Saturday, December 23, 2006

No Sleep Til Bangalore

4 hours at Dulles
6.5 to Heathrow
7 hour layover with whatever the British excuse for "coffee"
3 hours on the tarmac staring at the fog
9 hours to Bangalore
4 airplane meals, which got better the further I got from England and the closer to India (less creamed beef rice everything, more fried samosas please) and some Trader Joe's nut mix
1 full novel, front to back
1 Discover magazine (top 100 scientific discoveries of 2006!)
3 movies
2 naps of 15-20 minutes. Total.

And: Hello India!

The trip wasn't actually all that bad, but no, I didn't sleep at all. It's hard to complain because Chai's family all flew across the Pacific, which in my mind sounded about right, we're both going to the other side of the world...but it's actually horrific. 16 hours to Taipei, 10 to Kuala Lampur, 8 to India. Yikes. Anyway, I slept all day yesterday due to the 48 hours of insomnia. Chai woke me up at 7pm, and just as I climbed out of bed the power in the house went off, so Mom, thanks for making me bring the flashlight. I got dressed and played cards with Chai and her brothers for about an hour, til the power came back on.

The food so far as been everything I hoped it would be. Since there are so many of us staying in the house and it's a special occasion, they've been getting the meals catered. Chai and her cousin explained some of the dishes to me, but it wasn't anything I hadn't really seen before, except for this grey-ish stew looking thing that's made from jackfruit and non-sweet coconut sauce, and is totally delicious! I don't know what jackfruit is, but I mean to find out. So we all sat down on random chairs, and I start tearing my bread (more like injera than naan) and eat with my hands, like everyone else. After a few minutes Chai's grandmother said something to her (they're Konkoni, but I'm not sure what the language is called) and Chai kind of laughed and said to me, "She remarked how you're eating with your hands." Woo. Cultural victory #1! It was only interesting after I ran out of bread and had to learn to eat wet rice with my fingers, but I got it all down.

Afterwards Chai and her mom brought out all the saris they've purchased, both to give away and the ones they have to wear or receive as formal gifts during the ceremonies. They were all so gorgeous. I saw Chai's red wedding sari, embroidered with gold. And they set out about 5-6 saris they'd planned to give away and I pointed to one and said, "This is such a great color," and her mom picked it up and put it in my lap, saying, "take it, it's yours." Ha. I guess they were going to give me one anyway, so now I have this awesome fuchsia sari to wear on the 27th. Well, maybe. I have to get a blouse fitted to wear underneath it, and if I cant' get one in time I'll have to wear this other outfit she has for me, which is also pretty, but you know, I want to wear the sari! She has a few other outfits for me to borrow for the other ceremonies, one of which I can't wait to put on. I forgot the name, but it's a long skirt and a middrift top, both heavily beaded in a deep red wine color (it's not for the wedding itself, so the red is okay, plus it's more like maroon).

So I got up at 5am this morning (oh jet lag) and learned how to take a shower. Now she's at the salon getting one of about 1000 treatments done, and I'm at the internet cafe in my bare feet with her brothers for an hour, before we head off shopping. I need jewelry for my outfits and probably a pair of shoes, a cell phone at the insistence of her parents, and maybe some laundry detergent since eating with your hands is all well and good until you spill greasy potatoes on the only pair of pants you brought. Oh man, speaking of which, we had the best breakfast this morning, with crepes, "Indian" mashed potatoes (what her dad called them) and some coconut and garlic chutney (I could eat that every day for the rest of my life). Then her parents taught me how to eat these native fruits. I can't remember what they're called, but I took a picture, naturally.

Long update, but who knows how often I'll get to internet. Oooh, when Chai picks us up in an hour: Lunchtime!


At 10:48 AM, December 23, 2006, Blogger TSC Girl said...

OMG I am so envious! Glad you are having fun!

At 12:47 PM, December 23, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip about and
I will be leaving for aurangabad tomorrow from Bangalore and back by 2nd Jan. Will give you more info once I am back.


At 5:12 PM, December 23, 2006, Blogger G. said...

Wow what an amazing trip! I can't believe how great it must be to get to be in India with people who actually live there and get the non-tourist perspective. And how exciting for Chai! Thanks for sharing the details!

At 1:43 PM, December 25, 2006, Anonymous sylvie said...

Love me some Jackfruit! Now I have to make you this Vietnamese dessert with sweetened coconut milk, jackfruit, and lychee!


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