Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Contrasts in Gurgaon

During our last few days in India, Kristin and Amy twice drove through a city named Gurgaon. It is a suburb of Delhi. It isn't very far from Delhi but it sure looks VERY different.

Gurgaon is full of shopping malls like the ones we have in the United States. It also has lots of really cool looking buildings.

Kristin says she wanted to see Gurgaon because of the modern buildings. Kristin says India is growing FAST and Gurgaon is a good example of how India is growing. Kristin also says there are many BIG American companies like Microsoft with offices in Gurgaon.

Kristin wasn't kidding when she said Gurgaon is growing fast. Everywhere I looked I could see construction cranes, construction workers, and partially finished sky scrapers.

Here you can see workers with bright yellow hats working on one of the many buildings under construction.
All of the really tall buildings looked very new and modern in Gurgaon. But everything didn't look new. I still saw old cars, trucks, and even tractors on the streets in front of the new buildings.
During both of our trips to Gurgaon, Kristin and Amy had a very hard time taking photos. That's because there were security guards everywhere! I wanted to show you pictures of the inside of one of the malls but the security guards wouldn't let Kristin and Amy take photos. :(

So Kristin and Amy decided to have our driver drive up and down the main streets of Gurgaon. He would stop when Kristin or Amy asked him to and then they would put down the car windows and snap as many photos as they could before they would attract guards.

It was really interesting to see how the buildings were being constructed. Some had very modern looking materials like steel beams. But some buildings were using what looked like big sticks as support. Kristin said the sticks looked like bamboo. And while I saw lots of modern looking construction equipment like cranes and concrete trucks...

...I also saw people working in small, crowded shops like this person who was welding what looked like a small motor.

I also noticed at some construction sites that the workers didn't have modern tools. Here you can see women using their heads to carry baskets of rocks.

At another building site this man was one of a team of workers using their heads to carry baskets of sand.

Here you can see a team of men working together to move large metal poles from the ground to the top of a building being constructed. Very interesting.

After Kristin and Amy had taken photos on the main streets of Gurgaon, our driver took us down some smaller streets until we reached a new road under construction. You could see many of the modern and new buildings from this street. But I noticed there were several tents (or poles covered with tarps) along the road.

Kristin said many of the construction workers live in these tents. I had no idea! Kristin reminded me that many people in India are very poor and cannot afford to live in a real home like I do in Iowa. This makes me sad.

Here are a couple of other interesting things I saw on the roads in and around Gurgaon. A few times I would see a single chair sitting in front of a tree with a mirror on it along the side of the road. Kristin says it is a roadside barber shop. Wow! This sure doesn't look like the place where I get my hair cut.
I also saw many different animals along the side of the road IN THE CITY. I think it is strange these animals don't live on a farm. They were just roaming along the streets. Here are some piglets...some of them were so small that they could barely open their eyes!

At one point when we were driving down one of the roads under construction, we came across an entire herd of cows. I was actually a little scared when I saw all of these horns headed toward the car (shh...don't tell Kristin but I hid in her purse while she took this photo).

And I stayed in her purse as she was taking photos of the bulls like this one as they got REALLY close to the car.
This baby calf could barely stand when I saw it. It didn't scare me like the big bulls!

I finally asked Kristin why I kept seeing so many cows in India. She says a majority of the people who live in India are Hindu. Hindu is the third largest religion in the world (Christianity is the first and Islam is the second largest). I had NO idea! Anyway, cows are very important in the Hindu religion. Kristin says they are so important that many Hindus do not eat beef. Who knew?

Finally, I saved the best for last. Yes...I saw another camel! I love camels! Maybe someday I will actually get to ride one.

That's all from Gurgaon. Bye for now....