ATTENTION: My beekeeping journey ended in August 2013. Due to conflicts of travel and technology, I stopped blogging shortly after arriving in India and through the whirlwind of the remaining adventure and my return to the United States never resumed.

Fortunately, I am in the process of updating the blog to reflect the completion of my research and to convey the outcomes to those who are interested. I hope to have everything up-to-date by February 2015, so check back periodically if you are looking for info on beekeeping in India, Russia, or Germany. Even better, subscribe to this blog by e-mail (at the bottom of the page) and new posts will be sent directly to your inbox as I complete them. Thanks for visiting.

- Dillon Blankenship, 25 October, 2014.

14 March, 2013

This is India!

"Seek thou thy guidance from the wisdom of India."
- Arabic Proverb quoted from Khalid Kishtainy
Well, I've made it to Karnataka. It was a smooth departure from Egypt and it was nice to use the small amount of Arabic I picked up during my stay on the long taxi ride to the airport. It was also fun using my language skills during the layover in Abu Dhabi and on the plane. Now that I'm in India I am having to refrain from using "la" for "no" and "aiwa" for "yes" just as I had to drop the tendency to address women as "mama" while transitioning from Swahili when I arrived in Cairo (the latter being a point of embarrassment the few times it happened before I broke the habit). In Bangalore, at least, it seems that most people are speaking English (along with the local language of Kannada - pronounced like America's northern neighbor). It has been very strange ordering food and asking for directions in my native tongue and being understood. I do not think this convenience will continue outside of the city.

Women are readily seen outside of the home and the skin shown while wearing a sari is striking after spending the past few months in conservative Islamic society - sometimes seeing nothing more of a girl than her eyes. Now, men are easily spotted wearing shorts and going shirtless though I suspect this does not mean these are habits I should take up. At least, I can leave my shirt open by an extra button or two and not worry about indecency.

Now that I am solidly into the second half of the Watson year I am re-tooling my schedule to account for lessons learned and altogether walking more confidently into unfamiliar locales. My plans for travelling around southern India (Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka) are coming together while I also finalize my train tickets and passage from Nepal to Moscow and eventually home.

Figuring out which food to eat has consistently been the earliest challenge to overcome in each country I have visited and India, perhaps, is the most difficult because of the seemingly endless variety to choose from. So far my strategy of going down the menu and picking two new dishes at each meal has been pretty successful (I try to take pictures and write notes so I will remember what is good)

Below you will see one approach to the ever-reliable North Meal:



In my first week I have already seen colonies of Apis cerana (had some honey from these), Apis dorsata, Apis florea and a box of Trigona (stingless bees), but more on that later. This is just to say that I am here, I am safe, and I think my time on the sub-continent is going to be very fruitful.

Also, as terrible as it is, I have a bunch of drafted posts from Egypt and TZ that I going to post very soon - at the very least with pictures of some of the things I have done and seen during my blogging hiatus.