, we picked up our shoes, hit it, and told it to go away and stop barking because it was keeping everyone up.

I'll be heading to Rajastan, Western part of India tomorrow morning at 3:00am, and then traveling around there until the 20th. From the 20th I'll be going to Goa (South India) and then heading home on the 31st of May. I'm not sure how internet connections will be where I'm going, or if I'll even have internet but I'll be sure to try and keep this updated and keep up with y'all.

See you soon,


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Nearing the End

As of last Monday, we have officially completed the two projects for Bihar which were ECFC and TIM. For the rest of the week the other interns focused on completing the projects from Pune. Huberth (the indian architect), Graham (the engineer on staff) and myself went to do a one time consultation on Tuesday. A woman from the States planned on starting up an agricultural farm in the Himalayan mountains which concentrates on organic farming and other "green" eco methods. We took a 2-3 hour drive up and around the mountain to where her site was located and found out that construction had already begun. Long story short, we analyzed the site, gave suggestions for the construction and went back home to write up the report and send out suggestions from both architectural and engineering perspectives with regards to what she wants to do with the site. Overall it was an interesting experience and it was fun to go on a day trip and see other aspects of eMi2.

As for the rest of the month that I missed the opportunity to record on the blog. For about 2-3 weeks of that month we had very unstable power supply  and then for 2 weeks we didn't have internet connections at all and any reports or emails that were mandatory were sent through tethering with smart phone connections. All of this was quite bearable and not much of an issue to me really. We got our work done and then enjoyed the sun or other activities after work and little did we know that the situation would get tougher. So usually around this time, water supply becomes an issue. One day we woke up, wanted to brush our teeth and found that there wasn't any water. We then decided to get some water from the drinking tank and use that instead, all to find that no water was to be found. All of a sudden I realized how spoiled we are to have water all the time and I thought to myself, all the complaining we've been doing up until this day was kind of dumb. We would complain that there was no electricity and no internet or nothing to do, but I would gladly trade all of that for accessible flowing water. The month was extremely short and in the end  we didn't even realize that a whole month had already passed.

For the next few weeks we have a trek planned out in the Himilayan mountains. We'll be driving a bit higher up in elevation then when the car can't go any further we'll park and take our gear for a 16km hike further up. We'll camp out and then do day hikes from the main campsite. All the interns will be going, the Franks family including 3 kids and the Indian architect from the office. The trek will end on the 11th and then we will start on our intern holiday of traveling and seeing the rest of india. Unfortunately it's the hottest time to be traveling but since we're already here, we decided to man up and take the heat, literally. For the most part, we were able to find a/c train rides but there was one where we could not avoid and that will be going from the Taj Mahal, Agra to Delhi at 2:30pm which is the hottest time of the day. I'm not particularly looking forward to that train ride but I figured it'll be a great experience nonetheless.

Looking forward to seeing you all again soon! Hope you are doing well.

- Jay

Monday, March 28, 2011

Doctors for a Day - Medical Village Visit

On Saturday, March 26, 2011, 2 Architecture Interns and 1 Civil Engineer became doctors. We were requested to help travel to a village and assist with medical needs if it were possible. Obviously, being the 3 interns that we are, jumped at the opportunity to become doctors for a day since doctors are just THAT cool. We began the day with pancakes and eggs at Oaklands, the main office at the top of the hill. Then, when we were ready, we headed down to the lookout location to meet the rest of the medical team. We began our journey, traveling down the mountain and it was incredibly steep and slippery. Stephen has a picture of me sitting on the ground after a dramatic fall down a couple of rocks which I will post up later for all to laugh at. The main thing is, I protected the medicine and none of it was damaged, so I'm quite proud of myself. Here are some pictures of the views we had and things we did, more are posted on facebook for you to view if you want. 

The Mountains on our way down to the village

 Zack, latest room mate down at Tippery doing his medical thing

 Lauren weighing the kids

 Girl playing in mud as her mother screams in the background

Basically, the real medical team (aka. Zack) examined the kids and we helped out where we could. Eventually we played with the kids and just spent time with them. It was a very interesting experience and now when people tell me that they're going on medical missions, I have a better perspective of what they are working on. This Thursday or next Monday, I'll be heading out to another location, in a Tibetan region to assist again. The facility should be more developed with xray machines and all compared to this village where everyone was examined in a school classroom. It was really amazing seeing God's workmanship and the mountain ranges. Pictures, of course, were not able to capture the scenery but I tried my best. Luckily, we didn't see anything too dramatic and gross. Hopefully, it will continue that way.


New Pets! (Leah hum, skip this post)

Once upon a time was a Chinese guy, named jay =) Went to India to escape the life endangering insects, snakes and poisonous creatures of that little place north of the United States called Canada. Although, there was one thing that he missed. It was a small water creature known as lobsters. How he spoke of the great big lobsters and the amazing flavor that they produced once steamed alive in that big giant pot of his at home. To his surprise, one day while he was working out, God blessed him! On the floor of his house, he saw it. The shell was round and strong. The claws were bigger than the body and sharp. The legs were short and quick! But there were a few things different. Firstly, the lobster was smaller, somewhat like a crayfish. Secondly, the tail was longer and curled up over it's back. Have you guessed what it was yet? if not, it was a scorpion....... in the house.... here's a picture =(

Stephen playing with the scorpion. Took a video, we teased it to see how angry we could get it before throwing it down the mountain. 

To finish off the night, we found a few other buddies. Giant spiders that are in Mussoorie. Took a picture of the spider for you to see. The coolest thing about these guys is that they get bigger than this. This is maybe 1/2 the size that it gets. T_T suddenly I miss winter since they're hiding during winter.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bargaining Tips

    Been doing some shopping and found a website with bargaining tips. Thought I'd share.
  • You should have at least some knowledge of the thing you buy. The more knowledge, the better bargain situation you'll have. If you buy cloth, you must be able to see the different qualities of cotton, silk...(not at all that easy !)
  • Never ever show any excitement of the thing you want to buy. the less interested you look, the better.
  • You can't use the rule "The salesman always start out with 10 times the real price". Some start out with 10 times the real price, other 20 times.
  • Make the other go down in price, before you even start to mention your own price.
  • Even the smallest defect, you should use to bargain down the price
  • As long as the indian is smiling, you're not even close to the real price. <= haha
  • Try to watch how the indians bargain, and learn
  • Take advantage of that you are buying, he/she is selling.
  • If you buy much in the same shop, get discount
  • And remember that the indians have years of practice, you're just a beginner
So far, all is true.