Jumped in a taxi very early to go out to the first anniversary celebrations for a new Institute of Life Sciences at the University of Hyderabad. It’s an intersting place. We were guests of Dr Reddy’s Lab, who have funded the institute and we were made very welcome by Prof. Javed Iqbal, the director of the ILS. The building is very impressive, and is already being extended even as it people are moving in!).
We left at four to make our way back across town to do a bit of sightseeing. Our taxi driver, Mr Somi Reddy, was great and stayed with us the whole day. He was a bit stubborn about where we should go though!
First of all we went to the Charminar gate, in the middle of a great, lively market. The Charminar was beautifully lit, and I enjoyed walking around the market that sold lots of fresh fruit all around. We really only had time to stop and take a few photos, but then walked up to the Mecca Masjid. We had a look around the temple and went inside. Had a rather dull tour of some tombstones that were all the same and then got fleeced for money for the poor. The temple was impressive.
We went to visit a hindu temple. It was really lovely on a hill overlooking the city and very peaceful. We couldn’t take cameras or phones in so we left them with the taxi driver (It was amazing how many we had!) Ray had mentioned something about pearls and the taxi driver dropped us off at a jewelry shop specialising in pearls. We got a pleasant but predictable hard sell (the only one of the day really). I looked at pearl/silver sings for Michael but they were pretty tatty. Both Alejandra and Ray bought some small pieces.
We finally went to Necklace Road, a famous road in Hyderabad. The lake is a bit stagnant and a bit smelly! We ate at Waterfont, on Necklace Road which wasn’t as good as our hotel, but the view out of the window was nice. Had a good South Indian meal.
Slept until 3, then dozed until 5, then up and cleared some e-mail and had a chat with Michael online , he was staying up late. Met Alejandra and Ray for breakfast at 8. We were aiming to get a taxi at 9, to visit Avra Laboratories about 9.30. We didn’t get into the taxi until 9.10 because of the complications of booking it in the hotel. Then, to make things even slower, the taxi driver got lost four times despite two phone calls to Avra’s. The route there was quite difficult though.
We had a very interesting hour at Avra’s, then Ray and I left at 11 to go over to IICT for a lecture and tour of the lab. Our taxi driver managed the journey okay that time (we had passed the site the way to Avras).
We had a great welcome at the IICT. Dr Kunwar was a very warm and friendly host, as was the Director, Dr Yadav. We gave our RSC lecture to about 25 staff and had a very good discussion led by Dr Yadav, who was a strong facilitator for the group. We had a good lunch and then a tour of the labs which were excellent. I forgot to take any photographs of this lab tour, which is unlike me. The library is good and we met the staff there.
A department car took us back to the hotel where we met up with Alejandra who had been visiting a different company on the North of the City. Started writing our trip reports over a beer and then dinner in the hotel is a different restaurant specialising in Dashkin, Southern Indian cuisine. The meal was good, but not as good as last night.
Uralai Kelangu Podimas (Aubergine in a tamarind sauce-quite bitter)
Kothimiri Vankai Koora (Potatoes I think)
Cauliflower Melagu Perratti (spicy cauliflower)
all with appam, puri and porotta breads. The puri were very good and the appam freshly made in the restaurant. After two nights of almost no sleep I’m now pretty shattered!
Had a couple of hours doze this afternoon then did some work. Met up with Alejandra and Ray in the 16th floor for a drink at 6pm. Tried some Sula wine which was very nice (and reasonable price) and then headed off to Peshawri restaurant in the hotel. Described as “World famous for its North-west Frontier Cuisine. The ambience is decidedly rugged and you can even watch the meal being prepared”. Not sure about the ‘rugged’ but it was relaxed and the vegetarian food was excellent. Had great cauliflower tandoori phool, delicate biryani and lovely breads, also a lovely black lentil dhal. The hotel is fiercely airconditioned and I had to wear my fleece when I was out of my room. Bbbrr!
In the photo Alejandra is sporting the lovely, fetching apron/napkins that were part of the rugged theme of the restaurant. They were potentially a very good idea as we were eating the meal with our fingers.
Alejandra and I were picked up at 9.30 in the morning to go to Heathrow, flying BA to Bangalore and then Kingfisher onto Hyderabad. The whole journey went very smoothly. We met Ray Jones on the plane and had good seats that meant we had a good, straightforward journey. Watched The Darjeeling Ltd., which was enjoyable but a dark comedy that played with my head on a flight, and also the much more straightforward Run Fat Boy Run. Yet more Simon Pegg, being, Simon Pegg. Tried some cryptic crossword from the Guardian… not a success (yet!). We had five hours to kill in Bangalore Airport, an hour of which was spent waiting for the baggage to arrive. It was as if one person was unloading the whole plane. We holed up for 4 more hours in the restaurant and had some dosa, idly, vada and uttapum: the dosa was particularly nice! Also had breakfast on the Kingfisher flight to Hyderabad, that wasn’t so nice. I struggled to stay awake on this flight and it was only a Cartoon Network show of Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends that kept my eyes open.
We’re staying at the Kakatiyain Hyderabad, which is very nice. We checked in on the 16th floor, where we have a little desk. I haven’t worked out what the deal is with that yet. Hyderabad was lovely and sunny, clean and bright. I’ve had a couple of hours dozing to help get over the worst of the travel, and meeting up with Ale and Ray in three hours. So some time to get John a few things that he wanted for a paper he’s writing and to get sorted out for tomorrow. A couple of shots from the hotel.