Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Short post -- songs I've heard at Spar

So there's a K-mart/ Target / Wal-mart-esque grocery store near my apartment called Spar.  I thought I would just share a couple songs that I've heard play while shopping:

TLC - What About Your Friends

Chaka Khan - Do You Love What You Feel

The song selection is so random.  Love the Chaka Khan though.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Foods of India versus Foods of New Orleans -- Tied?

Yesterday, my roommates cooked rajma which is literally red beans and rice.  Here is a picture I found on Google of rajma:

And here's a picture of New Orleans' red beans and rice:

It's pretty hilarious how extremely similar the dishes are, just different spices (but also some of the same ones as well).

And I also had some kaju katli tonight (Indian sweet) which tastes a whole lot like a praline:


This makes me think of tasty New Orleans food which just makes me really want this:
(Shrimp and grits from Surrey's -- coming October 2012...)

Though similar, Indian food is still my second favorite food to creole/cajun food.  Really suck that there's no sausage here by the way.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What's beef?

I didn't mention this before, but on Sunday when the other fellows and I went to Old City, I got the best question from my flatmate Tanu.  So Tanu is a vegetarian and a Hindu from North India.  And in the Old City, there is a large Muslim population.  So we are passing through the Old City and pass up a meat shop.  And Tanu asks me: "what's beef?"  Unfortunately, I had to tell her beef is the sacred animal: cow.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mosquito bites

So many mosquito bites in so many places, including two on the bottom of my foot.  Who would have thought that my foot tasted so good?

Anyway, this morning the IDEX fellows went on a heritage walk around Charminar in the Old City.  Saw a lot of really interesting architecture.  We arrived at Charminar at 7am which was super early, but fine because I was already up due to the really elaborate call to prayer this morning.  Ramazan started this past Friday and since then the call to pray is really amazingly elaborate.  It serves as my morning wake up call.

In other news, two more of my roommates arrived this week, Tanu and Tasha, whom are both very awesome.  Tanu is from Udaipur (i.e. Lake Palace) and Tasha is from Colorado.  I’m really happy to have such great additional roommates in the house.   After the Heritage Walk, we walked around Laad Bazaar and did some shopping.  I purchased these really cool green bangles for super cheap thanks to Tanu and her bargaining skills!  We also went to another bazaar, Sultan Bazaar I think, and looked at kurtas and pants. 

Also, when Tanu arrived on Thursday, her parents had made the trip with her and they were both so amazing nice.  And Tanu’s mother can really cook- yum.  I wish she could stay here with us….

This past Thursday night, Ritika, Tanu, Esther, Sneha and I went to TDS for karaoke night.  It was really fun and a nice time.  A lot of the fellows came out as well and it was overall a good time.  I thoroughly enjoyed other people singing ridiculously.

Here are a few pictures from the events mentioned:

Also, I have a phone now so people can call me!  Hopefully Tuesday I will have internet to post all of my pictures on Facebook / Blogger!  As well, I hope the mosquitos grow tired of my blood….

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


By the way, it's monsoon season here in Hyderabad so I thought I would add a picture (taken by my roommate, Ritika):

All the roads were flooding left and right!  And even in the rickshaw, I got soaking wet..

Ritika and I went shopping for some house supplies (for Indian cooking) and had a hell of a journey getting back to our flat.  We had too much stuff so wanted to get an auto, but it was raining a lot, the streets were flooding, and there were a mass amount of people on the road so no luck!  We had to walk home from the store (with heavy bags) in the flooding streets.  It was disastrous and just not fun at all.  Glad that's over.

On another note, Ritika cooked dahl and rice are it was awesome.  I just ate way too much of it.  Yum.  And tomorrow we are suppose to be doing some yoga in the morning!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pictures as promised

Today was fun.  I went out with Ritika and a couple of her friend’s at this place called Coco’s in Banjara Hills.   I had actually been there before and it was pretty nice.  No pictures of that yet… but here are some pictures of my apartment as promised from last entry!

My room!

Door lock of my room

Closets in my room

My bathroom

My bathroom again

Living room

Americans were here... obviously

View from the balcony


And again..

Washing machine hook up on the balcony!

Another view picture

Stove burner in the kitchen

Enclosed balconey

Sticker found in my room...  Yeah, I can't imagine someone seriously putting that up anywhere.. Too patriotic for me... Thanks.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Definitely time for an update!

So I arrived in Hyderabad on July 12th at 2:15pm from Mumbai.  The trip was so long, but actually not bad.  It was the layover in Mumbai which was a killer.  Mumbai waiting area of the airport – not for the weak.  Definitely saw a rat there, twice.  Also, flies everywhere.  Speaking of bugs, it rained here in Hyderabad last night, which kind of sucks, because that brings in mosquitos.  I have at least two bites this morning it seems.  I’m hoping that my body will adjust soon and mosquitos will become uninterested in my tasty blood.

Only one of my roommates has moved in so far, Ritika.  She is super cool and very accomplished.  I’m very impressed by her passion for development work.  Two more are moving in as well.  Sneha is moving in this evening.

Yesterday, I had breakfast with Ritika at a small place nearby.  By US standard, we would call it a hole-in-a-wall place, but it was good.  Total breakfast for both of us, was about 60 INR (rupees) which is, without the exchange rate transaction costs, a little over $1 USD. 

We tried to see a movie yesterday at Central Mall called Cocktail, but it was sold out. L  Lame.  But went shopping in the mall and I got a kurta with matching pants and scarf.  I’ll post a picture when I wear it!  Also, speaking of clothes here, so there are these skinny pants here that are the fashion.  I swear that Indian women do not have calves.  Like, the waist of the pants will fit, but not the legs.  It’s very crazy.  Also, clothes run pretty small here in general, but seriously, who has calves that small?!

Also, ate Indian food at the food court at Central Mall which has this place called Ohri’s there.  I remember that place very fondly because last time I was here in Hyderabad, my old roommate Jessica and I would go to Central Mall to eat this chicken dish from here with this really yummy gravy and french fries. It was definitely not very healthy, but when in desperate search for non-Indian food (that wasn’t Pizza Hut, Dominoes, or Subway), doesn’t matter. 

It took me about 4 months last time to get tired of eating Indian food for 3 meals a day.  I’m going to try to hold back a little longer this time…  Pizza Hut is really close though and so is Subway!  Damn them!  There are quite a few “American” brands here actually, in food and household supplies, by the way. 
Oh, by the way, while I was starving in the Mumbai airport, I bought this almond milk chocolate bar (called Temptations) by Cadbury.  So fucking good.  It definitely reminded me that yes, Cadbury is so much very different to the gross Cadbury sold in the States.  Cadbury in the states is made by Hershey’s by the way.  Had to hold back to only eat one candy bar….

As for the apartment, it is so huge…  I mean, at least 4 to 5 times bigger than my studio apartment in Manhattan.   There are 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, one enclosed balcony, another opened balcony, a den / seating area (which is alone the size of my studio apartment- hah), and a kitchen.  Still need to work on getting a fridge and washing machine. We will be renting them and that shouldn’t been too bad with 4 people living here.  No dryer here, just hang up drying. J

I have my own room here that has these really nice built-in closets.  More than I need really.  And then there is a twin-sized bed.  Otherwise, the room is completely empty which is how I expect it to stay.  Also, I have an en-suite bathroom which is pretty awesome.  The apartment is very Indian styled.  I’ll post some pictures below of my room and bathroom by the way.  Also, the previous tenants left some random stuff here.  I can tell they were American because in my room there’s a sticker on my mirror that says “American Pride” and there’s another American-esque thing on a high window in the kitchen.  I found a guitar which I’ve claimed as my own.  And I guess there was a girl previously in my room because I found a huge bag of tampons (tampons are very hard to find in India).  Also there was huge unopened box of them as well.  Thanks for leaving them!  Seriously, it’s a fucking lifetime supply of them.

I need to hit up my friends Bhavani and Dipankur soon to hang out in Gachibowli!  Sucks because I don’t have a phone or internet right now- been using Ritika’s internet connection (like this prepaid USB thing).  Here, you can’t just get a prepaid phone or prepaid internet, you have to prove you are a resident here and have your passport.  The phone is literally tied to you here and your name.  Not like in the states where you can get a burner phone from Walgreen’s and be done with it.  Hoping by early next week I’ll have it.  I also need to get some passport sized pictures for my foreigner in residence registration next Friday.

On another note, not sure if Rebecca will ever make it thanks to the Indian Consulate in Houston not ever issuing her visa.  L  Really fucking sucks.

That’s all for now.  I really miss Rae, and everyone back in the states.  Send me emails!

Also, I give up on posting the pictures for now....  Just will not upload!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

This is the day, your life will surely change...

It feels really surreal to be leaving today.  My flight is tonight at 6:30pm out of Newark, with stops in Zurich and Mumbai before getting into Hyderabad.

I'm also proud of my packing skills-- just two bags really.  A large hiking backpack and a smaller backpack with my laptop to carry-on!

I'll miss Rae the most. :(

Monday, July 9, 2012

Countdown until Tuesday

It's my last Sunday in New York City!  It's so sad.  I'm hitting up Goodwill tomorrow to get rid of a lot of my old clothes.  Then lunch with Tzu-san to say goodbye.  Then picking up a few things to bring with me to Hyderabad.  So much stuff to leave behind / organize, so little time!

I'm so excited to be going to back to Hyderabad though!  This time I won't be living on campus in Gachibowli at University of Hyderabad though.  I'll be living with 3 roommates in the Banjara Hills neighborhood.

Until next time,

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Introduction to the Life Exotic

Hi all,

This is my blog dedicated to following my time in Hyderabad, India as an IDEX Fellow in Social Enterprise. I will be pursuing work with Dr. Reddy's Foundation while in Hyderabad.  My move will be on Tuesday, July 10th from New York City to Hyderabad!

Will update soon!