Jump to: navigation, search February 11-14, 2010 in India

notes for the trip to Techkriti

1 hr Presentation

  • Marnia 5-10 min - Art, Why I do this
  • Video 10 min

in front of 1,200 people, "including IITK students, Professors and students from colleges all over the country". They'll supply 2 mikes, 1 LCD projector, internet, sound and 2 techkriti volunteers Headed by Jon and Marnia

Jon "I'd have no problem talking for 30 minutes on just the technical aspects"
Jon "it's good if each of us gives a separate presentation"

  • 5 min overview
  • 5 min VIDA video
  • 10 min technical talk by Niladri
  • 5 min Machine and fire art culture (Burning Man et all) providing inspiration
  • 10 min art talk by Marnia
  • 20 min Q&A

Best to shy away from live demos, they often don't work. Use slides instead.

Travel Plans

Kanpur is in the IST time zone, the same as Delhi, 12 1/2 hrs forward of us (if it's 12pm Monday PST, it's 12:30am Tuesday there)

Marnia, Lee, Jon

EK226 depart SFO Feb 4 15:45. 15hr 40min on Emirates Air
arrive DBX Feb 5 19:25

EK512 depart DBX Feb 5 22:10 on Emirates Air
arrive DEL Feb 6 2:40

Ankit arranged for a driver to take us to a hotel
Ankit arranged a hotel in Delhi
Ankit arranged a driver from Delhi to Kanpur
We have to arrange our own hotel on the way to Kanpur
Ankit arranged a hotel at IIT

Depart Kanpur (KNU) 16:10 on Air India
arrive DEL 17:45
Note: Air India only has 1 flight/day KNU->DEL

EK515 depart DEL Feb 16 21:40 on Emirates Air
arrive DXB 23:59

~~stay one night in Dubai

EK225 depart DBX Feb 18 8:55 on Emirates Air
arrive SFO Feb 18 12:55

Nildadri will reach Kanpur on 10th(morning) and leave on the 15th(afternoon)

Emirates Airlines in Delhi

DLF Centre, 7th Floor
Parliament Street
Connaught Place
New Delhi - 110 001

Telephone: +91 116 631 4444
Fax: +91 116 631 4411
Working hours: Mon to Sat, 09:30 to 18:00
Public holidays, 09:30 to 18:00
Sun, Closed

Sight to See

  • Indian Bahá'í Temple in Delhi
  • Red Fort near delhi
  • Taj Mahal (between Delhi and Kanpur)
  • Fatehpur Sikri(close to Agra)
  • ride a painted elephant (Marnia's request!)
  • gotta geta Gnesh for Marnia's Josh
  • "One of my favorite parts of Delhi was Chandni Chowk (an old market that ends up at a mosque). AFAIK this isn't on the normal tourist path but I enjoyed the extra chaos" A. Hupp
  • a modern IIT shirt for Lee's Marah
  • A Gnesh for Charlotte's statuary and/or a fitted shirt

sites to see sights to see


Orbs left San Francisco Jan 22nd, to arrive Kanpur Feb 8 via Brian Closs, MMI Logistics, Compton, CA 310-679-4018.

MMI will build international crates in Compton

  • Ivan from Clock Freight picked up the orbs on 1-22-10 (Lee has photos)
  • 650-871-7499 - nick from Clock freight. He called 1-26-10 when TSA paperwork was misplaced. Lee faxed the paperwork.


Get them here: (has a couple charts of what to get)

Lee went to the San Francisco Adult Immunization and Travel Clinic. He made an appointment 3 days in advance. It took about 1.5 hours with the interview, shots and discussion.

At San Francisco Adult Immunization and Travel Clinic Lee received:

  • Typoid - 4 pills taken every other day for 8 days. Take at least 1 week before travel. Don't take with antibiotics (my antimalarial is an antibiotic!). Effective for 5 years.
  • Antimalarial - Doxycycline - 1 pill a day starting 2 days before travel, ending 28 days after. No possibility of psychosis like many antimalarials!. Effective only as long as you take it
  • Polio - injection. You should get 1 booster in a lifetime. This was it.
  • Tdap - Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis. injection. Effective for 10 years
  • Hepatitis A - injection. Effective for 10 years. I need to go back in 6 months for a booster
  • Cipro - oral antibacterial to take with me in case of illness while travelling
  • Hep B immunization (Lee already got in 2005. Effective for 10 years.)
  • Measles - 2 shots needed in a lifetime. By 1990 almost all colleges required boosters. Effective for life.
  • Ultrathon insect repellent

Total bill from San Francisco Department of Health: $307

He picked up azithromycin and doxycycline prescriptions from Costco for $17 total. You don't need a membership to buy from their pharmacy. And wow, that was inexpensive antimalarial compared to the others!


  • 220v 50hz, different plug. (Followup: They are European plugs, 2 round posts spaced far apart. Buy the adapters in the US. We had a hard time finding voltage converters THAT WORKED in India. Techkriti supplied 3, 2 didn't work. Niladri bought 2 in India, 1 didn't work)
  • Make sure your small electronics (razors, computers etc) can handle the different electricity

Other International Notes

Charging orbs in India: each of our 3 "smart" car battery chargers needed about 3 amps of 110vac.

  • Radio Shack 50 watt electronics 220->110vac transformer - The charger seemed to work but it wouldn't provide enough amps to actually charge the batteries. After 10 minutes, the batteries were at the same voltage as when the charge cycle started :-( . A multimeter gave crazy readings on the voltage output, varying between 20 and 350 volts.
  • noname 100 watt transformer based 220->110vac transformer from Niladri bought in India - Heavier than the Radio Shack unit but performed similarly. The charger seemed to work but it wouldn't provide enough amps to actually charge the batteries. After 10 minutes, the batteries were at the same voltage as when the charge cycle started. A multimeter gave crazy readings on the voltage output, varying between 20 and 350 volts. Initially it seemed to provide steady voltage but that decreased over 10 minutes to mostly 20-50 volts.
  • noname 5 amp 220vac 12 volt battery charger from Niladri bought in India - seemed to work fine! Though the lack of a display or any feedback was worrying with the SLA batteries
  • Kanhaiya "A Lovely Name A Good Faith" 5 amp 220vac -> 12 volt DC battery charger from IIT - seemed to work fine! They had a voltage meter on them; in the first 10 minutes, the meter fluctuated wildly, settling to what seemed like a reasonable 12-15 volts. I still didn't trust them with the SLA batteries. Actually, they got us 2 new one and old old one that didn't work.
  • In the room we were situated in, there were about 6 outlets. Only 2 worked at all and only 1 would provide reliable current. The other would make sparking noises and only provide a tiny bit of current when called upon.

Upon returning to the US, if you got any cash advances in Rupees, remember to pay your credit card bill as soon as possible to minimize cash advance fees. They acrue daily.

For Lee's 2000 rupee advances on my Chase credit card, he got a great rate of 46 rupee to the dollar and then about $13 in fees, bringing the exchange rate down to 35 rupee to the dollar, almost usury rates.

When he went to his local Chase branch, he got 43 rupee to the dollar, no fees. Though it was a bother to stand in line at the bank twice. Next time, he'd go to the bank again; or maybe find the main branch that has the currency in stock.

Call Credit Card companies to tell them you're travelling abroad so they don't suspect something weird with your card

Brian recommended I get a carnet from Trade Beam 650-653-4800. It'd cost approx $175.

I put notes on the outside of the crates in clear plastic envelopes. The notes are:

  • The Invitation from Techkriti on their letterhead
  • A photo of the contents of the box
  • A photo of the robots in motion all put together
  • Instructions on how to open the crates "Undo screws with purple spray paint on them to open"

put on commercial invoice: "Not for sale or resale. For demo purposes only. All items to be returned to the USA after demonstration"

Lee will add notes on getting a visa here eventually... $120... where to get it... invitation...

Carry a digital camera and photograph all important papers that you sign etc. For example, I signed a TSA Known Shipper document when the freight company came to pick up the orbs. I took photographs of those documents. Good thing because the freight company called me today because they misplaced them. I was able to fax them copies. It would have taken 1-3 days for them to come out and inspect the property again.

Get some international currency at the bank. Chase gave me a reasonable rate. It took 2 days for the money to come in. But I really wish they could have given me smaller bills. I got some 10 INR and 500 INR. It'll be a bother changing the 500.

Maybe Register with Department of State Find the address of the local US Consulate. Get their number If there's trouble in paradise, call them.

Take pix of all the items you ship. I needed to identify where the serial number could be found on the robots for Indian Customs and a photo of the nearly packed robot saved the day!

get Permethrin at REI, spray on your clothes to keep mosquitos off. Takes a few hours to dry, stinks a LOT until dry, then not at all.

bring pepto bismol tablets, maybe take as preventative; consider melatonin for jet lag; iodine for water purification, get just-in-case azithromycin; 60%+ alcohol gel to wash your hands before eating; first aid kit for situations not serious enough for a doctor (I brought triple antibiotic ointment, bandaids, tweezers, anti-fungal, hydrocortozone).

What to Pack

general temperature may be be 45 to 80 long sleeve shirts vs mosquitos (Malaria) iodine tablets bug spray with at least 30-50% DEET alcohol cleaner for washing hands before eating pepto bismol, use preventatively sun screen drink some grapefruit seed extract antiviral/bacterial. a couple drops in a drink each day bring cipro just in case

Cell Phone Service in India

Lee's iPhone AT&T rep says Kanpur has very poor cell phone reception. However, there is TERRIFIC service across India with roaming. In most every location there were 2-5 providers available. Calls were $2.20/min with a $6/month "international roaming" or $2.50/min without. My iPhone's Visual Voicemail was very spotty. I received notification of one voicemail 7 days after it was sent to me; I think I received it because I finally (randomly) found a carrier that supported Visual Voicemail.

Texting worked great at about $0.50 per message.

Skype telephone service via my iPhone worked perfectly wherever I had wifi, which mostly was on the IIT Kanpur campus at the Visitor Hostel. On the rest of campus, access was restricted with a password I didn't have.


Lisa will be getting them made up

T-shirt Schwag for Volunteers

  • Dillo bought 2 "I fought the Laws" shirts from woot
  • need some more
  • Niladri got 4 Mythbusters DVDs