Traveling between customers, from the desert near Pushkar to the seashore at Daman, we’ve already made it more than 1,000 miles north to south. I’m seeing that every 60 miles or so we travel further south, the food changes. Actually, I usually don’t know what I’m eating these days, to be honest. I don’t mind as long as I can see my colleagues are willing to eat it, and as long as its tasty – and it always is! There is such a huge variety in food that I’m wasting something new each day.
Along with the food, the language also changes every few hundred miles. Its’ not just the accents – my colleagues from Delhi aren’t able to understand the locals a little more than a hundred miles away. The climate and surroundings are changing as well – driving South we saw the desert slowly turn green, with palm trees sprouting up more and more the further we traveled; everything around us became a green, tropical environment.
Right now, I’m on the way to a customer visit in Pune. Pune is the automotive hub of India, as well as one of the main educational areas. The University of Pune alone has 811 colleges across India – 811(!!), at least according to the Times of India. If you’d rather get your information from Wikipedia, we’re talking almost 500,000 students. Comparatively speaking, Germany as a whole had 2,500,000 students in 2012/13. In particular, Pune is renowned for engineering, which is working hand in hand with the major automobile manufacturers in the area like Mercedes, Tata, Volkswagen, and more. Mercedes, if you’re reading this, I think you should manufacture and sell our car! So many people have asked us about the price and told us they’d like to buy it that I’m thinking we’re kind of trendsetters and soon everyone will have a small orange car!
Ok, now only the last few days. On our Ahmedabad route we traveled to our customer PWS. The company has been around for 100 years, and is a mid-size company, with about 100 employees, but they lead the Indian market in the manufacturing of filling machines for things like juice and packaged food. We found them outside the city a ways, the factory and office together in a very old building next to a fancy five-star wellness resort. At first glance you’d never expect a high tech company be hiding there.
As the company is working in the food industry, they require products that are corrosion-free to operate safely. Of course, in this industry, machines need to be cleaned thoroughly and regularly, requiring a need for chemical resistance as well.
igus supplied PWS with a lubrication free, corrosion free plastic liner in a stainless steel housing that they use for linear movements. Our plastic liner has fulfilled PWS’s requirements of being corrosion free and resistant to chemicals, and additionally, they’re easy to assemble, and maintenance-free. The liners enable the filling machines to have a smooth up-and-down motion for putting lids on containers.
After our customer visit, we jumped on the highway and headed for Daman. It total, the journey was only about 250 miles, but it took AGES. We were stuck in a traffic jam, so we were very late to arrive at the coast. For me, this was a big step on our tour. This was an informal reminder that we’ve made it to the half-way point in our trip through India – the first leg of the world tour.
The next day was Sunday, which means no customer visits. I wanted to spend the day getting some nice photos of the iglide car, so we went to the beach and split up to find a good spot to shoot.
When I got back to the group, it was a strange scene. One of the backup drivers had the glorious idea to park his vehicle (a very big one, let me mention), not on the street, but ON THE SAND. How do you get a multi-ton car out of the sand? Well, only with a group effort.
Eventually, after several tries, we got it free. We were able to get the car back on the road to continue the journey, next stop Bombay!
The trip to Bombay was awesome. The whole journey was through stunning landscapes. A modern highway leads you through a mix of desert and jungle, with mountains on one side and traditional villages on the other. Just amazing.
I was bummed we didn’t have more time in Bombay. We arrived late at night, and had to leave for Pune the following day, so I had no time to explore the city, which we all know from the movie Slumdog Millionaire. The glance I got, the city seemed to be a booming metropolis, with very modern looking buildings and skyscrapers, construction on every corner. I learned after we left that Bombay is the financial hub of India.
I’m in Pune now as I write this. Tomorrow we’re driving back to Bangalore (500 miles), which will wind down our Indian tour. From there, the just have a few more visits.
As usual, I’ll keep you up to date.