Forest Research Institute

Trip Start May 18, 2008
Trip End Jul 20, 2008

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday, May 23rd:
Woke up at 5am again (still can't sleep later). Same morning schedule, then went to the Forest Research Institute. It was housed in a huge old building with tall rooms and hard dark wood floors and walls. It was founded in the late 1800s. The not-very-friendly director came in and played a movie about the Institute, and left us with one of his employees without saying more than a word or two to us. So I didn't feel bad that I was sitting right next to him during the movie and fell asleep (sitting straight up) despite strong efforts not to. Everyone thought it was pretty funny. They had lots of cool artifacts in their museum, including a huge cross-section of a tree-trunk from a more than 700 year old tree. It started raining on the way to one of the labs, where they were doing genetic research on I think about 40 plant species. Then we went to their center for non-wood products research, where they developed lots of different consumer products from trees and bushes, and sold patents to the govt. and industries. Some of their products were natural dyes, food additives, and chemicals (eg. Oxalic acid from the bark of a tree). They also had a garden outside where they were experimenting with composting techniques and medicinal plant gardening for farmers to implement. The next stop was the herbarium, which is world-renown and full of plant specimens dating back to the 1800s. The oldest specimen they had was a rose that is now extinct from 1807. Finally, the best part of the day was our tour through the bamboo garden. The director of the bamboo project was very enthusiastic and hilarious.
We returned to our hotel for dinner, and were supposed to go see a Bollywood film afterwards, but it was going to end at 12pm, and we were all tired and had to get up early the next day. Instead, Danni and I went to the bazaar to get a nice corta (sort of like a long shirt) for me to wear to the Indian wedding I'm going to in July, and a dress for her. It didn't take long to find what we were looking for. I got a pretty elegant silk corta for 600 rupees, which is only about 15 dollars. It even came with white pants and a scarf.
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