Sunday, January 28, 2007


Jeff and I have started looking for a place to buy.

Keep in mind, we just got back from India.

So, my inclination is to say, "What? 300,000 for that? No, no, give me 2 houses for that!"

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Remembering things

Now that I am somewhat coherent and know what time or day it is, here are a few things Jeff and I found different/weird in India:

  1. Doormen at every place: Domino's, restaurants, sometimes even restrooms
  2. They leave their cars running while getting gas
  3. There are no self service gas pumps
  4. They are very conscious of what's "in fashion." I stopped counting the number of times I was rebuked for askign for somethign that was "not in fashion" currently.
  5. Cherries in cocktails and on sundaes were unpitted; very uncomfortable the first time you find that out
  6. Lays has special flavors there; we loved the India Magic Masala. The other 2 we saw there were American sour cream and onion and Italian.
  7. Kitkat and coke tasted very different from the ones in the States
  8. Some cities have strict traffic laws and people obey. As soon as we entered Chandigarh, my Dad and the driver put their seatbelts on and the driver said he would not speed. Everywhere else, it's mayhem.
  9. Car makers that I didn't see there 7 yrs ago and are now there but with very different models:
  • Honda City
  • Ford Fiesta, Ikon
  • Toyota Innova, Qualis
  • Hyundai Getz, Santro
  • Chevrolet Tavera
  • Mitsubishi Cedo (this might be wrong, I can't read my own handwriting)

We'll update this as we remember more :-D

Monday, January 15, 2007

The sword and kirpans

It says SINGH on it, which means Lion and also a Sikh.

The sword:

Thousands of pictures for your perusal!

Ok, maybe not thousands but definitely in the many hundreds. I have them by events and dates etc.:

The first day's drive from Delhi to Ludhiana
December 29th celebrations
Wedding day: Dec 30

Dec 31st party
Delhi, Agra and Fatehpur sikri tourist activities


And we're back!

We got back at 2ish on Saturday afternoon, the 13th of January, which is also the festival of Lohri in India. Brenda picked us up and we had hot lunch waiting for us as soon as we got out of the shower. We went to bed around 4:30 p.m. with the intentions of waking up at 7:30, eating dinner and going back to sleep. Except when Brenda woke us up at 7:30, I don't think either one of us was coherent. So, we went back to bed till 6:30 a.m. And, we're both sick now. Yay!

oh, here's a photo of my new glasses, just for y'all!

January 12th: Last day in India

Spent the day in Delhi, took my sister out to dinner at TGIF. Also met Anjuli's dad and picked up some stuff for her.

Interesting time at the airport. We went through almost 20 steps of security before getting into the plane. I felt more secure there than anywhere else. This is what I remember of checking in that night:

1. At the main entrance to the airport, a couple of guards checked our tickets before letting us in. We never have our electronic tickets printed so I panicked for a second. But the guard let us in saying we'd have trouble leaving if the tickets were not confirmed.

2. All our checked in luggage was scanned by an x-ray machine and tied with a plastic band. We also had the option of getting it shrink wrapped for 150 Rupees each. It's better we didn't because TSA opened one of our bags in Chicago. Probably because of the sword in it.

3. As we stood in line to check in the scanned luggage, an airline personnel asked us some thousand questions about our luggae, if we bought it, if we packed it, if anybody gave us something, what elecgtronics we had, how long had we owned them etc.

We also had another lady ask us if we'd be willing to take a flight the next day for $500 and a $500 voucher and a one night stay in Delhi. We were tempted but Jeff had to work the next day and I didn't want to do the tearful goodbye to my parents a second time.

4. There were two steps to check in our luggage. There were even 2 counters; at the first one, a lady put the airline stickers on it and following that, the bags were weighed, fines were paid for 2 overweight bags, and they were finally checked in.

5. We had to go through Customs again to leave the country. Weird! We had to fill out a departure sheet and leave that with the Customs lady.

6. We were finally at the security check for our carry on luggage and person. Men and women had to go through different machines. All women were wanded down behind a curtained down area. All our carry on bags were stamped.

7. Now, we were at the gate. When our boarding group was called, they checked our passport and boarding pass. They also checked the stamps on the carry on luggage.

8. On the way to the plane, all our carry on bags were opened. This was exciting since the silver jug and glass set my parents bought us had underwear in it.

I swear that after I got on that plane, I felt more secure than ever.

Friday, January 12, 2007

January 11th: Day 16 in India

We got up late and the first thing we did was go buy the little chuhiya (little female mouse a.k.a. my sister) a laptop. We picked up our wedding album and loked through it while Dad drove. Beautiful pictures. We did some more shopping, had a light lunch and some people in the house napped (a.k.a. mom and Jeff).

Then we headed out again and after some more shopping (yes I know), we had dinner at the Park Plaza, which had a buffet style dinner with soups, salad bar, live pasta bar, Indian, Chinese and Continental dishes. Differences form American buffets: they serve you and they replace your silverware everytime too!

January 10th: Day 15 in India

We had a relaxing morning with an eclectic mix of food for lunch: Maggi noodles (Indian Top Ramen), American chopsuey and bhel puri; with jello custard and fruit mix for dessert.

It was a day full of errands; the tailor, the mangal sutra, visited silver shops, bought Indian snacks and foods to take to the U.S., went to visit a couple of family friends.

The day ended with dinner of yummy dosas at the Beris' house.

No more photos because Jeff isn't feeling too good :-(

January 9th: Day 14 in India

Bowling in India!

We woke up relatively late again, at 9 a.m. and had aloo parathas (boiled potato stuffed rotis) around 11. My sister had to go do Polio drop duty for a few hours so we shopped some more and then sat at a coffeehouse for a couple hours. After lunch there, we picked up my sister and her friend Sofia, and drove to Jalandhar.

That's where Sofia lives and had to be dropped off. We then went to a bowling alley were Jeff said, "This has to be the cleanest bowling alley ever!" We taught my parents and my sister how to bowl and I must say they are naturals! By the time they move here, they'll be beating us.

We stopped for dinner at Rangla Punjab, where they have a rural Punjab setting, with a magician, camel and horse rides, popcorn popped old style over coals in an iron pan, monkey handler with trick performing monkeys and all you can eat Punjabi food. Jeff and I got on the camel for a photo and I swear that I remember camels being much shorter than this time. We were scared. We came away stuffed though. They kept bringing food and you had to literally lie across your plate to stop them from putting it there.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

January 8th: Day 13 in India

Holy City for the Sikhs!

We drove to Amritsar early morning around 6:45; also stopped at a second Haveli for some tea. For the first time, it was a little foggy, and we saw a really bad truck accident on the way.

We drove directly to Harmandir Sahib or the Golden Temple, as it is more commonly known as. We saw the largest roti making machine there. We took photos of each step of the process. We also had some langar. Then we visited the main room in the temple and had some prashad.

Then, we walked down to the Jalianwala Bagh, where in 1916, many innocent Indians, including old people, women and children were gunned down by the British Soldiers, for silently protesting some law. I couldn't even handle the sight of the bullet marks in the old buildings, so my parents didn't even take us to the well where women jumped with their children in an attempt to save themselves and later, hundreds of bodies were found.

We bought a Punjabi sword and a couple of Sikh kirpans for Jeff. Now, he has all the 5 Ks required to begin to be a Sikh. I also bought a couple of Punjabi juttiyan (shoes).

We visited my sister's hostel at the Government Medical College, Amritsar. We picked her up and drove to the Army guest house where my uncle had made arrangements for us. We had dinner at, oh hold your breath once again, Domino's, were our pizza was half and half with keema pyaaz (minced lamb and onion) and chicken kabab.

We drove to the India-Pakistan border at Wagha. We watched what they call the Retreat. They take down the flags of both sides and close off the border for the night. It was really interesting; some of the interesting points:

- On the Pakistani side, the women all sat on one side and the men on the other side
- The soldiers shake hands but have the nastiest expressions on their faces
- The Pakistani soldiers bang their heads around and stomp while Indian soldiers have been told not to do that
- At the end, everybody is waving to everybody else over the border line and they all looked like us

We drove back to Amritsar, did some more shopping and then my sister took us out to dinner to Crystal Restaurant, where we had yummy Indian.

January 7th: Day 12 in India

Lazy People!

This is what today looked like:

9:30 a.m.: woke up and had tea and coffee

11:30 a.m.: had fresh fruit and juice for breakfast after showering

Jeff and my mom both napped

2:30 p.m.: had lunch

Jeff and my mom napped

3:30 p.m.: dad went to nap

5:30 p.m.: had tea

Picked up Jeff's new tailored black suit. Looks wonderful.

7:45 p.m.: Went and ate dinner at a second family friends' house.

11:45 p.m.: went to sleep.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

January 6th: Day 11 in India


We went to Chandigarh which is India's first planned town. We had tea by the Chandigarh Lake, a man made lake and visited the very interesting Rock Garden.

Then we went shopping at Sector 17, where they had the Kashmir, Punjab and Khadi Emporiums. The Kashmir emporium had beautiful hand carved furniture form walnut wood. I think I might have my parents bring us a wooden screen from there when they move.

We had lunch at a place called Hot Millions, where I had a really yummy Mexican Chilli and Cheese burger.

We tried shopping in Sector 22 where there are tiny stalls but in a very confusing pattern and after going around in circles twice, we left for my cousin's house. We were fed some more (no surprise) and had tea and fruits and sweets.

Dinner was at a family friends' house where once again, people worried that we weren't eating much and we over ate. Also got new glasses today.

January 5th: Day 10 in India

Very light day. We drove back from Delhi to Ludhiana. We went to somebody else's mehandi raat and ladies sangeet.

January 4th: Day 9 in India

Last day for Nate!

We woke up relatively late and left for the Bahai'i temple. We also went to the Qutab Minar. Almot everyhting that's really high is blocked off to visitors because people started jumping off of them. Idiots!

Then started our shopping. We went to something called the Dilli Haat, where we bought some handicrafts and had some chai. They were doing a showcase on Uttaranchal, the newest state of India. We watched a little bit of a folk dance being done.

Jeff and Nate learnt that they couldn't go into any of the stalls with me and my mom, so they would wait till we had bargained and then they would come up and pick out what they liked. Nate was ecstatic when, towards the end, he bargained himself and got some paintings cheaper than first offered.

Lunch was at the India Habitat Center. They had a food court, where we had an eclectic mix of gol gappas, spring rolls, baked potatoes and pizzas with mango lassis and sodas. We were stuffed ... but that is no different from every other meal we've been fed here.

Then, we went shopping at the Janpath market in Delhi. Tiny stalls of souvenirs, clothing, knick knacks ... lot's of bargaining. We had dinner at, once again hold your breath, TGIF! Very different but very good!

So, today brought the end of Nate's stay with us. We dropped him off at the airport at 9ish and said goodbye. He also took a suitcase full of stuff to be shipped to Maryland later because we weren't sure how much we'd gather after he left.