What a nice weekend! Friday night we just chilled out and had a friend spend the night. We ate out at Subway, which is SO good. I never thought I���d appreciate American fast food so much���
Yesterday was a down day, which was nice. It rained for a little while, and I found myself feeling very restless, so I decided to head off on an adventure. We���ve explored a good bit of town, but one of the best things about this place is that you can think you know an area pretty well, and then one day you suddenly discover a random street that leads you to a whole new area you never knew existed! That���s what happened yesterday. I went down to MG road, a pretty touristy place, but I decided to wander off the main path and ended up finding some pretty cool little spots.
I first stopped in a tiny fabric store, and after chatting with the owner a bit, I bought 2 pieces of fabric, which I can have made into shirts (���kurtas���). She sealed the deal when she told me it was ���Lizzy Busy,��� and that I wouldn���t need to iron it���that���s all I needed to hear! As I left the shop and walked a little further down, I found a small temple. This is not uncommon, since there���s either a temple, mosque or some other place of worship at every turn. But as I stopped to look inside, a man sitting by the door invited me to come in. Feeling adventurous, I took off my shoes and stepped inside. The man at the door was very friendly and told me I could look around and take pictures. The temple seemed to be mainly for Hanuman (monkey god), but also had statues/altars for Shiva, Krishna, Ganesh, Durgmata, and a few other gods. One of the men inside offered me a coconut half to offer to the gods, which I politely declined. Definitely an interesting experience.
As I continued my wandering, I found myself in a fabulous market. Up until yesterday, I hadn���t really seen many good outdoor markets that sold anything other than fruit and vegetables, but this one had it all, which was great. I ended up buying some fun glass bangles for 90 rupees(a little over $2) and 1 kilo of tomatoes and some onions for 20 rupees (about 50 cents). I also got some bananas to give away to people begging on the streets. I have a hard time with that���I want to help people, especially since so many of them are handicapped and obviously limited as to what they can do. It���s a challenge because there are so many needy people, and while many have genuine needs, there are also plenty of people who are pros at begging and target foreigners. So I decided to give food instead of money, and I was so happy to see that the people I stopped and handed a banana to really seemed to appreciate this small gift.
Later on, I found a tiny little shop that barely even looked like it actually was a shop, with three little old ladies inside. Since they didn���t look like they had much business, I decided to visit with them for a bit. This was tough, because they were mainly just gesturing in either Hindi or Marati, and trying to get me to buy something. They were very excited about one item, but I had no idea what it was for, and they couldn���t explain it to me! Finally I recognized the word ���atta,��� which means flour, and realized the strange item was a sifter. I finally ended up buying a brass ���Ful dan��� (flower pot) for about $3. Not an incredibly exciting purchase, but the process of getting it was definitely worth it!
After stopping by a sweet shop for a snack, I headed home. Quite a nice adventure overall. Today, however, takes the cake. After lunch at The Sizzler (they serve beef, though it���s probably water buffalo and not cow���still good stuff!), we went with some friends to the mountains. They surround our city, and we���ve been eyeing them for a while, so today we finally headed up there and explored. What a great time! We could see the entire city, which was quite a site. On top of that, the recent rain brought out a beautiful rainbow. There were also several cows roaming around the mountainside, and a guy watching them (a cow-herd, I guess���). I said hi and took his picture and he gave me the biggest smile, which was great. We could also see quite a few temples scattered through out the hillside. They were all very tiny, but looked well cared for, which was interesting because none of them looked easy to get to.
Right as we headed home, it started raining again���perfect timing! Overall, it was a fun and very refreshing weekend, showing that my best friend knows exactly what I need, and when I need it :)