Saturday, January 14, 2012

Poha, Yoko Ono and Hauz Khas

Yoko Ono 

Street Art
Kaul Haus
The old and the new
Parking Enforcement - Delhi Style

When we awoke we went down stairs to the breakfast buffet. There was an enormous selection of both western and Indian Food. We had recently made a shrimp poha at home. We had never previously had poha and we were told it was commonly used as a breakfast dish. I asked the manager if they had poha, and he said the kitchen would be very happy to custom make it for us. It is made from sliced riced and then highly seasoned. It is very light and delicious. We will make it when we return. They gave us a very detailed hand written recipe for it. It was very generous of them. During breakfast Yoko Ono came down to eat with us. She is also staying at the hotel, no special attitude just another person standing inline. Nice attitude. She didn’t ask for Poha. Her loss.

On a previous trip to India, I had purchased an Indian Cell phone, I needed to get a new SIM card, mine had expired, when I asked the concierge where I could buy a SIM card, he said “leave the phones with me, I will take care of everything. Go spend your day and when you return the phones will be working.” It was a great service, when we returned late in the day to the hotel, we had working cell phones! The Hotel employs a “Cyber Butler” who is there 24 hours to resolve any technology issue. He operates very much like I do at the center where I volunteer, except he is probably 25 years younger, wears a tux and gets paid. Would have been an interesting career choice for me, if it had been available when I was young.

I have set up my IPhone 4S for international Texting only! No calls, no web serfing, no email. In the back of my mind I hear about the thousand dollar Iphone bills while travelling, and I hope I have it set correctly.

After we all had eaten breakfast we headed out to shop. We went to two shopping districts that we had previously been to: Sanstusti and Hauz Khas. Sanstusti is on an airforce base and across the steet where the Prime Minister M. Sing of India lives. Security is intense. No pictures. We snuck some in anyways. It is a seriers of low buildings that might previously had been other things, maybe offices or small homes that had been converted to high end stores. It is all in a park like setting. We walked from store to store filling in gaps in our wardrobes (I really doubt that we have any). We were still the tourist, trying to convert Rupees to Dollars in our head to figure out what things really cost. It wasn’t automatic yet. However with practice shopping, the conversion begins to be automatic. I brought my iPad with me and had the luxury of dropping out of the shopping game and reading a Kindle Book while the shopping got too intense for me. I am reading the new 850 page Steven King book named 11/22/63 about a time traveler determined to change history and prevent the assignation of JFK by Lee Harvey Oswald. Assuming the book is historically correct, I am learning a lot I either never knew about the assignation plot and have many things I want to double check. I like the book. Unfortunately I think our hero will be unsuccessful but we will see. One thing I realized if you ever have a chance to time travel back in history: Take a lot of sports scores and stock tables with you. You can make a lot of money gambling (since you know the winner of major races and games) and you will know what stocks to pick (buy Apple). We had lunch at a very nice place at the complex called: Basil and Thyme. Italian themed where they served light and good lunches.

After the shopping (I put my computer down enough to buy a cool looking shirt), we called our driver and he picked us up to drive to Haus Kaus Village. The traffic was very thick and the driving was typical Indian Crazy. I would NEVER drive here. But we made it. We had been here several times before. It is a warren of streets with all kinds of stores. It is an interesting mix, high end clothing, jewelry and art stores, Graffitti artists painting walls, dirty and muddy streets. A mix of all kinds of people. We walked and shopped (and Cathy didn’t complain about her back – so the epidural must have kicked in). We walked thru a dilapidated gate attached to an old brick wall and were treated to be in the real Haua Khas, which I previously knew nothing about. This area of ruins and water was an enormous architectural site. It contained a huge lake with fountains blasting water up into the sky, dilapidated buildings or walls, reconstructed mosques and stairways. It was a playground to explore and take pictures. All next to this crazy bohemian shopping area. We had been here 2 previous times and had never stumbled thru the gate before. It was a classic Delhi experience: The layers at least nine deep of previous civilizations scattered through this enormous city of perhaps 18 million people.

We  were supposed to meet our Bollywood Actress and friend: Kashmera Shah. She has a hit TV show that was filming in Delhi, but we couldn’t align our schedules. We will keep our texting and hopefully make it happen. We decided to return to our hotel and have a drink in the lobby. With the addition of the wine and our lack of sleep the previous night, Jet Lag snuck up on me. I was having problems keeping my eyes open. We decided to eat at the hotel. And with one more bottle of wine I really started to be come catonic. No pictures of our quite spicy and good dinner survive to document the Thai food at the restaurant at the hotel. We made it back to the room and I fell fast asleep after taking a strong sleeping pill. As is its wants Mr. Jetlag got me up at 2:30 but after a quick battle I won and went back to sleep, waking at 7:30am ready for another day of Delhi adventures.

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