A Passage to India

By JoAnne Hewett | February 28, 2006 3:49 pm

This afternoon I am embarking on a great adventure – my own walkabout if you like. I am going to India! It takes 2 days to get there and I will be there for 22 days. The reason for the trip is the 2006 International Linear Collider Workshop (LCWS06), being held in Bangalore. I will be visiting a collaborator at the Tata Institute beforehand, and will tour a bit afterwards. In particular, I will be at the Taj Mahal for two major events: a lunar eclipse and my birthday!

Even though I’ve been to India once before, the preparations for this trip have been massive. I’ve switched from film to digital photography and had to invest in all the appropriate equipment and learn how to use it! I am now the proud owner of a Nikon D200 (10.2 Mpixels!) with VRII 18-200mm lens, 4 Gb of high speed flash cards, not one but two spare batteries, and a Wolverine hard disk. If everything works okay, I should be set! In addition, my suitcase is chock full of FOOD (ranging from trail mix, to peanut butter, to granola bars), a bottle of wine (who could go 3 whole weeks without wine??) and enough hand sanitizer to make an entire army germ free.

LCWS05 was held at Stanford last March and I was the workshop organizor. This year I am most happy to just be a participant and enjoy my stay. Internet access may or may not be difficult and I may not be able to blog for awhile.

Gosh, the taxi is here – Bon Voyage!

  • Savyasachi

    Wonderful! A word of caution – please do NOT drink water in random places – carry your own bottle of mineral water, although I’m sure you have already been warned.

    And please do visit places in Karnataka (e.g. Mysore Mahal, Mysore) – they’re way better than the most hyper-hyped Indian monument, the Taj Mahal. Karnataka is also a great place for wildlife tourism. Another word of caution – if you have to take a package tour of any sort, do not trust anyone except the government agencies – I’m telling you this from my experience.

    Have a great trip!

  • http://countiblis.blogspot.com Count Iblis

    Also, don’t forget to take malaria pills. Recently the advice has been changed and you should now take malaria pills everywhere including in the big cities except at places higher than 2000 meters in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu, Kashmir, and Sikkim. See here for details

  • http://www.amara.com/ Amara

    Dear Joanne, I will be celebrating the total solar eclipse and _my_ birthday in Turkey next month! I’m happy to read that other wild women taking ‘walkabouts’ are on the loose on this planet….

  • yesseynoon

    Your mail is misleading. From your mail it seems that the travel time from US to India is 2 days, which is wrong. India can be reached in 14.5 hrs with American Airlines flight from Chicago (to New Delhi). Also, Bangalore is the silicon valley of India and you are doubting about internet access! In terms of food, Bangalore and Mumbai are one of the best places where you can find cuisines from all around the world.

  • SK

    JoAnne, welcome to Bangalore! You will certainly not find it lacking in food, wine or internet access. Hope you have a wonderful time here.

  • http://nanopolitan.wordpress.com/ Abi

    Great news! I hope you will be visiting IISc, and perhaps give a talk as well.

  • Nico

    Happy you are off for a wonderful journey, enjoy. I will celebrate my birthday as well, sadly I will not be in India for the eclipse, but none the less I hope I will get a glimpse somewhere, since I travel a lot … all the best and take good care.

  • Dan

    Well done on your new camera rig – the VRII 18-200 is one of the (possibly the) best DX lens to come out of Nikon in the past few years, and is so scarce that quite often, money can’t buy it.

  • http://www.irrationalpoint.blogspot.com Quibbler

    Lucky you! I lived in India for a little while last year and had a fantastic time.

    Karnataka is great, but Bangalore has a slightly more colonial feel to it than much of the rest of India — Western style cars, straight parallel roads etc. Uttar Pradesh is great though. Hope you get a chance to explore — Varanasi is well worth the visit if you can spare a few days.

    You can find internet in for 15-35 rupees pretty much everywhere in India.

    Have a fantastic trip.


  • JoAnne

    Hi All – just checking in! I am in Mumbai – after > 24 hours of travel from SFO – and am having a great time so far. Camera etal is functioning great!

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/sean/ Sean

    Hi JoAnne! I am very jealous, about both your trip and your new camera.

  • Anon

    Sean, Some time back, I saw ur name in the list of speakers here. But I guess the trip didnt happen…

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/sean/ Sean

    Yes, I had to cancel that trip at the last minute, which means that I still haven’t been to India. I hope to go sometime soon.

  • A. S. Nathan

    The other great place in my opinion (if you have the time) are the temples in Tanjore and Madurai. These are fantastic 1000+ year old temples of carved granite rising to quite a height. I am a sculpture buff so I found it breathtaking, much more than the Taj. And considering its age, it was some accomplishment. These are smaller towns so you must be able to rough it out a bit. I am told that good hotels have been built recently so that may help. The other one of course are the erotic temples of Khajuraho in central India. They are a bit away from where you will be, so time may be your crunch. I found that eating outside was OK as long as you kept to decent bistros and ordered hot (temp) foods and drinks. Have fun.

  • Demian

    Hi JoAnne,

    Welcome to India. Since I am currently a post-doc in RRI, nearby institute from IISc, I may bump into you. I hope you are enjoying being in India.


    We all missed you, and disappointed in Puri.

  • Balagopal

    Happy B’day to JoAnne,
    Welcome to India. Happened to see this site as I was looking for the timeing for Lunar Eclipse.
    Nice to see your interest in India.
    Don really worry about food an all as all the places mentioned by you wud offer gud food and water(but better mineral water).
    Regarding places again don forget to visit Kerala: God’s own Country.Am sure you wud enjoy the sea and the backwaters.Jus overnight from Bangalore.

  • http://www.amara.com/ Amara

    This is what JoAnne is watching tonight.

    There is a beautiful Full Moon tonight, that goes into eclipse (first contact is at 21:21 UT, about 30 min from now, it will lie completely inside the Earth’s shadow for one hour starting at 23:18 UT, that is, ~2 hours from now.)


    From the web site, that describes this special penumbral lunar eclipse http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/OH/OH2006.html

    “The first lunar eclipse of 2006 is a deep penumbral event best visible from Europe and Africa. First and last penumbral contacts occur at 21:22 UT and 02:14 UT (Mar 15), respectively. The Moon’s path through Earth’s penumbra as well as a map showing worldwide visibility of the event is shown in Figure 1. Observers throughout most of North America will find the eclipse already in progress as the Moon rises on the evening of March 14. However, no eclipse will be visible from westernmost North America (Yukon, British Columbia, Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California) since the event ends there before moonrise. This particular event is unusual since it is a total penumbral eclipse. The whole Moon will lie completely within the penumbral shadow from 23:18 UT to 00:18 UT (Mar 15). According to Belgian eclipse expert Jean Meeus [1997] this is one of only five such events during the 21st century. Greatest eclipse occurs at 23:48 UT with a penumbral magnitude of 1.0565. At that instant, the Moon will stand midway in the penumbral shadow. The Moon’s northern limb will lie 1.6 arc-minutes from the shadow’s outer edge while the southern limb be 1.6 arc-minutes from the edge of the umbra.”

    “Penumbral eclipses are difficult to observe, especially during the early and late stages. Nevertheless, a subtle yet distinct shading should be visible across the southern half of the Moon, especially during the two hour period centered on greatest eclipse.”

  • http://www.amara.com/ Amara

    It was unlike any other lunar eclipse I have seen; the moon was not a dull red color but instead looked relatively bright but with a film of gray over the surface. A very subtle effect, I would say! I watched only from my balcony in my small town near Rome, there was nothing grand in my environment except the Rome city lights (in fact I doubt most of the asleep people knew an eclipse was in progress…) so hope JoAnne can tell us what her India environment looked like during this event.

  • http://arunsmusings.blogspot.com Arun

    Hopefully, JoAnne’s environment looked exceptionally colorful – March 15 is Holi. Though, celebrations are more prevalent in the north.



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  • damtp_dweller

    How can I get an RSS feed on this blog? I am new to this and really like the content being discussed here

    If you look on the main page, there’s a link further down the page called “RSS feed.” You can use this link in your favourite RSS reader (or in Safari if you’re a Mac person). Seems simple enough 😉

  • http://countiblis.blogspot.com Count Iblis

    Spammers are becoming smarter It won’t be long before we see postings that are more meaningful replies to a posting. If you have some artificial intelligent system that has some rudimentary understanding of the English language then that would prabably be the only money making application. :)

  • http://www.tiik.info hair removal info

    nice one and great point there i agree with it…even i feel like making a blog like the one you have now. keep it up bud


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