L, asked me what I was reading, so I thought I'd answer the question here, since it is blog appropriate. I am reading a book called The White Mughals, (click on link for a detailed description). It takes place in 18th century India, but more interesting is that is takes place for the most part in Hyderabad, where I am currently living. It's a historical novel, and I am learning a lot about Islam in India as well and the many mis-conceptions people have towards Islam as a religion. I am about 90 pages in of about 800 pages. I'll review it further when I am finished.
Some fun tidbits and experiences:
* I brought my hair straightener with me to India, with a converter, and although it works, as soon as I step outside I find my hair plastered to my face in heat induced shock and therefore it is pointless to actually straighten it unless I am going directly to work. So I can step out of my air conditioned room,to an A/c filled car, to my air conditioned building at work. If all goes well I can maintain straight hair.
* Yesterday I went out to get some snacks for my room, and I felt it was a tad hotter out. When I arrived at work, I checked the weather. It was 43 degrees out and felt like 47. So then I checked the Ottawa and Sudbury weather and instantly felt better when I saw that it was 4 degrees, with a low of -2. 43 degrees is hot, but I just spent 3months in the cold. I'll take the heat for now. Today it is only 39c.
* I spent an hour watching Bollywood videos today, and enjoyed them.
* Yesterday, I went out to buy some snacks like I mentioned previously, I just can't handle eating another omelet. So I needed to find food that could easily be stored in my guesthouse. So I bought some high fibre wasa like crackers, crunchy peanut butter, whole wheat bread, and mango yogurt. I figured I could just go to the 99 rupees store and buy some cutlery. Most people eat with their hands here, which I quite enjoy doing and have no issues with. But there is no way I can use my hand to spread peanut butter on to bread. So I went next door to the "dollar store" and looked for cutlery. I found an aisle of plates, and an aisle of drinking glasses but no cutlery. At all. I asked the guy who worked there, and he took me to a small selection of BBQ pitch forks. Umm, ok the BBQ pitch fork would come in handy if I was having a pig roast, but in no way would it help me get the peanut butter on my bread. Just a note, cutlery is available here in India, just not at the 3 stores I went into. I pouted my way back to my guesthouse, dreaming about the PB in my bag, and then decided to ask the guesthouse if I could borrow a knife and spoon (for the yogurt). They kindly brought me up a plate and 3 pieces of cutlery. Aww, happy endings!
NB: I prefer to eat Indian food and quite like it, but bread and crackers seemed to be the best thing to buy as I don't have a fridge.
* When I was grocery shopping, I found oreos, Cadbury chocolates in all flavours, skim milk, and raisin bran. It's funny but I rarely eat these things (except the Raisin Bran and skim milk), but just knowing they are there make me feel better. There is also a vast selection of soy milk and tofu; it is a vegetarian heaven here!
* I asked my colleagues at work how you can tell if an Indian women is married (as in our culture there are rings, very expensive ones I might add). I was told there are many ways, such as a woman would wear a red bindi made with sindoor high on her forehead right at the hairline. Or, she may be wearing a toe ring on each foot, or she might be wearing a necklace, which could vary in colour depending on what state she comes from, or both wrists would be covered in bracelets as a married woman doesn't keep her wrists bare. But of course this in only for Hindu women. Christian women might wear a wedding band. This really just left me more confused. I figure if I want to know if someone is married, I'll just ask.
* I'm studying Hindi. It's not going so well. Everyone is telling me I'll learn it in 2 months. Not sure what kind of warped universe they are living in. But I am not sure how that will be possible. Most Indians are surrounded by many languages from the time they are born, and pick them up so easily. Many have even studied and/or are studying French too, you know, to add to the already 3-5 languages they currently speak. It makes me so jealous! I wish I could pick it up that quickly. I have learned a few words, like, "how are you, and what is your name? But that is about it, oh and from watching TV and seeing this commercial over and over again, I can say "Are you smarter than a 5th grader" in Hindi. Although not sure how far that will get me?