Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Some Things

So, I have been here for a week and a half and I have written but twice.
I suck at this anymore.
Remember, many years ago when not a week would go by without me writing something.

In my own defense, the internet has been quite shoddy at the hotel.

And so has the power for that matter.
The electricity went out 7 times last night.
No, there was no storm or inclement weather to cause fluctuations in the power. There were no accidents, no buses running into power lines.
Just business as usual in India.

This place is so weird. It's first world in so many ways but has bits of 2nd and 3rd world hiding just out of sight.

Rolling power fluctuations are experienced every day nearly everywhere. No one even seems to notice when the power flickers out in a restaurant or store. (Typically there are many windows, so plenty of natural light)

Imagine you are walking down the street in a commercial area with traffic and people and shops and shiny buildings filled with technological wonders.
The air is filled with the spicy smell of curry and the thick stench of exhaust fumes.
People are dressed in modern business suits or traditional, brightly colored, sarries or an interesting combination of the two.
Look to your right, there is a black and white cow near that telephone pole, blocking, and pooping on the sidewalk.

For every modern coffee shop there is a rickety wagon on the side of the road selling bit of fruit cut with a blackened knife older than me.
For every high rising mall there are hundreds of little booths along the side of the road selling trinkets and bracelets and whatnot.

Its a weird place.

As I am writing this, I am sitting in a little coffee shop attempting to avoid the rain.
Oh the rain. It is absolutely pouring outside.
Cats and Dogs, I tell you.
The rain comes damn near everyday, typically at the same time each day, and lasts about 3 hours.
And somehow, everyday it catches me by surprise.

I should, by now, plan for it. Maybe carry an umbrella or at least plan on being somewhere off the streets around at around 4 in the afternoon.
Maybe even make sure to have a something a little waterproof for my laptop.
But no.
Everyday the rain catches me.
Everyday I get very wet.


This delicious mess on a plate is naan and a butter marsala. The interesting thing about eating in this country is that they do not use silver wear.
Nor do they use their left hand.
To eat you pull apart pieces of the Naan with your right hand, and use that piece of bread to scoop up whatever you are eating.
It's tricky. And messy.

This is a picture of one of my favorite new foods. It's called Dosa.
The main bit is a pancake wrapped around a scoop of spicy curried potatoes. It comes with two sauces, the whitish one is a coconut based, almost green curry type sauce. The red is like a red curry. Just like with the naan, you only use your right hand and no silverware to eat this.

This is a Me Ta Ban. It's an after dinner treat that is sweet and is said to aid in digestion. It is made up of a green leaf of some sort coated in a sugar syrup, and filled with a variety of spices including fennel. The red things are cherries.
Pretty tasty.

Sometimes you have to stop for McDonald's. Every country seems to have a variation of this iconic fast food joint.
In Korea, they had Kimchi burgers.
In Thailand, they added shrimp burgers to the menu.
Here in India there is one ingredient completely missing. Beef.
No hamburgers at all.
They had chicken, they had fish, they had veggie, they even had a spicy paneer burger. But no beef.
I had the spicy paneer burger. It consisted of a slice of deep fried paneer (that solid Indian cottage cheese) on a bun with all the normal fixings and a spicy mayo. It was pretty tasty.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Day 2

I wish I had a story for day 2. Or pictures. Or anything really. But I don't.
Sadly, the Jet Lag monster attacked and sabotaged me.

After a generous nap on day 1 I did a little wandering, had dinner, and then was suppose to sleep.
Everything in this country pretty much closes at 11. So, once it gets late, its pretty much bed time.

But due to a nearly 12hour time change, I was not tired. B was at work, he works 3rd shift, and I was left to my own devices. And I was not tired.
Not even a little bit.

I played on the computer.
I watched movies.
I did situps on a far harder wood floor than comfortable.
I attempted to jump on the bed, and determined that to be a very bad idea.
I tried to sleep, but sleep did not come.

I was still wide awake when B got off work at 9 am.
He was tired. He wanted to sleep.
Nothing in this city is open until 11am.
He put on a movie and made me lay down and be quiet. So he could take a nap.
I was asleep almost immediately.

I slept until damn near 5 pm.

Now, I didn't want to lose an entire day, so, I took a walk. And my timing couldn't have been better. Nearly a full mile from the hotel, the rain started. Oh, did the rain start.
I scampered from awning to awning, wandering around shops, mostly to be in a dry place.

By the time I got back to the hotel, 3 hours later, there was not a patch of dry clothing to be found.

So, day 2, was kind of a waste, but at least now my sleep schedule has normalized and my cloths got a free laundering!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Day 1

For a little back story: I am here in India due to the generosity of a friend. B is, as cliché as it sounds, setting up a call center in Bangalore, India. He has offered up his hotel room to me. He provided me with free place to stay, a tour guide, and, since he works long hours, the freedom to run around on my own!

So, the run down.

I got in last night, late. Around 2 in the morning. It took an hour to get from the airport to the hotel.
Which means it was nearly 4 am by the time I had unpacked and showered.

4 am. Sounds like long past time time for bed, right? No.
I had been sleeping on and off for 20 hours worth of travel, plus that 4 am time was in direct conflict with a mid afternoon body time.
Stupid jet lag.
Plus, I was in India! Who can sleep in India?

So I stayed up and putzed around. I stared out the window as the sun rose. I jumped around the room in a state of giddiness until my roommate made me at least lay down until it truly was morning.
I fell asleep almost immediately.

A few hours later I woke up to a sunny sunny morning. Nothing in this city really opens until 11, and it was much closer to 9am. However, though nothing was open, the streets were open for the walking.
That sentence kind of make me sound like a street walker.

For 5 hours we walked around town.
It is hot out there.
I saw buildings and cars and sidewalks, and dirt, and people in suits, and people begging for money.
I hear the hustle and bustle of horns honking and people shouting and construction work occurring and more horns honking.

By the time the restaurants opened, I was starving.

Pizza Hut.
Yeah, I know. Not exactly exciting. Not exactly my style for my first meal in a new country. But B has been here for months and is not exactly an adventurous eater. So, Pizza Hut.
However, as with most chain restaurants, there were some striking changes in the menu to accommodate cultural considerations.
They had your typical cheese pizza.
There was a range of peperoni and sausage.
Then there was the pizzas with Caspian.
Tandoori sauce.
Baby corn.
Paneer. (an India cheese cut into chunks)

it may not have been the most interesting restaurant, but it was one hell of a pizza.
Tandoori, corn, onion, peppers, Caspian, black olives, and paneer.

Funny lunch related story. We had leftover pizza and chicken things in to go boxes. A tiny begging boy started following us down the street making hungry motions and begging for food. B, being the nice guy that he is pulled out the chicken things and gave the little boy some lunch. The boy quickly stopped looked inside the container and ran to catch-up. Shouting pizza! Pizza! He wanted the pizza, not the chicken. We gave him that too. He was just so insistent.

By 2pm the day was still young, but jet lag was hitting me in the face.
I took a nap, but the nap turned out to be a bit more like sleeping than just napping.
By the time I woke up, B was gearing up for work, he works third shift, and the sun was setting.

So now I am chilling in the hotel. Messing with the TV. Foreign TV is funny.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

On the Road Again

Once again I seem to leaving on a jet plane. Flying away to destinations unknown.
Leaving to States with nothing but a backpack and a ticket.
And an ipod.
And some my laptop.
And significantly more random silly things than I actually need.

I am leaving again. This time just for a couple of weeks.
This time to India.

Though I have done shockingly little writing lately, I am determined to make the next few weeks different.
There will be pictures and stories and possibly puppies.
Though this time not in soup.

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