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Odds and ends...

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Odds and ends…

Funny think about India, is that people use a head wobble (side to side) to show consent. I'm really not sure what the difference is between the head wobble and a nod as I've seen one person use both at different circumstances. I'll have to look into it, but you get use to it after a while.

The food… What can I say about the food? Well, I'm still suffering from a raw vegetable craving, as I don't dare have raw vegetables here for fear of getting Delhi Belly (traveller's diarrhoea), but as a whole, I've enjoyed being vegetarian in India. I love the paneer dishes, which are cottage cheese in various sauces, anything from spinach sauce to pea sauce, mushroom sauce, ginger sauce, tomato sauce… My favourites are Shahi paneer, palak (spinach) paneer and the butter paneer. These are best served with naan bread. I really enjoy the garlic naans but also the butter naan. Dal (lentils) are great! Bukhara dal being my favourite, but makhani dal with the tomato sauce is also really nice. From southern India, I also like uttapams which are like a pizza crust into which onions or a selection of vegetables (and occasionally coconut) is baked. You dip it into various sauces. The dosas are also very nice. The chai lasso are great as are the mango and/or banana lassis. Loving the food! Also amusing is that in the middle to upper class restaurants, they serve a form of breathmint (at least in Delhi and in Rajasthan) which is basically a bowl containing a spoon and aniseed or a variety (sugar coated or on stack of aniseed and one of sugar etc…) that you pour into your hand then into your mouth and chew. It is an effective breathmint and also cooling after the hot meals.

So far, I believe I've mostly avoided Delhi Belly, though one morning, things were a little off, but that might have been from having drunk a whole litre of Tropicana orange juice in one sitting. I was so craving a 100% fruit juice (a lot of the juice are fairly diluted here) that I drank the whole think within about 10 minutes. Probably not a good idea… But otherwise, I don't have any horror stories to relate at this point (not that I would on this blog anyway…).

Driving in India… Well, it is quite the experience, not so much with respect to danger like in Cairo, but rather because everything is so… crowded. As often as not, there are whole families on one same motorbike. This can be the first child in the front, the father driving, the younger child in the middle and the mother sitting side-saddle in the back. Typically, only the father or driver wears a helmet (probably because it is required by law…?). Rickshaws can be so full, people are standing on the ledge in the back and there are frequently people on the roofs of buses… Safety first really isn't the motto...

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This is the first country in the world where I have seen women labour in road work, construction and pretty much everything of that nature at such a high ratio (say 50%).

Spitting and urinals… Pretty much most of the men spit. I couldn't figure it out, but a large percentage chew paan (tobacco) and others just do it because of the dust/dirt in the air. Some of the women do to, but then when it is dusty, they tend to walk around with a veil covering their mouths… Not a bad idea, really. If you come to India and specifically Delhi, bring a surgical mask…

Regarding dusk in Delhi, or should I say dust… You can actually stare straight at the sun in Delhi when it is about 8 sun diameters above the horizon and do so without sun glasses as it is barely brighter than the moon. When it is about 5 diameters above the horizon, it disappears completely in the dust… Yum! So that is the grit that I'm feeling in my teeth even though I've mostly been breathing through my nose… Cough, cough...

A final interesting tidbit is that it seems that for any job that would require one person in Canada, there are 3 people doing it here. You notice it everywhere, be it the service in restaurants, in buses where there is a driver and an attendant and so on and so forth. But then, the wealth is spread thinner, but on the positive side, unemployment doesn't seem to be a big issue in India. I would also assume that work stress wouldn't be either compared to some places where through price rationalization people are let go, teams shrink, but the amount of work remains the same or increases leading to burnout… Interesting!

Posted by CVMB2010 22:19 Archived in India

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