Wednesday, 28 March 2012

These are our antics.

Matt, Larissa, Justin, Anna, Judy, Nate + I - finally some kiwi's to relate to!
Kate look! Exciting to pull this screen out of the archives here at FS, when I know who it was for!
Trying to sort out trains to Puri for Easter (unfortunately, we now have to ditch that idea for now, due to trains being fully booked...).
The boys rescuing the last roll of toilet paper from the back of the cupboard at the flat - desperate times call for desperate measures!
Yummy Amul milk + Taj Mahal tea.
I love these letter boxes.
Just another hot, unchanging day.
Kfc at Mani Square mall after church on Sunday - pretty average to be honest. But then again, I have never been the biggest fan. Epic Virgin Mojito drink though.
This Auto driver was so frustrating. He kept stopping way too frequently, and waited each time to see if anyone needed a ride. They didn't.
Just an average day in Kolkata.
These are some of the belongings of street-vendors/street people.
I think it would be awesome to be able to carry something like that on my head.
On the day when the women weren't at work, I felt it was a good time to break out more Western clothing! Although walking to-and-from work needed the shawl...
Started soaking some dried beans! They soaked for a good 24 hours.... 
And ended up looking like someone took a dump in a bowl. You know you were thinking it! But seriously, I nursed these beans for a day, boiled them twice, and cooked them. But they were still hard!!!! Just not fair.
Hint - when making chilli, add cocoa powder  + cinnamon... it is so good!
My stash of muesli and masala tea. Yum yum yum.
A statue at Victoria Memorial half completed in charcoal...
...and a while later, finished!
Cute. Erika left us a message before she went to a different part of West Bengal.
My snack at work - dried cornflakes!
AND FINALLY.... here it is! The porcelain squatter that we have in our flat! I know that a lot of you have been wondering whether there is just a hole in the floor, or if we were to accidentally step into it, would we stand in poo? But no. It is basically a western toilet, just set into the floor... but you don't sit down...
To be honest, I have almost fallen over on a couple of occasions, mostly in the middle of the night when I am half asleep. Too much information? Nah, you all know you are curious. And jealous of my muscular legs.
This skirt makes me feel tonnes better in the heat.

One of the funniest (but potentially dangerous) events occurred yesterday... when Anna and I left the flat in the morning, Judy said she would be a bit late, so we left without her. Only we were so in the habit of padlocking our door, we accidentally locked her in!... It wasn't until we came home at lunch that we realised what had happened, as we had assumed she still was not feeling too well and had decided not to come in. She had tried to call me, but my phone was on silent, so she ended up trying to put a dvd on to keep herself occupied, but didn't know how to work it!! Poor thing. She was in hysterics laughing when we got home - she had been so excited to tell us what had happened!


The weather has increased again this week, up at 38 degrees, but there are supposed to be thunderstorms this weekend which I am super excited for!

Despite the heat, Anna, Judy and I cranked out the Bollywood Dance workout dvd (haha!!), and had a great time giving our stomach muscles a decent work out from laughing so much.

Our flat is still deciding our plans for easter weekend, we were going to go to Puri to swim at the beach, but all of the trains are booked! So we might head to a resort here in Kolkata with a pool, and nice gardens. Not too sure yet.

Anna and I are trying to also decide on our destination for our visa run in August (which is unfortunately also the middle of monsoon), and our two main options are Nepal or Bhutan. Nepal sounds awesome, but photos of Bhutan are just breathtaking! Only catch is that you have to pay US$200 a day for a tour package, so right now this option is off limits to us... so it looks like Nepal will be our destination, but I am going to keep investigating!

One of the boys purchased a grill today, and cannot stop thinking about cranking it out and testing it! The flat has also bought a share in a wheel of real cheese! It is currently being bathed, looked after, and aged by one of our friends. Hopefully by the start of next week we will be able to have it as a treat.

Well, that is pretty much all I have to say today, except I want to say Happy Birthday to Joseph (my brother) for the Sunday just been, and also to Larissa K, who turns 21 today! (Thursday). Sorry I can't be there for either of you! Much love to you both.


Saturday, 24 March 2012

My week.


So I haven't updated for a week now, so I will try and give you a run-down about how it has been, and the events that have occurred.

Monday - I made a couple of quiches for three of us (the other three out of the city for the weekend), followed by hot banana cake... yumm.

At about 5.30pm, K took myself and Judy through Sonagacchi. I wasn't prepared for what I was about to see. I didn't think that in the evening light, there would already be so many girls standing in a line, waiting for a drunken man to stumble to their madames, to request their service, instead of returning home to their wives. I didn't like to see young women for sale, as a product presented on a shelf. I didn't like watching a man grab at a girl. And I didn't like seeing a beautiful young girl leading a man to her room.

We had about 3-4 power cuts this morning, (you can tell when you are asleep, as you wake up as the room warms up because the fan stops), and our gas ran out... so bread and nutella for breakfast because we couldn't toast it. First world problem much? Today was super humid compared to the previous days, and around 37 degrees, plus the AC wasn't working in our office (and we have no windows, or ability to refresh our air), so it felt like a sauna. And as everyone loves to tell us, it is only going to get worse. I also was able to skype Larissa and Lydia today! Woo!

We have gas! And today was a tad cooler. The boys cooked a scrambled-egg vege fry-up for lunch, which was super yummy. Today I also started a Pinterest.

I woke up this morning, and felt a bit chilled. Was so lovely, and I even had to turn the fan down a notch! Had a noisy chorus of puja-bells, tin-banging worship (literally), and horn-blowing to rise to...
Today was quiet at work, because none of the women were there, as there were no new orders. I feel bad in saying it, but it was nice, because it was calm and quiet, and I could get on with my work without being interrupted. For dinner we had a kiwi couple over to eat egg-rolls, biryani, and chow-mein with us, and we stayed up chatting and laughing, and sharing different stories.

Was quiet again, but we have orders now! Woo! So I was just processing the designs and screens ready for when the women return to work on Monday.
We also have started thinking about what we will do over easter - we are considering travelling to a beach, maybe in Puri which will take an overnight train to get there, but apparently it is beautiful... if you avoid the end of it which the fishermen use as their toilet.

I think I will just be taking a chance to chill out, relax, and get a bit creative for the rest of the afternoon.

Hope everyone is well, and isn't getting too cold down there!

Oh, and my hair is still pink.


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Take me to the place I dream of...

Before reading this post, play this song alongside it - it is as close to India as some of you may come! Plus, it ties into what I will talk about...
What little kid is going to want to put his rubbish in this?
I mean, how much does this make you scared to fall asleep?
I think it is so pretty how the rain has marked these fences.
Ta da! Victoria Memorial!
Shes's a beaut'.
Hahahaha this is Justin and Reggie (our un-invited, but persistent tour guide, looking for a way to get a cold drink).
So beautiful! You can see Anna in the foreground... just.
Look everyone - a real cloud! In Kolkata!!
The view from inside the museum, from the second-floor balcony.
A pretty grand entrance, I must say.
I love this photo. What I don't love is that it reminds me of the man/boy standing a few feet to the side of me, blatantly with his cell-phone in my face taking a photo of me. This happened a lot this day... and we even had to pose with a few Indian families, because they were excited to have a photo with white people for some reason. I wonder who those photos will be shown to...
I am amazed at how detailed this is!
Queen Vic, perched upon her throne.
Ah! We were definitely there are the right time of day!
So... breathtaking...
Hungry hungry hippo...
On Sunday, Justin, Anna and I went to Victoria Memorial Gardens and Museum - so beautiful, and definitely a place I will hold dear to my heart as a place I felt peace here in Kolkata.

We spent a good few hours in the afternoon here, wandering around, taking photos, having stalkerish photos taken of us, marveling at the beauty of the building and its contents... such a nice way to end the week (or start, depends how you look at it). To finish off, we grabbed a cold Sprite/Fanta, and sat in the garden watching teeny-tiny and huge bats flying around. For once I didn't feel so stared at - it was so peaceful sitting there, sipping at our drinks, listening to the music playing through speakers throughout the garden, and watching the evening erase the light from the sky... To me the music was the most amazing part, it made something inside of me stir - it was enchanting, and I immediately began to day dream of a time when Kolkata was a thriving and regal city; I pretty much felt like I was in a scene from Aladdin (a child's dream come true!). This is where the song at the start of this post comes in...
This image is a photograph of the scene they have set up inside the memorial - the people are all life-size figurines, with real objects etc - it made me feel like I had stepped into the time of India I so wish I could have seen.
It was a magical day for me.