Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday in India

Today was my one & only day to myself here. I slept in & got enough sleep for the first time on this whole trip. I promised Laura that I wouldn't leave the hotel today because of the bombings in Delhi yesterday, so planned my day at the hotel. The hotel's got a world class spa here, and I made an appointment for a massage & facial at 6:00 p.m ( 2 hours of services for $70)

I called Karim at eleven to see if he wanted to go down for brunch, and woke him up. Sooooo I had lunch by myself in one of the hotel's restaurants, Collage. The food was great! After lunch, I wandered around the hotel grounds with my camera & video camera. I could hear drums from the road that leads to the hotel & could see a Ganesha procession coming down the road. I managed to see the procession & the Ganesha idol close up, without ever leaving the hotel. The procession was made up of about 20 men, dancing, drumming, and throwing pink powder on each other. They were really excited for me to take their photo, they posed, and wanted to be sure I got a picture of the Ganesha idol on their truck.

The weather's warm & muggy, overcast, but not uncomfortable. After my photo tour of the grounds I got a really bad headache & spent the rest of the day in my room, watching TV, alternating between American movies (The Firm, Jurrasic Park), Bollywood music videos, and local news. The commercials are great! There's an ad for men's underwear, called "Big Boss," a million ads for cell phone services (ring tones, cell service companies, cell phones that are also MP3 players, cell phones that are also GPS devices....), lots of singing & dancing. I ended up canceling my spa apointment.

I finally felt better & went down for dinner around 9:00 p.m. This time I tried the other hotel restaurant, Deodori. For 1400 Rupees ($33 US) I ordered the "Kebab" meal ...which included seemingly endless courses of food AND unlimited wine or beer. I sat outside, and ate the best food I've EVER had! The first course was small pieces of chicken, fish, lamb and vegetable "kebabs". Each was flavored with different spices, and all of them were excellent, especially the fish. The second course included chicken, barbequed prawn (huge), lamb on a piece of Indian bread, and a vegetable kebab that tasted very similar to falafel. This was all served with mint chutney. To accompany it was a sweet, tomato based sauce, and a "dal machtee" (totally guessing at the spelling there...). Dal means lentil, and machtee means butter, it was a stewed sauce made of black lentils, cooked overnight with lots of butter in a copper pot, and had a tomato base to it. It was so rich & flavorful, absolutely outstanding! THEN came the chicken biryani course, served with "saleem" (guessing again...) a sauce made from peanuts & chili powder and also outstanding, and "raita" a yogurt accompaniment. This wole meal was so good! I asked for the check and they tried to serve me the desert courses, but I told them I could not possibly eat any more!

I'm back in my room now, ready for bed. Throughout the day I've heard trucks rumbling down the street, and sounds of construction. There is so much construction going on, round the clock, every day of the week.

One and a half days left...looking forward to going home. I'm going to have to find a restaurant to get this food again though...yummmm.

Love to all,

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