Sunday, November 24, 2013

Greetings from India!

I'm in India. Yep. Been here for 7 days now. I'm visiting my best friend Pamela. She moved here a year ago to marry Ryan, a Christian Anglo-Indian known by his friends as "the American." We're going to celebrate an American Thanksgiving on Thursday. Wednesday we are going to the Taj Mahal. I am so excited. That's an understatement. It is so wonderful here. Everything is so bright and colorful, there are so many people, the smells, the sounds...every morning the fruit seller goes through the neighborhood singing (in Hindi) "I have mangoes, get your mangos, I have bananas, try these bananas..."

The shopping is fantastic. I have acquired an almost ungodly collection of beautiful bangles in a lovely box. Not to mention the fashion! The women here really know how to be beautiful and practical and express their personality all at the same time. Take the "suit." In America, a woman's suit is a drab black or gray blazer and pants or a skirt - either trying to get as close to a man's suit as possible or putting a vaguely feminine spin on it. In India, the suit is inherently feminine. Three pieces: comfy flowy salwar pants, or figure-flattering skinny trousers, on top of that a wide variety of frilly, flowing, flattering, brilliantly colored and richly embellished long tops - that manage to both show off your figure and somehow leave room to serve as maternity wear later - and to top it all off, the longest most luxurious scarf-shawl things called choli - that serve alternately as accessories, neckwarmers, hats, towels, shoulder wraps, and even napkins in a pinch. Completely stylish and practical. I really don't want to go back to wearing western clothes after all this. Life in America is going to feel so drab.

On to the food. Everything is bursting with flavor. What's funny is that Ryan likes a lot of Western food so we've been doing a lot of American fast food chains - Subway, KFC, Dominoes, McDonald's...and the funny thing is, it's all got its own Indian twist. For instance nobody really eats beef here so the "burgers" are defined not by the patty but by the fact they are served on a bun. So I ordered a chicken masala hamburger at Mcdonalds. Also a lot of people are vegetarians so like at Subway, they have all these variety of bean patties and falafel-like thingies that add protein to the sandwiches. Indians love flavor so take all the foods you are used to from these places and intensify them - KFC chicken is spicy, fries at McDonald's are now called "shake shake fries" and served with a bag and a packet of spices. Wierdest food so far? Cookies with cumin in them. Just...weird.

Well I have plenty more to say but I am tired. Also I want to write you with real pix instead of these snaps from Ryan's phone.

More to come!

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