Wow, I am SO far behind in my blog writing, and, it is not because I have been too busy to write. It is more that I am enjoying some relaxing times and cant be bothered to do it!!!
Our days have worked into a pattern which now seems fairly normal. We get up and have toast for breakfast. Michael gets ready and heads to the NCBS campus around 8:00. I get the dishes washed, hang up the dry clothes and wash the dirty ones. Then around 10:30 I head out to the neighborhood, either to do some window shopping or to buy groceries for the apartment. Since we normally have our big meal for lunch at NCBS, most of the groceries that I am buying are snacks and other things that we can enjoy in the evenings.
While I am gone, the cleaning crew comes in and cleans bathrooms, sweeps, mops and makes our bed. They will even wash the dishes if I leave dirty ones around. This is WAY to much luxury for me!!!! I can always tell that they are in the apartment because the walkway looks like this…..
Then, I catch the 12:30 shuttle to campus and meet Michael for lunch. If he is finished for the day, we come back by car service, but if he needs to stay, I catch the 3:00pm shuttle back to the apartments.
In between times, I am working on accounting work, doing puzzles and other brainy things and apparently NOT writing my blog!!!!
So, with that introduction, let’s get back to last Tuesday…..
We had Monsoon rains on Monday night and as I walked to the store on Tuesday I was bombarded by Lots and Lots of MUD. I managed to step in one puddle and get my feet covered in mud but I found another clean looking puddle and washed them off again. Needless to say, I washed my feet very well when I got back home!!
It was fairly cool outside as I headed for the grocery store and I enjoyed watching the shop keepers opening their stores and getting ready for business. One man had just opened his doors and was burning incense all around the door frame for good luck for the day.
I can never figure out where to walk when I am out. If I walk on sidewalks, I have to keep ducking for trees and overhangs. Also, the sidewalks are often under construction and not always in pristine condition…..
However, if I walk on the street, I have to be very careful of the traffic going by. I have become fairly used to the motorcycles, Auto-Rickshaws and cars passing, but when busses pass close by they sort of suck you toward them. I found that I can’t carry my grocery bags on the street side of my body because someone might run into them.
There is a LOT of honking on the street and when we were here in 2008, I felt like it was mostly in anger. But, as I have spent more time on the street, I have decided that MOST of it is just a friendly reminder that the vehicle is coming up from behind. Now don’t get me wrong, when someone doesn’t move fast enough or someone moves into another persons lane, the honking is for a different purpose and is highly effective!!!
There are NO cross-walks or lights at the corners, so Michael and I have found that the trick for crossing a street is to find a gap and then keep a straight line and steady pace….others will move around you although they may beep at you a few times to let you know that they are behind/beside you.
I enjoyed looking at the signs that are painted on the walls and was drawm to one for “Matrix Abacus”, advertising Maths, Memory & Creativity….maybe I should check it out!!
It looked like a cross between a bean and okra!!
I have found that one of the lines at the grocery store is interminably slow, so today I made the big mistake of switching lanes. As always happens, the gentleman in front of me wanted to use copious coupons and the clerk had to go into the store several times to get the correct products to use with the coupons!!!
When you enter the store, there are the usual hand baskets, but if you are going to do a larger shop, there are small shopping cart frames that will hold two of the hand baskets. The store is very small and there is not much room between aisles and this seems to be a perfect solution.
When you leave the shop, a guard puts a stamp on your receipt and writes the time and amount into a book.
ATM’s are in glassed vestibule, often with a guard sitting outside. Citibank wouldn’t work for the two people prior to me but did fine for me….maybe because it was a US card. It was great fun seeing my checking account balance in Rupees….890,000 to be exact!!!
When I walk, I love to smile at women and children and wait for them to smile back. Sometimes it takes a while!!!
I don’t know what was being celebrated, but it certainly looked fun.
There is a large building being constructed just across from my grocery store and I loved seeing the scaffolding made out of bamboo poles. It is hard to imagine that they would be strong enough, but they seem to do the trick.
….and realized that these were legal documents. I saw one that was an Affidavit and another that was a Bill of Sale. Around the next corner there was a man with a manual typewriter, filling in the needed information. Who needs lawyers!!!!
At lunch they had a new sweet dish called Jalebi that I had seen before and looked forward to trying…..
It is made by deep frying a batter (think Funnel Cake) and then soaking it in a sugar water solution. The surprising thing was that I expected it to be dry but it was actually VERY moist, and yummy too!!
After lunch, we went for coffee and sat out on the open patio for a while. Michael noticed this little guy crawling on his coffee cup…..
He is probably the smallest Praying Mantis EVER!!!
Our nights end with reading or watching TV or videos. The apartment has rolling power outages throughout the day and we have now discovered that they turn off the higher voltage items for about 2 hours between 6:00 and 8:30. Consequently, we have learned to make our Microwave popcorn and cups of tea before 6:00…..Michael has his phone timer set for 5:45 just to remind us!!!
And, I don’t take my shower until the power comes back on, allowing the water heater to restart!!!
Sleeping has been fairly good, with only minor disturbances….mostly from the “twenty-somethings” living in the neighboring hostel.
So, that is one day in India, Arnold style!!!