Published: March 26th 2007March 26th 2007
This was the best Thali I have had. The best part was it came with watermelon juice and ice. THe guy promised us the ice was from bottled water. Even if it wasn't I think I am in the clear.
Since I talk a lot about what I do from day to day but none of you see it I figured I would give you a little tour of my life in India. This may not be so exciting for some but for others who have done this, plan to do this or just like to hear me ramble keep on reading (please at least check the pictures):
So here goes......
I usually wake up to noisy neighbors or the smell of burning cow crap or trash wafting into my room. Its a beautiful thing that I will miss when I get back to Minneapolis. I then usually get up and realize that I am in India. What the hell I am doing in India for 2.5 months nobody will ever know but that realization has still yet to set in and I think about it every morning. Then i do the normal day to day things like brushing my teeth and putting back on my clothes from the day before. India is a little bit like sleepover camp, if you can stand the smell of your clothes then its ok to give them another go. The
I am staying a few days here not because its amazing but I need a few days off of traveling and just relaxing. No more indian bus or train rides.
nice thing about this place is that you know that wherever you are there is always someone that smells worse than you. Its a far cry from the perfumed and squeaky clean cubicles of corporate America. Then comes the fun decision, for breakfast do you want spicy, spicier or fruit museli. For the moment I am hooked on fruit muesli with honey and curd. Its amazing if you get it at the right place. The problem always comes in when you go to pay for something. Nobody in this country has change. Martin and I almost threw down with some restraunt owner in front of some noisy french people after he didnt believe me that I had smaller change to pay for my meal (I did but small bills and coins are more precious than gold in this country) After seeing the look of fury in his eyes we finally worked it out and went on our way. Its funny that nothing costs very much even in rupees but nobody has change anywhere. When you pay with the next bill up they look at you like you are crazy for paying with so much money. The restraunt owner actually told
us that its our fault that we get big bills from the ATM machines and we should ask for smaller. Next time I will try talking to the ATM machines but for some reason I don't think they have that type of technology in India. They still don't have closed sewers. That brings me to my next point. Theres nothing as joyous as walking outside your crappy roach infested hostel to smell decomposing shit, cows, sweat, rotting food and burning trash. Its great and it is really one of the things that makes India so special. I am actually serious, you realize how western culture has really over done cleaning everything. We are so sterlized that its actually becoming dangerous to our health. I think its good to be exposed to these things once and awhile. At first I was disgusted by it but its not so bad. Most of the people eat the street food, drink the street chai, wipe with there hand and get by just fine. I think it would be better if our culture could find a happy medium from where we are now. I think its still important to take a shower and be mindful
Hot damn... Indian thali place
Your menu... Chapti, dosa or Roti. I went with Dosa and a little chapti. This is the place I describe later on.
of certin things but a little dirt, burning cow dung and street food isn't so bad for the body. The next thing is the heat of South India. Not only is the sun hot, we are at about 10 degrees while Minneapoilis is 45, but its strong. After about 3 hours in the sun you are so burnt out its hard to think.
Here is the fun part.... Eating. Of course India has not adopted the cleanliness standards of our fine eating establishments in America. I have included pictures of a place Martin and I ate at outside mahbilpuram after we climbed the eagle temple for sunset. The cook had no shirt and wore a loungie (its like a male cloth skirt they wear in south india only). IT was so hot in kitchen that I am sure the chaptai tasted so good because a little sweat dripped in and spiced that baby up. When eating in India it is best to avoid the kitchen at all costs but sometimes it is not possible. I was able to snap some pictures of the back of a kitchen when I went for a wee in the yard a.k.a the bathroom
Here is the bathroom at the dive.
here. They didn't even have the courtesy to dig a hole and throw up some wood to make a proper bathroom.
Now riding the bus. The buses are fun because the roads were lasted paved in about 1960. IF you are lucky you are allowed to sit on a stiff wooden seat covered in ripped vinyl from the 70's. Its great for long rides because after about 30 minutes your ass goes numb and you can't feel the bumpiness of the roads. Train travel is much nicer but not always available in the more mountainous regions. To get to the eagle temple two nights ago Martin, Mike (a kiwi we have made friends with) and I had to wait 30 minutes in a stiffleing hot bus before it left. Then came the problems. After stuffing about 50 people to many in the bus with at least 5 men hanging off the bars we left for our desitination that was 16 kilometers away (that takes about 45 minutes in India). There was a fight with the first incidence of Indian on Indian violence I have seen. Some old women started fighting with the money collector then men started pushing
What is lurking in the pot
Most likely a roach or some rodent.
and the bus pulled over and some people got off. I got a short clip of it. The bus was so packed that I had some old ladies knee in my crotch, a guys elbow in my neck. It got better after the cops pulled us over for 5 minutes for no apparent reason. After the cops let us resume our trip we made friends with some indian dudes and started talking pictures. Before I knew it my camera was floating around the bus and there was nothing I could do but just hope nobody broke it. I got lucky and we got off right in front of the temple, ran up 500 steps in about 5 minutes seeking some peace and quiet for what was about to be a great sunset. Right as I sat down to enjoy 30 Indians with kids came around and wanted to take pictures and bombard us with handshakes and pictures. Now I know what it feels like to be a celebrity and it sucks. People constantly try and talk to you, ask to shake your hand, take pictures and stare. Its really awkward so please anyobody that reads this do not try and
Did I really eat there????
Yup, and I am bringing back some leftovers.
become famous, its terrible.
This may be my last writing for a few days because I may take a 3 day boat trip to the Andaman islands (between thailand and India) and then Fly back. I have not decided if I want to spend 3 days on a boat bound for paradise. Its one of the few last untouched beach areas without an international airport and the most remote state of India. I hope you enjoy my blog.
There are more photos below