Sunday, December 8, 2013

Arrived in Mumbai

We arrived in Mumbai more or less on time on Sunday. The flight was good except that they ran out of food with meat in it from London to India. Was pretty hungry by the time we landed. John Shihan was a good travel partner, and we managed to discuss lots of business for IKGA Canada. We picked up other members of our team/ delegation in London...Donna Shihan, Kurt Sensei, Brenda, Bernadette and her farther Gerardo.

Once we arrived in Mumbai immigration was easy...except for Berna and her father, who are actually still Philippines citizens. They had to apply for visas once they arrived and had a lot of explaining to do. But in the end they we're let in, so it's all good.

We were met at the airport by the Indian organizers' hospitality team, who had arranged rides to the airport. Bags were packed, and the porters hit us up for money...I gave them way too much for a tip...and then we were off to our hotel.

That first ride was something else.

Apparently there aren't many rules of the road here. Communication with other drivers and pedestrians is by sounding your horn at them. Repeatedly. For the whole trip. It was interesting. We made our way through the shanty town next to the airport. Flying in we noticed that there was this whole community of houses and businesses that was situated right off the end of the runway. Couldn't imagine wanting to live at the end of a runway, except that they probably don't get hassled too much for rent. Getting a bit more into the city and it became a bit more developed and structurally significant. A little more of a sense of permanence to the buildings. Except for the drivers. They don't seem like they are making any attempt at permanence. Helmets on scooter drivers were clearly optional and very scarce. But to be sure, if there was a helmet being worn it was on the male driver and not the female passenger. Interesting place. I actually saw one guy on his scooter carrying a perfectly nice helmet in one hand, driving with the other, and I'm not sure what he was doing to make his horn work. 

The Hotel Ginger is actually really nice. It's on a busy street, and apparently I missed the cows walking along the street at some point. We were met by Guarave, who has been my contact to organize the accommodations, and the team was dots were placed on our foreheads. Everyone was made to feel quite welcome. Once we were settled in our rooms we made our way to the restaurant for what would be the first of many meals or spicy Indian curry goodness! It was an excellent meal...I had some sort of creamy buttery chicken deliciousness that was quite spicy, although I'm sure to Indians it was probably laughably mild. But it was really yummy anyway.

We turned in a bit early after a couple emails and a bit of Skype. 

So far it has been an interesting experience...more to come! Next up...touring the city of Mumbai!

Friday, December 6, 2013

And we're off to Mumbai!

On our way to the 6th IKGA World Championships in Mumbai, India! First leg of the to London...with John Shihan. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Get ready...

Well, it's Thursday night, well actually Friday morning. The house is clean, suitcases are nearly packed, technology is almost complying to demands...I'm almost ready to go to the IKGA World Championships in Mumbai, India. The Canadian team is a small but determined lot...two competitors, two coaches, a team manager and one referee make up the team. John Priegert Shihan will be representing IKGA Canada at all the official functions. Our competitors have their supporters...parents for backup. Nearly everything is in place!

I have a lot to do over the next 10 days or so. It will be a very busy couple of weeks, but I'm sure it will be well worth every minute of it! In addition to trying to keep this new blog up to date, I will be updating the IKGA website blog with tournament results and photos, attending meetings and discussions with Saiko Shihan about changes and additions to the website, fitting in the IKGA Congress, training with the team, making sure everyone has enough water, food and rest, referee clinic, managers meeting, taking photos, and if we have some time I need to try to get in a bit of sightseeing while half-way round the world, in a country that I never would have thought I would have had the chance to see!

This will be quite the trip, and I'm looking forward to posting regular updates. Only a matter of hours now...Next stop...India!