Saturday, April 21, 2007

Saturday, April 21

I'm completely exhausted after a long day of shopping. Last night after work I went with Parveen and her cousin to Charminar to shop for bangles for my saree for the wedding. We went through the Laad Bazaar and looked at tons of jewelry and finally ended up at a place with glass bangles where they took my saree blouses and created custom sets of glass bangles. Parveen’s cousin, who is a master negotiator, got me an entire set for 150 rupees. We also had to get a petticoat for my saree, which turned into a small adventure.

The car dropped us off at the edge of a small street (in the old city the streets are narrow like in Europe since they were created before cars existed) so that we could walk to the shop. Just as we were starting down the small street, the power went out on the entire block so that the only light was from headlights of fast-moving auto-rickshaws and mopeds. We ended up hailing an auto-rickshaw to take us the 500 feet down the street, which he did in about 10 seconds. We had to hail another auto-rickshaw to take us back to our car, and our driver found it amusing when he saw us pop out of the rickshaw to run back to our real car. Afterwards we went back to Parveen’s house and had homemade mutton curry with freshly-made roti thanks to her mom. I’ve now almost mastered the one-handed roti break.

Today I went shopping with Anja and another girl from the Dublin office, Grainne. We were out shopping for 6 hours, all around Hyderabad. We went everywhere from 'music world' for cheap Bollywood soundtracks to department stores for Anja to get a kurta. I'm ready to curl up in my air-conditioned room now, and I'm glad that tomorrow I don't have anything planned except to hang out with Rupa and get ready for the wedding. I’m taking my whole ensemble over to her house so we can get ready together, since I’ll definitely need help putting the saree on.

I've been here a month already and I can't believe I've only traveled once. I need to get on the ball before all my time here passes and I haven't even seen the Taj Mahal. I definitely need to travel next weekend - hopefully to Kerala so that I can get there before the monsoons. I'm debating whether to wait to go to the Taj Mahal until monsoon season because I think I could get some very dramatic pictures if I time it right with the storms in the background. It should also be cooler during monsoon season with fewer tourists, but if it rains the whole time then it could be ruined – decisions, decisions. The only other trip that I must take before I go home is to Baroda to find Aunt Mae’s school, although first I need to convince someone to go with me (I think my best chance is someone from the office, since Baroda isn’t glamorous enough to convince an ex-pat to go with me). I also want to go to Darjeeling, Hampi, the Golden Temple, and Thailand, which I might manage as a four day weekend if it isn’t too expensive. But with only 8 weekends left, I better not dawdle or my time will go and I won’t have seen most of India.

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