Well, we had so much fun on our jaunt to Pune and Trivandrum, but it was nice to be back at home in Mandara. This apartment complex has been a wonderful place for us to live these few weeks. It is kept super clean both inside and out. Each morning these two ladies sweep all of the walkways and paths, removing any of the plant material that might have fallen in the night….
….and every Saturday morning we are awoken to this machine polishing the granite hallways….
I always feel bad walking on the newly polished floor with shoes that have dirt and grit on them!!!!
The grounds are very well manicured and have lots of beautiful flowers…..
I walk up these stairs everyday going to and from the laundry and I kept noticing these little bits of red in amongst the foliage….
Speaking of the laundry, there are four machines provided for the guest house and it was so easy to run down and put a few things in to wash each day.
They were fully automated machines. You put in the clothes and soap and it figured out how much water was needed and how long to wash!!!
On Saturday morning (the 26th), Michael was scheduled to give a talk at another institution in Bangalore and the driver was to pick him up at 10:00am. The gate attendant called at 9:00am and said that the driver was there….but it was an hour early!!! Michael went down and was told that there was a strike of the Rickshaw drivers scheduled for the day and that the taxis and buses were striking in solidarity so nothing would be running between 10:00am and 4:00pm. He also said that it could be dangerous to travel between those times as people were prone to throw rocks and other projectiles.
Needless to say, Michael left early to avoid the strike hours!!! I walked out at about 11:30 to pick up a few things for lunch and was amazed to find that almost all of the stores were closed up. I didn’t walk far on the street because it had an eerie feel to it with almost no traffic other than motorcycles and virtually no one on the street. But, the stores re-opened at 4:00 and life went on as normal. Apparently none of the expected violence erupted so that was a good thing!!!
On Sunday (the 27th), we were looking forward to once again attending Bangalore Presbyterian Church, especially as we had been told that it was “Potluck Sunday”. We wanted to take something to add to the meal but couldn’t easily cook so I decided to run down to our local sweets shop and purchase a few things.
As I was standing at the counter, I asked the salesman what people would like best and his reply was “all of them”!!! So, I bought a selection to take and none were none left when I came home, so I guess that he was right!!!
The church service was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed singing “Arise My Soul, Arise”, one of my all-time favorites!!!
As the day went on we could hear lots of drums, singing, and shouting going on around us as more and more Temples delivered their Ganeshas to the water. It sounded interesting but we decided to stay away from the religious fervor!!
About 5:00pm we had a huge rainstorm that slowed some of the celebrations down a bit but they started up again as soon as the rain stopped, however not quite as fervently.
Monday and Tuesday were mostly spent getting organized for our upcoming Trek in the Himalayas. It took a lot of work to go thru everything we had packed and figure out what was supposed to go on the trek with us. As I was going thru things, it became clear that we were going to have to have a small suitcase to help carry our stuff to Kathmandu so I headed out to find one.
On the way, I passed my favorite fabric store and decided that I was crazy to leave India without buying silk. When I entered I was eagerly greeted and invited up the stairs to see the silks. I chose a series of Autumn colors and ordered 2 meters of each…..
….and of course I had to have some to match the silks. BUT, look at the baubles and beads…..
I don’t really need those, but look at the wonderful stripes on the far left. Some of those HAVE to go home with me!!!!
As the store owner wrote out and added my total, I started worrying that I didn’t have enough cash. Unfortunately he couldn’t take a credit card so I started counting out my cash, and counting my cash, and counting my cash. The result was that I had 10 rupees left over!!! I think that he felt sorry for me because he rounded the total down and gave me another 10 rupees back. So much for the suitcase!!!
After meeting Michael for lunch (and getting more cash), I set out to buy a shirt in the style worn here. I passed a small store that had one out front that I liked so I plucked up my courage and went in. I had gone into one larger shop earlier in the trip but was put off by the fact that all of the proprietors were men and it felt weird to buy clothes from them.
The clothes are not hung out for you to see but are packaged and sitting on a shelf. Once we had determined what size I needed, they started putting out various packages for me to look at. After I had picked out one or two that were “possibles”, I was shown where the “trying room”was….a 2 foot by 2 foot closet with a light and mirror.
I finally chose two shirts, happy that my decision making was over and then he said the fateful words…”It’s buy 2 and get 1 free”!!! So, more decision making ensued. If you look in the photo you can see how many different shirts they had unpacked for me to look at!!!
Next….. to the suitcase store, talking with a young clerk who had helped me when I first started looking (before I spent all of my money). I made my purchase after a bit of bargaining and then he asked if we could take a photo together…
As I was walking home from the store, I found myself happily walking in the street and feeling perfectly comfortable there. Over the month, I have decided that it is safer and easier to walk in the street, against traffic, rather than jumping holes and dodging trees, dogs, cows and people on sidewalk.
On Wednesday morning, Michael went in to work to drop off his keys and say goodbye to everyone and I finished up with the packing and cleaning out the apartment. We took one last NCBS car to our hotel for the evening…..the Goldfinch Retreat.
….and yes, Michael is holding a lit cigar!!!
We spent a wonderful 2 hours sipping on drinks and eating a fantastic meal of Non-Veg Tandoori Kabobs (ie…tasty chunks of meat), even getting to watch it being cooked.
The result was a wonderful meal with two types of chicken (the legs were neatly wrapped in foil so that you didn’t get your hands dirty), fish and some mystery meat that was so good we didn’t CARE what it was!!!!
Then we ordered some Naan to go with the meat and naturally I went to peak thru the little window and see the process. He first took balls of dough and patted and rolled them into a thin flat tortilla. The tortilla is placed on the blue and white pillow…..
….and is slapped onto the side of the Tandoor oven. The long skewers are then used to flip the cooked bread from the oven…..
I would have bits of bread everywhere!!!
The Naan arrived at the table and was quickly devoured. It was flakey and buttery and SOOOOO good!!!
Ok….this is our last night in India for now and we are both sad to leave, but excited about the next stage of our journey.
We leave for Nepal tomorrow, arriving in Kathmandu around 1:00pm. We meet up with the REI tour group and spend Friday in the city. THEN, on Saturday we fly to Pokhara and head out for the Himalayas!!!!
I don’t know what internet will be like over the next two weeks, but I will update when I can, and if not, I will be back on the 16th!!!