Monday, December 28, 2009

Third-World Redux

So the Evil One had to go back to work today. So the Great One had to amuse herself. This means, time to go exploring! The bandh (political protests, often violent) starts back up tomorrow (supposedly today was some sort of Muslim holiday...probably Ashoura but I'm not sure-a), which meant this may be my only day to explore this week, depending on how long it goes on for.

I have reports to write. I have a belly dance cossie to finish. This would not be the end of the world. At least that's what I keep telling myself.
So. Exploring. It was about 9:30 when I finally left the house. I decided the first thing I wanted to do was wander the streets for a ways, so I headed off down the hill. What can I tell you about Hyderabad? It's unruly - India in general I guess it, but it's difficult for me, being in a city this size and having very little idea of which direction is which. I know which streets I've been on and where I turned off them, and that's about it. I don't have the ability to anticipate where a road will take me and how to logically get from point A to point B. Which is kind of frustrating, but what can you do? Pick a street, pick a direction, and go, knowing that when you get in the auto-rickshaw and tell the driver the name of the very prominent hotel you are living next to, that at the end of the day, you will get home.
As I wandered down the street, I passed a Hindu temple...whose, I'm not sure. It was colorful, and you heard the bell being rung occasionally. Life was taking place along the way; a city waking up as workers swept the streets. Evil tells me Hyderabad is just about the cleanest city she's seen in India, and at 10 in the morning, I believe it...however, I still don't think I'd walk barefoot on these streets for love or money. At the bottom of the hill I came to an intersection and chose to go left - it was a smaller street, and it looked interesting. I passed cows that were just waking up for the day, women digging through a dumpster, shops starting to open, small children playing. I was absolutely the only white person on the street, but I felt safe, even if I did stick out like a sore thumb.
After a while the lane ran out into a larger street, and I decided I was ready to go be a tourist for a while. Evil mentioned Golkonda Fort and the Qutb Shahi tombs, so I hailed an auto and told him where I wanted to go...unfortunately, as we started moving it became very apparent he had no idea where that was. He stopped a well-dressed man walking past, and had him translate for me, and then tried to jack the price up on me. I don't think so. I got out of the auto and found a guy who knew where I wanted to go and was willing to take me for 100 rupees - which may have been too much, but seemed fair at the time. I made it out there alright, and got back in one piece - I'm not going to bore you talking about Golkonda because I don't know or care enough about architecture to try and describe it to you. It's a big fortress. What more do you need to know? I got another auto back here with no problems, and I even recognized where I was once I got to the street where I turned in the morning, and had Indian for lunch at a restaurant in - get this - an old train dining car, complete with serving staff costumes, and they had AMAZING mocktails! And now I'm stuffed and I don't want to think about eating ever again.

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