Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tuesday, May 31st A Very Happy Birthday

Happy 21st Birthday

Woke up at 6:30am for a skype video chat with mom dad and Lydia. It was good that it worked out, and nice to see them all! I was even sung too J

Then, Mrs. Bennett had ordered breakfast from the embassy, with little donuts and cinnamon rolls, croissants, and croissants with chocolate inside!!!! wow! I guess she doesn’t realize that I really did mean it when I said, “oh anything is great! What does everyone else like? Pancakes sound good. Or that bread pudding… whatever is good with me. You don’t need to, cereal is fine!” serves me right for not specifying.

Our newfound friend from church, Nick, who was passing though Delhi on his way back home to the UK, joined us for the day! It was nice to have another addition!

We all sat around after breakfast, talking politics. I, somehow managed to keep my mouth shut. Although I was in agreement with the majority of what was said, my uncharacteristic silence was not from lack of opinion and insights on the statements made. That ethics class I took, really helped me be able to organize my thoughts on issues more. The best part was hearing the guy’s opinion and perspective from the U.K.

The moral of the story: The U.S. is giving too much power to the government. It’s time to step up people!

We went for a walk around Deer park. Second time there, and got to explore a little. We went to the green, algae filled lake, where there is a tomb/palace combination. I suppose people may have been meant to be kept out, but there were so many openings, the single gate to the one door did nothing. I was exceptionally appreciative to Luke, Joel, and Nick being there as we walked past random clusters of people who were lounging inside the shaded doorways. Although interesting, it was rather unsettling how random doorways led to nothing but a 20 foot drop. Stairs had no walls and were open on both sides. Open spaces had nothing to guard from the drop off. And kids were seen scampering around, playing and having fun. *minor anxiety attack*. This would not happen in the U.S. which means either A. We take our safety and our children’s safety seriously and like to best ensure that locations are not encouraging accidents or B. We take our safety to the extreme, relying on state or government regulations to determine something is safe and demanding extreme amounts of work to be done to ensure our lack of responsibility and inattentiveness is consequence free

It was so hot out, and although we were under shaded paths, my shirt was soaked. I wonder what it will be like to return home and be able to walk outside without sweating out half my water weight? Or is the humidity in PA going to make all the sweat I am accustomed to producing now stick to my hair and clothes, letting it drip down my back and face. Fantastic either way you look at it right?

We walked along the street back to the Bennetts.

A few comments on the street

1. Two lanes does not in fact mean two cars. It means 3 plus cars and a motor cycle or two.

2. Cars are not limited in the amount of people they can carry. Buckles are not a law here. So the number of rear ends in one seat fluctuates

Example: carpooling from food to church the other day… 18 people. 2 small vehicles (5 seaters). Short distance, so we were determined to all fit. So 9 people per car. One put two in the trunk. The one I was in went “double layer style” two person to a seat (stacked, so each had someone on their lap, or sitting on someone else’s lap) or, in the front, two people hip to hip in the passanger seat. The driver had his seat moved all the way forward, but was granted his own space. This is not an uncommon occurrence to observe.

3. Food is usually made on the side of the road in a large pot with a concoction stirred inside. Dished out cheaply to any walking past. No, I did not sample any of these street foods.

4. Avoid the dogs…rabid animals are NOT always foaming at the mouth

5. Ignore the beggars. This means ignore. Yes, it sucks. But they do not want food or water. They want money. Even if you gave some, You cannot save them. Accepting that does not make it any easier…

6. Be careful where you step, this includes footing but is not limited to:

i. Random people sleeping on the sidewalk

ii. Laundry, pots and pans, or utensils lying next to nearby sleeping space

iii. Small children sleeping while parents work nearby

7. Being on the sidewalk does not mean that you are safe. Keep eyes open for any moving bicycles or other moving objects

8. Walking on the street is often easier/safer/ more obstruction free than walking on the road.

9. Yes, I think I have nearly died of a heart attack. Lucky me, they use horns here to alert anyone and everyone of an approaching vehicle. However, 3 inches is PLENTY of space between vehicles, therefore, similar relation of distance applies to people.

10. Any cars parked overnight without being covered will need to be wiped down in the morning due to dust accumulation. Sitting out without cover makes windshields extremely streaky and coats the car with the light brown layer.

Went out shopping again, at another market with another name that I hadn’t been to before. It was dusty, hot and crowded…as per norm here. We were in search of a memory card for the Bennett’s camera….and spent our time ducking in and out of blissfully air conditioned stores that were on the side of the street, spaced behind or on a parallel block to the mass market that had sales items on display outside, compact into small spaces and overlapping on display.

I was led down a side alley, enclosed. It had all kinds of Indian costume jewelry. Cheap cheap cheap. I did not bother buying, it would never last. But it sure was pretty to walk down the crammed isle, peering at the sparkling and glittering colorful plastic crystals in the earrings and necklaces.

I got to try Chuski! We paused at a little stand and Ruwngni ordered for us (above), three of the red kind. The vendor guy took a block of ice out and with a flat sharp blade, shaved off the chunks needed. They were compacted into a little triangular cone on a popsicle stick, which was upside down in a little plastic cup that held the liquid ice and flavor juice. You dunked the clump of ice into the flavor red juice in the cup then sucked it off of the ice. It was absolutely perfect in the heat. As we slurped away, the red juice colored our lips, teeth, and tongues. (miraculously I managed to not get any on my shirt)

We went to INA (market) real quick. Ruwngni needed a chicken for tomorrow. I skidded along behind, trying desperately not to trip and fall, while at the same time, desperate for traction that my shoes lacked on the wet surface. Water was poured on the tiles to rinse the blood/ scraps, or (by the cages) chicken/duck poop that had accumulated into the gutter in the center. At least in the meat section, the gutter was covered by a plastic grate. Comforting?

We waited while the selected chicken was separated from the others crammed in holding space. Watched the pork guy carving off the meat needed and chopping off hooves of the pigs, where he sat cross legged on a table next to the bowl of intestines that were for sale as well.

Just a few minutes later the guy returned with the chicken, feet and head still attached. The smell did not get to me, the heat did not get to me, the sight of the destined to be delicious chicken did not bother me. (I saw the chickens killed at the farm back home when I was little) But the combination made me fuzzy feeling. Determined not to have another involuntary sit, I laughed it off, giggling at my ignorance as a sheltered American, who thinks a skinned chicken=headless and footless. The laughing worked like magic. Improved airflow in my system, oxygen intake, and though the sweat continued to roll off my skin…I felt much better despite the heat.

Bought myself two, fresh mangos :) FANTASTICO!! Why must we be void of this fruit back home? It is depressing, this reliance which we hold to mearly apples and oranges.

For dinner, Luke helped (and by that I mean texted and fielded responses) gather some of the group for a birthday dinner! Twelve people showed up! Which was impressive given short notice! I was happy, It was most of the people who I had gotten to talk to and hang out with the most at all of these events. We went to the Indian Habitat Center, where there is a nice food court. It is inside, at the end of a city garden type set up in the middle of a bunch of buildings, where all kinds of cultural things are held. Including an small art display, currently holding photographs taken from around India.

We took over a table, and I was given the summery of what was available. Wisely opted to let someone order for me, a south Indian dish. Which was good, and I ate everything, even the spicy stuff. I’m getting so good at that, which is a shame since it is the end..of this visit anyways.

Tradition in India is that the birthday person takes everyone out, and treats them! It was great, because I was trying to find a way to thank everyone for coming out, and for welcoming me in, taking me places and showing me around. It was great, I could take participate in culture here and thank everyone simultaneously. Plus, I kind of wanted to! everyone was really appreciative, thanking me for dinner…when really I’d been thanking them. **sings** circle of looooove!

Mrs. Bennett was good with the idea of everyone coming over afterwards, for Mississippi Mudpie!!! I was going to help *guilty guilty guilty* but limited kitchen space and utensils made it difficult. And the important factor that her involvement guaranteed that it would be delicious! Still, I was so very thankful she was okay with it! Woohoo!

Everyone sang happy birthday for me! I just smiled and grinned my big old happy smile that scrunches up my whole face. I thanked everyone for coming and then, like anyone who is the center of attention…I bolted for the kitchen before I could start tearing up of anything like that.

We sat around the living room for a bit, laughing and devouring the sugary goodness of Mississippi mudpie (whip cream/pudding type composite. ) I did not want to think just then that this could very well be the last time I see everybody. Well, last time for a very long time anyways.

Hugged extra tight at the end (just in case). I could never have asked for such a great birthday.

And everyone from home facebooked happy birthday wishes as well (during both times zones)!!! :D

1 comment:

  1. Anna...went through your blog...^_^
    Its amazing...I am looking forward to see U again...darling