Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pictures from Tel Aviv

Here are some of Boaz's pictures from Tel Aviv.  I'll post those from Jerusalem, Akko, and Haifa in another entry.

Tel Aviv graffiti Egg Plant Krew 

If there is grafiti or boats, Boaz is taking a picture of it.  This is a piece by the Egg Plant Krew.  Eggplant being like a repurposed, empowered racial slur in this case.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The firang

I noticed that in talking about our trip to Lucknow and Delhi and the wedding, I didn't talk a lot about how people react to the obvious foreigner.  I must be more self conscious about my reactions to their reactions than I am at being the center of attention.  Now that's saying something.

We stayed at a hotel on a busy road in Lucknow.  Sometimes we stood outside to wait for one of Brij's eminently gracious family to pick us up.  Passersby on foot, bicycle and motorized vehicle alike would slow down to look at us.  I've adjusted to lingering looks and whathaveyou in Pune, but I still noticed that it was more pronounced in Lucknow.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The metric system

I'll admit I haven't gotten used to the metric system.  The nutrition facts on packaged food are similar here, but the serving size is apparently (and sensibly) mandated;  It is always 100g.  This is a pretty inscrutable description for me though.  And it never tells you how many servings are in the package, forcing me to do math.

If you have trouble with the metric system too, xkcd can help.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

My greatest fears realized

Okay, I'm exaggerating again.

I had two major fears about coming to India and they may seem trivial because they kind of are.  Those fears were of paralyzing heat and bugs.  Part of the reason these were my topmost fears is that I didn't think there was much I could to do about them and I can't see getting anything in return for coping with them.  Running away to another country without a job or anything?  Scary, or wildly irresponsible, but I get to live  in India!  Witnessing incredible poverty, animals that aren't cared for and whathaveyou?  Hard, but character building, right?  Plus sometimes I get to help and that is awesome.

So I was scared of bugs and heat.  The heat has turned out to be bearable.  It affects my activities, but I'm not dying or anything.  I don't think I've even seen a cockroach.  If I am particularly brutalized by mosquitoes in a short period of time, I do go a little whacko.  That's mostly unfortunate for Boaz.  The spiders are especially scary because they all jump, but there aren't a lot of them.

There weren't a lot of them.

Friday, May 27, 2011

More cat antics

The cat really doesn't like using the litter box.  This hasn't been a problem per se, even though she can only go outside when I open the door for her.  That is until one night when I had eaten something bad.  I threw up a bunch and slept much longer than usual.  The cat opened the window to the roof and climbed to the ground from 3 stories up!

Alright, Cat, let's make a deal.  I will leave the door to the office open a little so you can use that window.  But you have to promise not to spray in there and hope that the electric mosquito destroyer machine protects the rest of the house from vampiric marauders.

She agreed.  And then she decided a little box full of cds and books in the mountain of partially unpacked miscellany in the office was the best place to keep the kitten.  Silly Cat.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

My first Indian wedding!

One of the women that works at the education center, Swati, generously invited me to her wedding.

Indian wedding getting ready

You can barely see her here surrounded by, oh, about 30 women in a room the size of a big closet.  Having trouble getting shots of the bride will be a theme for the evening.

Casual price comparisons

A couple people have asked me about it, so here are some very personal, anecdotal, imprecise comparisons of prices in India vs. the States.  The basic  trend is that things you don't really need are expensive/similar to price in the States, absolute essentials and labor are cheap.

Pharmacy - I find this is the most dramatic.  I never get a receipt, so I don't know what individual items cost.  Last time I went to the pharmacy I got 2 tubes of antifungal cream, 4 toothbrushes, and 40 Xanax.  It was under $4.  My copay for a month's supply of name brand prescriptions was $45 in Seattle.  I think Lotrimin is like $8 and what is a toothbrush, $3?  So it would have been somewhere around $75 for me at Walgreens.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mystery Produce Episode 5 - Chickoo

Indian produce chickoo fruit

Chickoo!  Chickoo, chickoo, chickoo.  I just love saying chickoo.  This was certainly a new fruit to me.  I chopped it up with some mango and put it in a custard.  I can't say it's my favorite, but I would eat it again.  I like some tang to my fruit, which chickoo is not.  Nor is it cloyingly sweet.  The texture is almost grainy, like a pear.  I think in smells oddly like the fenny Boaz's coworkers brought back from Goa.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Articles page

If you're obsessed with how I spend my day (and if you're reading this, I'm sorry to say, you just might be.  Hi, Mom!), you can now read along with Siera about India in the new Articles section.  It's like longreads/longform/givemesomethingtoread except it is all India all the time.  And no pesky context like dates of publication, date of listing or summaries either.  Though there are editor's picks in the form of painstakingly designed asterisks.

Pictures from the Delhi trip

We were in Delhi over Holi.  We saw evidence of the festivities, but didn't get much action ourselves.

Delhi old city Holi 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Cat and Kitten

The cat finally delivered in a box in our living room.  Very small litter of 2, but one was stillborn.  So only one kitten to find a home for, yay!  It's a pretty cute copy of mom.  Of course all they do right now is nap and nurse, nap and nurse, nap and nurse.

More pictures from Lucknow trip

Lucknow building alley

We stayed at a pleasant little hotel in Lucknow.  These were the views out our little terrace in the back.