QUICK SUMMARY OF FIRST FEW DAYS

September 30, 2015

QUICK SUMMARY OF FIRST FEW DAYS

India Blog 2015 #3  September 30, 2015

FINALLY RELAXING IN MY HOME FOR THE NEXT THREE MONTHS

FINALLY RELAXING IN MY HOME FOR THE NEXT THREE MONTHS

After a hectic couple of days after arriving, I can now relax into this wonderful place which will be my home for the next few months

The weather is much hotter than seasonally expected, keeping me from my walks the past couple of days, and since I choose my room to suit me during the cooler, and even colder weeks, a room with plenty of sun and warmth, it is quite difficult right now.  And since there is no AC anywhere to speak of, I continue to seek out the coolest places to sit, and be, during various times of the day.

I am now in this lovely haven downstairs, at almost 5 PM, enjoying the cool shady quiet…writing these posts

PERFECT PLACE FOR WRITING

PERFECT PLACE FOR WRITING

My room is fine once the sun goes down and sleeping is even cool with the mountain breeze, but during the day, it is difficult to really enjoy being there….this should all pass in a week or so

I’ve just been flowing with things as they go…the second day I actually DID go down for a walk, thinking it would be OK, but after making it down to Laxman Jhula, after resting for awhile at the German Bakery,

SIGN IN THE BATHROOM AT GERMAN BAKERY LAXMAN JHULA

SIGN IN THE BATHROOM AT GERMAN BAKERY LAXMAN JHULA

I had to return home and getting back up to Swiss Cottage was not easy.  So I’ve sworn off walking around during the day.  Will try tomorrow at 6 AM…

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COLORS CROSSING THE GANGA

COLORS CROSSING THE GANGA

First day out , I just went to see some friends and do my shopping with free delivery of basic things I needed in my room….

Second day, I decided, during the walk I thought to take, to buy something to wear to a couple of weddings I have coming up….and that was the best part of the day as the clothing shop, Fab India, was air conditioned.  More expensive than I usually buy, as I usually go down to the market, buy fabric and then have it stitched by a tailor… but worth the price just to be able to easily try on clothing in the coolness of the shop.

FAB INDIA

FAB INDIA

I’ve been eating well…what a joy to be able to eat whatever I want whenever I want, without having to prepare it myself,….

…had three massages which were wonderful, met some lovely people, and of course have been spending time with dear friends….

Looking forward to the more reasonable weather, but using this time as “enforced” rest time….probably what I need at the moment anyway.

Hope to have much more interesting photos once I can walk around more….and of course much more interesting things to write about.

I am loving the “boring” time at the moment….just what the doctor ordered for me….

Be back soon

Namaste

With love light and JOY

Jane

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Freedom to Vacation- Redecorating, Movie Shoot and Other Adventures – Nov 12 2012

November 15, 2012

Freedom to Vacation- Redecorating, Movie Shoot and Other Adventures –  Nov 12 2012

Today is the first day I am beginning my day with no thought of panchakarma.  I officially finished yesterday after deciding the the doctor to cut it short by 3 days and begin my recuperation period before heading home.

APPLE CRUMBLE

I still have 3 “fun massages” coming to me later on, just before I go home which I can still take advantage of  if I choose to.

The sense of freedom , of having no responsibilities, of there being nothing I “have” to do (even though everything I was doing was for my own benefit), makes me feel almost giddy with joy.

I now sit at the Pundir restaurant, the weather much cooler than even last week, although the sun is still  beautifully warm.  I am waiting for my paneer parantha. Yesterday I ate pasta – TWICE- and am already feeling my strength come back.  Although fruits and veggies and of course kitcheri are the healthiest foods for me – my comfort food-my soul food- is carbohydrates.  Breads, pasta, anything doughy.  And as Dr. Arora always reminds me – this is not cheating – cravings come from a soul level and if the soul is denied what it needs – the body will never be completely healthy.  So now I will be taking good care of my soul until the cravings end – probably around 3-4 days from previous experience. (today is actually the 15th-and I no longer crave these things!)

Not quite as energized as I imagined but just feeling wonderful being out.  Had this dream of “redecorating” using colored pillows and a throw on my sofa.  And today finally was able to these things.  Took me ages to choose with so many to choose from but think I will be happy when I get it all home.

DIFFICULT CHOICES-HUNDREDS TO CHOOSE FROM

PILLOW SHOP

MY PURCHASE-CAN’T WAIT TO SEE IT AT HOME ON MY SOFA

 

But I am not a good shopper and am now exhausted.  Not ready to eat yet so sitting on a bench just next to Laxman Jhula bridge watching the sights of local tourist groups going by with their guides. Will relax here for awhile.  Lovely breeze coming up off the Ganga- Most refreshing!

TOURISTS LISTENING TO GUIDE’S EXPLANATIONS

Went up for a snack and had lovely apple crumble, (shown above) but was really tired.  Rested for a long time and finally made it up to my place.  Not before watching a film or TV series being filmed on the street.

FILM CREW

DIRECTOR COMING OVER TO GIVE DIRECTIONS TO ACTOR

DIRECTOR AND ACTOR

PRACTICING SCENE

GETTING READY TO SHOOT

“LIGHTS!”

ACTION

Home at last, tired but happy.

Namaste from Rishikesh


A Day in The Market-Photo Post-Nov 4 2012

November 6, 2012

A Day in The Market-Photo Post

Had to go into the Market yesterday to take care of some errands (most of which were unsuccessful), but there are always interesting things to see wherever we are and whatever we are doing, so will just share a few photos with you. enjoy!

Rishikesh Vegetable Market

fast food snacks in rishikesh market

Market Traffic

happy couple

 

Namaste from Rishikesh

Jane


To Cook or Not to Cook-That is the Question!

September 19, 2012

…and the answer is NOT TO COOK!!

This sounds very cryptic I know, but is quite simple.  Every year for the past number of years I have set up a kind of very simple kitchen system to be able to cook in my room while in India.

Good enough to Eat

In a previous post I explained the reasons for taking a room and setting up a primitive sort of kitchen , rather than a full apartment with kitchen, as follows:

My first “kitchen”

”  The limited kitchen as a blessing: I sometimes find myself annoyed that I don’t have a real kitchen and have to improvise to prepare my simple meals. And I am very limited in what I can cook, as I have one pot and one frying pan, [the past two years I have added a pressure cooker which is a BIG plus ]  

no counter top, no kitchen sink (I have finally figured out how to best wash my dishes using the bathroom facilities), and basically all I can cook is kitcheri, vegetable soup, pasta, porridge, pancakes, eggs, grilled cheese or toast with tahini, hot drinks…I cannot make anything more ambitious even if I want to, including chapattis and paranthas. And even these few simple things involve great planning and thinking things out before beginning to actually cook them. Measuring out of ingredients, peeling, chopping etc., in advance outdoors,

Veggies ready for cutting up outside on the terrace table

making sure each thing is lined up on the table to be put into the pot which is on the gas balloon which sits on the floor and which I either squat over or sit in a chair to stir. I’ve gotten very good at all this actually and no longer find it difficult in any way.

And then I realized that these limitations are a true blessing.

I usually sit in the chair but a friend caught me one morning like this!

Knowing myself, if I had a comfortable working kitchen, I would spend a lot more time cooking as I did when I had a kitchen in Mcleodganj several years ago. And that involves shopping each day,

Local Provisions Shop (not including fruits and veggies)

carrying the heavy stuff home, spending money on expensive ingredients, spending LOTS of time in the kitchen making all kinds of lovely dishes, and even inviting people in for dinner a few times a week. And this is NOT what I want while I am here. I want things as quiet and simple as possible and being limited in my kitchen facilities, guarantees that things are kept to the bare minimum and as simple as possible while still being able to cook twice a day for myself. So, for me, no kitchen is actually better. ”

my second ‘Improved” kitchen

I have always enjoyed being able to cook these simple meals for myself however, and since I began using a pressure cooker a couple of years ago, it has gotten even easier.  I can now make steamed veggies in 1/2 minute!!  Kitcheri, delicious vegetable soup with lentils in less than 10 minutes etc.

But cooking still does involve work.  Especially getting everything set up when I first arrive.  It takes a couple of days and lots of energy, and then the same energy to get it all packed up and back into storage before I leave.  And of course the shopping for ingredients, the cleaning up after cooking, etc.

Since I will only be in India for 6 weeks total this time, not my usual several months, I have been contemplating the wisdom of going to all this bother this trip.  On the one hand, I love the option of preparing food for myself when I feel like it, and having the freedom not to have to go out to eat all the time…but most of this trip I will be on my special panchakarma diet anyway (which I will write about at a later date), and the big plus is being able to make my own vegetable (with a larger variety than the restaurants would prepare for me), or even having a good rich vegetable soup once in awhile. And of course there is nothing to compare to the porridge I make myself with apples, cinnamon, raisins and almonds,but I will “make do” with the restaurant version for the month.  On the other hand, I will be needing the time to rest and take care of myself as much as possible, and cooking during this period of time is usually on a very limited basis for me anyway.  I do most of my cooking before and after my month long treatments…and that’s when I enjoy it mainly.

My vegetable plates will not be as exciting this year!

So, after much contemplation of the pros and cons, this morning I came to the final decision, that this trip will be TOTAL vacation.  No cooking, no shopping, no cleaning up, no setting up and repacking before I go home etc.  If I want a larger variety of veggies in my daily vegetable plate, I will provide the kitchen with them myself !!  And if I need my kitcheri heated up in the evening, I will ask the kitchen to do that for me as well.   And if I REALLY feel the need for vegetable soup, I will go down to my friend’s house and cook it there, making up a large pot for her and her family as well!!  🙂

I am pleased with this decision and happy that it has finally been made.  Takes another “load off my mind”!  🙂

Namaste

Jane


Faces of India Part 5 – People at Work-What is Your Job?

August 30, 2012

People at Work in India

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Hope you will enjoy the following photos.  Many of these jobs are found all over the world, but might look a little different or be done a little differently  in India, and some of these jobs are found ONLY in India.  🙂

bicycle rickshaw- Sooooo Indian

Only in India! -change maker for beggars

main ghat veg market varanassi-everything so fresh and beautiful to look at

tailor

Tailor

sugar cookie vendor-found on the streets in the afternoon in time for Tea-the cookies are yummy!

Making a Sweet Drink from Raw Sugar Cane-Very often Long lines at these vendors

snake charmer

snack vendors-so colorful

snack vendor

Sari Merchant – It is Always Men selling these-as well as fabric in the following photo

Fabric Shop – Most women’s clothes are still made to order and one of a kind in India-although ready made and chain stores are beginning to make inroads with the spread of Malls

PLUMBER-let me figure this one out

electrician at work using Indian ingenuity for problem solving on the job

main ghat veg market-varanassi-everything so fresh and beautiful to look at

Cooking my morning porridge at local restaurant

Chai Walla

fruit stand

Fruit Vendor

Provision Shop

yoga instructor


Changing India-Impressions from a Delhi Mall

April 4, 2011

Impressions from a Delhi Mall

I visited a friend in Delhi and she decided our first stop on our day out in town would be a local mega mall, which had just opened up a new section which even she hadn’t seen.  She is a shopaholic and her greatest pleasure is “shop until you drop”.

The Mall was everything a Mall should be and more, and this was, I was told, the SMALLEST of the malls in Delhi.

I expected it to be empty but it was full of people shopping, eating etc. You can see some photos on the facebook link as well.

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=281708&id=547896544&l=d212f45e57

The only thing which would make you realize you are in India are the products being sold in the department store.  In addition to the regular western clothing and housewares, there are local items to be found as well. I love the photo of the jeans and saris on racks right next to each other, which is a true testament to the changing India!

Jeans and Saris - India -the New and the Old Existing Side by Side

and of course the buckets which are still used for bathing in many homes.

and of course the local dress still worn by a majority of women.

or the incense sold in the supermarket on a shelf called “pooja needs” (items for religious ceremonies)

To give credit where credit is due, environmental awareness is high in India, and the supermarkets no longer use ANY plastic bags.  Goods are packed into locally sewn cloth bags which can be reused, and they are free!

We walked around until I was ready to drop- literally, and than had lunch in a lovely franchise place called Chilies (I think) and the food was delicious, but expensive for India – and yet the place was FULL of people taking a food break while out shopping.

The toilets were also modern and beautiful as befits a fancy mall

– but note that even though the toilets are western style, a hose for washing instead of using toilet paper is still provided in the stalls!

or the women carrying their purchases on their heads!

–remember more photos available at facebook LINK

Namaste

Jane


March 15-17- Journey Home via Delhi

April 3, 2011

March 15-17- Journey Home via Delhi

Driving from rishikesh to delhi by taxi, for the first time in the day time.  In March….

It is hot, the windows are open (no AC), it is dusty, I am dirty, I am sweaty, and the trip despite the new “super highway”, (every type of vehicle known in India can be found on this road and you can see them on the facebook LINK: Aside from the poor condition of most of the roads, these vehicles are probably the main reason why a 250 km journey takes AT LEAST 5 hours and can be as long as 7.  If you hit top speed, about 80 kph, you might travel like that for 5 minutes at a time.  Average speed is between 40-60 kph for most of the journey

vehicles on super highway

is interminable – I am tired.  We just stopped at cheetal (more later or in another post),

Cheetal Rest Stop

but for the first time since arriving in India, I FEEL like I am in India…

I left Rishikesh this morning after saying a sad goodbye to my dear friends here,

Me with Seema and Ashish

but God willing, we will see each other again next year. And then, into a taxi for the journey to another friend’s house in Delhi.

Actually, I am sitting in the taxi trying to make the time pass, and I am connected to the Internet with my netstik!  This is really cool!!   On the one hand, at night, I doze on and off and the time goes by.  On the other hand, traveling during the day, despite it being more difficult, lets me see sights I would not see while traveling at night. As usual, you can see all the photos on the facebook link:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=281695&id=547896544&l=14d56f320d
(there will be several different photo links in this post, so check them all out if you feel like it!)

We finally made it to Delhi, and then the driver, despite speaking to my friend on the phone several times, still spent 1 ½ hours being lost!

By the time I got where I had to be, I was beyond tired, hot and dirty!  But arriving here, was like being given an injection of “new life”.

I absolutely cannot describe to you what my friend calls her “farm house”.  It is an enormous estate owned by a billionaire Dutch business family, and it is well beyond anything I could ever imagine. . Twenty two gardeners are needed on a daily basis just to take care of the grounds! I have taken some photos, but know that this will also not give justice to this paradise located in South Delhi, in an area called Dera Mandi.  It could be anywhere in the world, and would still be beyond anything I could describe.

Main House on Estate

Sunset over Estate

I was first given the grand tour of both the vegetable gardens, (see photos on Face book LINK:)

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=281695&id=547896544&l=14d56f320d

and then the estate,  and then went back to shower and “make myself human” again.  After that, I was given an early dinner (as my hosts did not eat until well after 9 PM and I really had to get to sleep.  I was served a wonderful, simple meal, all directly from the gardens, and am sure I will forget something, but it included first of all, a lovely vegetable salad of sliced veggies, some partially cooked to make them edible (like the potatoes), and others just fresh:  3 kinds of sweet peppers, beets, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, very tiny potatoes, sweet peas, tomatoes, and more which I don’t remember..;.should have taken a photo but I was too tired by then to care about anything but eating and going to sleep.

I was then served delicious palak paneer (spinach – from the garden and Indian homemade cheese), wonderful dahl full of fresh coriander and fenugreek and parsley, chapattis also made with fresh herbs in the dough and covered in homemade ghee, and a delicious veggie dish of cabbage and sweet peas gently cooked together in ghee.  Rice of course (curiously made in the microwave) …it was sublime.

I went to sleep shortly after and to my surprise slept a full 12 hours!  Luckily I have my earplugs, because if I didn’t, the horrible squawking sounds of the peacocks would have kept me awake all night I think! I guess their beauty ends with their colorful feathers…

Peacock on Estate's Tennis Court

Woke this morning to a warm day, and now sit waiting for my friend to finish work so we can go into delhi for the afternoon.

I was served a breakfast of papaya (from their own trees), fresh coconut milk and the thinnest, most amazing stuffed potato (aloo) parantha I have EVER been served anywhere.

I know this day out in delhi will be exhausting, but it will also be fun being in town with my local friend, rather than as a tourist.  And I will still have time to rest before my flight…I have to be at the airport at 3 in the morning so will be leaving here at 1:30 AM.

More later I guess.

It is now 10 days later, to my dismay, but finally have gotten back to this.  My arrival home precluded my doing anything as “trivial” as blogging, but I am hoping that I will remember everything I wanted to write about the day in Delhi and the trip home.

We left for the city in her SUV vehicle with driver, which was a great luxury as she didn’t have to worry about parking every time we stopped someplace, or she wanted me to look at something along the way. It was also air conditioned and truth be told, was TOO cold for me!!

She lives in South delhi and while driving into the city we past the CChatapurTemple which was amazingly beautiful but closed, so I could only see it from outside.

Chatapur Temple Delhi

Me and Hanuman from Outside the Closed Temple

Hanuman The Monkey God Chatapur Temple Delhi

Vedic Aymbol Chatapur Temple

She finally decided that my first stop, before she did her shopping, would be a local mega mall, which had just opened up a new section which even she hadn’t seen.  She is a shopaholic and her greatest pleasure is “shop until you drop”.  .  IT is really not my thing but I couldn’t disappoint her, gracious hostess that she was (I have one daughter who would LOVE to spend a day with her!!).

Sitting area inside Mall

The changes in India are felt even more so in the cities, and Delhi is THE city to see change.  The cars are one example. Up until a couple of years ago one saw old cars and many many Ambassador cars on the road.  Now you have to really search to find an Ambassador, and the road is full of every type of new car you can imagine…Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus,Honda Civic, BMW, Mercedes, Chevrolet, and assorted chauffered cars where the drivers hold umbrellas open for the madam so the sun won’t get on her face.  The streets are clean, the roads improved, but still congested and Indian “rules of the road” still apply!  The busses are all new, European models, low to the ground for easy access, digital signs proclaiming destinations, AC of course and quite lovely to see.  The bus stops are also clean and neat.  And then everywhere, you see the Metro running.  The stations, at least from my viewpoint below, look beautiful, with large parking lots full of cars.  I have not had the opportunity of riding the metro yet.

The Mall was everything a Mall should be and more, and this was, I was told, the SMALLEST of the malls in Delhi. Please see the next post which will be entirely about my impressions from the Mall. It is worth a separate post and gives further insights into the changing as well as traditional aspects of life in India. But for now you can see photos at this LINK:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=281708&id=547896544&l=d212f45e57

We finished there, back to the driver and then my friend took care of her own business.  Some of it personal, some of it as estate manager (which is the reason she lives in her house on the estate!).  To purchase flowers for the main house, we went to the flower market which was beautiful, but many people forbade me from taking pictures of their wares – don’t know why, but THIS PHOTO will give you some idea of how beautiful it was.  You can again, see lots more on the facebook LINK

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=281695&id=547896544&l=14d56f320d

View of Flower Market

Back home, again, dinner by myself which was uncomfortable, but necessary so I could sleep for a few hours before leaving for my flight.

Because of this rest, and good food, before flying home, my flight home was probably the easiest I’ve ever had and I really was blessed to be able to do it this way

The new departure lounge is everything a modern international airport should be, and more, but once again, I did not take photos.  If you want to see it, you will have to come to India!!

From the plane I saw my LAST SUNRISE over India for this trip….

Last Sunrise Over India from Plane

I’m going to end this here so that I can begin posting it in the hope that it will finally reach you.

I had thought to write about the Cheetal Rest Stop as well, with it’s amazing flowers which change with the seasons, but I will simply post the photos on facebook as well and let you see for yourself.

Cheetal Flower Photo Link – worth viewing:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=281705&id=547896544&l=861eee8adc

Too bad this is now off the main highway, and not easy to reach.  Don’t think I will be making this stop in the future.  It adds a good ½ hour onto the travel time between delhi and rishikesh, and as beautiful as it may be, and as tasty as the food is, and as clean as the toilets are, when I am traveling that many hours, I would prefer not adding that extra time .

It has been a wonderful journey, and being home now, makes me appreciate it even more.  I am happy to be where I am now, but am grateful for the few months of personal time I was so lovingly given.  I am truly blessed!

Namaste

Jane


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