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Guess what?! I rode a bus today – all by myself. “So what,” you may ask. Well, I have never found, boarded, paid fare, and alighted on my own in India previously so this marks a turning point.

The story began yesterday when my mentor and I went to the Agriculture University in Palampur to visit an entomology professor. My mentor is interested in a proposal to research the use of bio-pesticides in the state of Himachal Pradesh. He also wants to submit a proposal to study organic farming within the state. The head of the Entymology Department referred us to a professor in the College of Agroforestry and Environment who works closely with the organic farming program at the university.

Here’s where the story gets interesting. My mentor went to a meeting today so he told me to return to the university and talk to this organic farming prof. He told me to spend this morning writing a letter to Dr. Poonam and then visit her in the afternoon to deliver the letter. I double-checked with my landlord who was working on our building today (or, I should say, overseeing work on the building) and he confirmed that hand delivering a letter of introduction is unnecessary when going to meet someone. I typed a letter just in case then printed it off up the road since we don’t have a printer in the office. The printing process took 45 minutes as usual because the printer man’s printer never likes my jump drive. I thankfully remembered where to get on and off the bus and found my way to Dr. Punam’s cubicle. I quickly surmised I would not be delivering the letter since I had misspelled her name. She spent a bit of time with me and suggested I return when the head of the department is present and when I can receive a proper tour of the organic farm. So then I got to play the “find the bus, jostle my way on, pay the fare, and get off” game. As a side note, on the way to the university I pass the Sperm Board buildings. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with breeding animals. I hope so.

Oh, yeah, about the picture. As many of you know, I’m not fond of cooking but I have no choice here. Tonight I made something really weird, even by my standards. I had tofu flour balls with garlic and raisins. It tasted all right but, yeah, it was strange. OK, as usual, I can't upload a photo today so check out "My Pic's" for a view.

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