Thursday, July 29, 2010

July 15-18

On July 15 and 16, we attended a conference on Frontiers in Stem Cells and Biotechnology in Human and Veterinary Medicine. There was so much pomp, it was slightly ridiculous. There were all sorts of speeches introducing the dean and the honored guests, us, as well as the 350 students from the vet school, dental school, and medical school in Chennai, and also the Culture Minister from the US Console . Then there were gifts exchanged between every party – all were announced and obviously scripted. When the conference actually got started, most of it was pretty awful – all theoretical and very little practical. The second day was more practical but still kinda meh. I think most of our apathy was due to the auditorium’s temperature: 90 degrees with no air movement despite the 30 some-odd fans stationed about 10 yards above us.
Dr. Subbiah gave a presentation, as did two other professors from VT – Dr. Eyestone and Dr. Barrett.

The next day we took it easy and went to the US Console’s home in Chennai. It was a beautiful pool and it was sooo warm from the sultry Chennai weather. Some of the non-vegetarians (only 3/8 of the group eat meat) were excited since they served hamburgers with real beef.

On the 18th, we went to St. Thomas’ Basilica. St. Thomas, the apostle (Doubting Thomas), was buried there and there were tons of artifacts on display on the attached museum.

The lancehead that killed St. Thomas and one of his bones preserved inside

This was a wax diorama depicting the death of St. Thomas.
Later that day, we also went to the St. Thomas Hill Shrine, which was visited by the non-creeper pope, John Paul II, as well as mother Theresa.

Val loves the pope.

We visited The Murugan Hindu Shrine, which is made for Murugan, a son of Ganesh.
Here’s a story that was told to us about Murugan:
Ganesh had two sons and in order to prove which one loved him more, he had both sons compete by walking around the world. Murugan walked around the world very quickly since he was partly divine. However, the other son walked around the family’s home and said that his family was his world, and so he won. In disgrace, Murugan shaved his head.

Next: Animals that aren’t sick!

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