Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bombay Countdown

11 days until I move to Bombay.
This means, tons of work to do in Delhi, I have to pack (and give Priya all the stuff I am not taking with me), and I have to see everyone before I go.
This also means I will be a bit absent from blogging until I reach my new destination, for four more months of research before returning to Delhi for writing-up and reflecting. Just cross your fingers that I find an apartment in Bombay sooner rather than later.

Monday, January 19, 2009

January Weeks

So along with crazy amounts of work these last few weeks have included one flu/fever (ugh) where Anju (my flat mate) came to the rescue by making sure I ate, slept and stayed warm in the chilly Delhi nights and tons of other stuff, here is some of it:
These weeks have included my first forays into Indian cooking, I helped Anju make subjzi (vegetables), some curry and parathas. And... I made my first dish on my own, Chana Masala (chick peas and curry sauce). It actually turned out well. I brought it to Futurebrands for lunch, where everyone eats together in large groups and shares all the dishes and food they brought (not usually the rotis and rice they bring) but the dal or subzi they made that day. In this way, everyone gets some dal and vegetables to eat, and gets to try different things. So that day, for lunch, everyone liked it and said it was well spiced and well cooked and tasted like it was not the first time I had ever used a pressure cooker. This was exciting, because pressure cookers are just a bit scary.
In other news, it was my birthday on Jan 18th and I celebrated in Delhi style with an evening to bring in my birthday at the bar Buzz and then at the ever-hip club Tabla Rasa, thanks to Sumi, who got us in for free where there happened to be a free and open bar! Needless to say we of course all ordered the most expensive drink on any bar’s menu in Delhi… wine!
On Sunday itself I had a wonderful lunch with friends at The Big Chill (no- not the movie) an Italian restaurant in Delhi, I ate like an American and ordered pasta with meat balls (chicken ones- no beef in Delhi). After that, my friend and Futurebrands colleague Arati and I went to Chandini Chowk to China and actually enjoyed it despite bad reviews and some crazy ketch/mellow drama going on. As a visual anthropologist, all I can say is: move over Euro-America, Asia is taking over. (Here instead of the usually trip to Australia, Europe, the US or Canada, the movie moves the action literally from Delhi to China- weather either country wants to admits it, they need each other as much as they are rivals). Although the rest of the movie needs you to suspend all logic!
By the way- Mumbai here I come on February 7th.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Raj Kachori

While Back in Delhi, I thought I should introduce everyone to one of my favorite foods: Raj Kachori. This chaat (street food or snack that combines elements of chips, spices, masalas, sauces, yogurt and everything you can think of) is amazing and fun to eat. Not to mention it also tastes very good. If given a chance you should try it. Here is one of the best ones I ate in Delhi.


After Mumbai and a world wind Lonely Planet walking tour of Jaipur and a quick lunch at the Ganesha Restaurant (I highly recommend it), Rachel and I only had a few hours of sunlight to explore the city. The next day we headed off with fellow Fulbrighters Callin, Michele and Jaspreet to the Amber fort for some nice fort touring and then to Jodhpur. Jodhpur is by far my favorite city in Rajasthan. First of all it is beautiful. Many of the buildings in the old city are painted blue (it is often called the "Blue City"), the people there are very nice and helpful. One helped Rahel and I negotiate a rickshaw and everyone we met were happy to give directions. The famous and mountain top fort/palace of Jodhpur is also amazing and probably the best preserved and maintained fort in Rajasthan with an amazing audio tour (yes in India there is an amazing audio tour that was really fun to listen to and informative). The fort is also very well preserved and restored. Although our hotel was a little strange (crazy painted rooms and a strange, sometimes too talkative, hotel owner), the overall experience was fun and we treated ourselves to some great Rajasthani food.
After Jodhpur we all headed to Jaisalmer, the city at the edge of the desert. Also very beautiful like Jodhpur, but not blue. It has some very famous havelis (littlerally wind-lights) or large ornate houses with large courtyards in the middle that let in wind and light. The havelis were great, the the narrow winding streets of the city were fun to explore except for... all the cow shit that was everywhere. There were sooooooo many cows in such small streets that everywhere you walked you always had to look down so you would not step in a cow pie. Not to mention the smell. The Jaisalmer fort, which has literally been incorporated into the city (there are houses and shops in it) is currently sort of in disrepair with stones falling off of it every year. But it has great views of the city and a great massage parlor. Yes... while everyone went on a camel safari (I have already done one and so has Rachel) Rachel and I opted out and opted in for massages instead. A lot more comfortable and better smelling!
After Jaisalmer we traveled to Bikaner for a night (ate amazing home cooked food) and then made the nauseating (small bumpy roads) and long (8 hours) trip back to Delhi. After all this traveling, I have to admit, its nice to be back. But it was fun to see so much too.
See the Vacation pictures I posted to the side.