One of my favourite drinks is a mango lassi. You can get it at most Indian restaurants in New Zealand and many restaurants here, but most of the time it is made from either tinned mango puree (if you are lucky) or some mango flavoured stuff (if you aren’t) and a lot of sugar. Since it is mango season here right now, I’ve been able to have the real thing fresh and homemade almost every day.
I just drove 12km in Hyderabad! Granted, traffic was light as it was 9pm, but on the other hand, it was dark and hard to see, and I was driving a manual for only the second time in over 15 years.
Back in New Zealand, I have had very different coffee routines at different times.
A couple of days ago, I had a few new experiences in India. It started when Gopal had to go to the bank. The rear seat of the motorcycle is not usable as it is currently being modified to be comfortable for more than 20 minutes at a time, so he went alone. Plus, we have our niece staying with us at the moment, and there is no way all three of us can go. He left around 2:30 and the bank shuts at 4. It’s about half an hour away.
We live in a pretty quiet part of Hyderabad. We’re in such a rural area that frogs in the nearby rice paddies are the biggest source of noise at night. One night a buffalo mooed the whole night, but that was just a one-off. This complex is still only partly populated so it’s pretty quiet most of the time. There is still a bit of construction noise, but nothing too bad. The biggest sources of noise here are fighter jets and gunfire.
As I’m sure most of you are aware, India is hot. Well, most of India is. In the northern parts, it stretches up into the Himalayas where the altitude makes it a lot cooler. There are also “hill stations” which are high in the mountains and have much lower temperatures. When the English occupied India, the hill stations were where people would go to retreat from the heat in summer. When I was here last year, in the space of an hour we drove from Mettupalayam at 40 degrees to Coonoor at 2000m up where it was a lovely 23 degrees.
Fires are a very common thing here in Hyderabad. People sweep leaves & debris into a pile and just set fire to it. You see little flaming or smouldering piles at the side of the road all the time. This picture was taken from our balcony and is at the tent village next to our apartment building. The guy who lit it stuck around for a little while before wandering off. You can see from the scorch marks on the wall that a fire here is pretty common.
The other day, we were out buying some supplies for finishing off our furniture. It had rained just before we reached that area of the city but by the time we got there, the sun had come out again and it was hot and humid. While Gopal was sorting out what we needed, I was just standing around outside idly looking around. Without the cooling airflow of the motorbike, I was starting to feel hot and sweaty.
Our maid often brings me flowers to wear in my hair. They are jasmine flowers and they smell lovely all day.
And walk. And ride. And stand around. And shop. And talk. In fact, everywhere I go and everything I do, there are people watching me.