Sunday, April 19, 2015

Days 2-4 of Family Visit

The 16th morning DH had wanted to take our visiting family out to show them Kolkata and that include some of our favorite food joints. We started this by heading over to Tiretti Bazaar to get the Chinese breakfast and we ended up having a steamed pork bun, some steamed chicken momos and friend pork ones. They were really good and then we headed over to another stall for some fish ball soup and then over to the small store that is owned by the same lady as last time. There we had purchased some prawn chips and meifoon, while DH and 2 of the family had tried the candied plums, which they had declared to be excellent.

After that we had hopped on a tram (which was something they were all keen on doing) and headed over to Dharamtala to our favorite hing kochuri restaurant called Mohan Bhandar. Here my Mom, DH and everyone else chowed down on their delicious combination of potato curry, kochuri's and the lanka on the side. We also had some lassi, singara and tea. After this we had headed back to the hotel using the metro because we had tickets to a hindi film, which everyone had pretty much slept through. However, before returning we had introduced them to the amazing filter coffee from Banana Leaf. After the movie we had planned to go to lunch at the Ballygunge branch of Kasturi, but they only had some daal with peas, shukto, alu posto and fish. We walked over to 6 Ballygunge Place, which had ended up being closed before finally landing up at Oasis on Park Street.

Here we indulged in some more Indian food, which had included some daal, chicken bharta, raita and vegetable malai kofta. This was washed down with some pickle and beer for DH and I and some garlic and cheese naan to fill in the holes. Next, we had gone over to Au Bon Pain or something like that for some coffee and then to Quest Mall. However, to get there we had jumped in some auto's that head to Park Circus so that we could freak my mom out some more (she hates the traffic!). When we were finished at the mall we all jumped on a bus headed to the hotel.

Well, on this bus my mom had a pretty typical bus experience, including a lady shoving her boobs into her personal space and someone asking her to hold her bags. My mom simply gave that lady a blank stare because she had no idea what she was saying. We ended up at the hotel and just hung out for some time.

The next day we were invited to a friends for lunch, but her mother had gotten ill so instead she invited us out for lunch. We had gone over to New Market and sat down for coffee at Raj's Spanish Cafe. Here Raj had teased my family and educated them (before I could get to it) about ignoring the hawkers in the market. When P showed up we headed over to New Market where we wanted to get some things for the family back home. Mom looked at some scarves, while B and J looked for a wall hanging for their daughter and sister back at home.

Once our shopping was complete we had plans to meet up with DH, so while we were waiting we had sat down at Blue Sky Cafe and had some fresh lime soda. We had then headed over to the Free School Street branch of Kasturi and stuffed ourselves full of good Bengali food. We had rice, daal, jackfruit with prawns, spinach, potato and eggplant vegetable, fish paturi (or steamed bhetki in a banana leaf with a mustard sauce) and much more.

We then headed over to Park Street Cemetery where P had begged to get us in for 5 minutes, where we all wandered around the area and enjoyed the time. We had then headed for coffee, again, before going to Gariahat to look for sheets and other necessities. We didn't find them and then we ended up going back to the hotel.

The next day was the elections, which was the 18th and also the last full day that they were going to be here. I had gone over around 11am, armed with my pajamas since I was planning on staying overnight. We hung out at the hotel and made plans with DH for the 2 families to meet. We had gone over to Mocambo where we met up with my MIL, FIL and SIL and had a good lunch. Most of the family (4 out of 8) had ordered some sort of the fish steak.

After, we had gone for coffee and then got MIL, FIL and SIL into a taxi headed for home, while we headed over to Gariahat to see what we could find in the way of sheets and a gift for my mom (which is from the family). However, mostly everything was still closed and we luckily found some sheets for Rs 150, which they plan on using at home as well. We were heading back to the hotel and DH had put us into an auto and the driver had probably thought that he had 4 foreigners in his vehicle. Well, I had said something in Bengali and he was so shocked he kept looking at me and almost ran into a bike. Most definitely the most hardcore reaction to my bangla skills so far.

We got back to the hotel and DH stayed for a bit before going back home leaving me behind with the family. We tried to sleep early, but I was getting hungry so J and I had gone out to pick up some Swarma salad and he ended up having some phucka and papri chaat as well. We went back and just hung out before falling asleep.

In the morning we had woken up early because they had to be to the train station and we didn't want the breakfast from the hotel. Mom and I had walked to Lake Market to pick up some fresh bananas and oranges for their train journey in the afternoon and some other crackers. We had gone back over to Banana Leaf for breakfast and there DH met us. He had flagged us down 2 taxi's and off to Howrah we went.

However, the heat was unbearable in the main terminal and my brother, J, had started to feel ill. We sat down on the ground while we waited for the train to arrive and when it did we promptly hopped on. we got them situated and in their proper seats, with DH also asking the younger man to change seats with mom because she was older.

The train took off at the right time and then DH and I went over to our normal pub for some snacks and beer to help us cool down and relax before coming home for some naps. They return back to Kolkata on the 25th morning and we'll spend some more time seeing the sites before taking them back to the airport in the evening.

So far I've been having fun, but am simply exhausted from running around in this intense heat!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Day 1 of Family Visit

Well...today was day 1 of the family visiting. Initially the flight was scheduled to come in around 10am, but had been changed. So, I arrived at the airport today and picked them up before taking them to the guesthouse. Once there everyone freshened up and we went to get lunch at one of our favorite places. We had ordered rumali roti, paneer butter masala, chicken bharta and some navratana korma. They kept saying "this is soooooo good" lol

Then we wandered around before purchasing tickets to go to the movies tomorrow, which was the one thing that my brother had asked to do. We have plans to get up early, I mean at 5am to go to the Chinese Breakfast and all that before the movie. I am simply exhausted, but watching my mom's face all day was fun and hilarious.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Family and other news...

Sorry I've been away for so long...but some good news! I have family visiting next month. It's kinda stressful because my mom is coming and she's never traveled internationally before, except to Mexico for a day and to Canada, which according to Americans don't count!!!

Thankfully she is traveling with a friend and her son, whom are both seasoned and experienced travelers. This means I should have more stories for you sometime next month about their experiences and mine. I'm currently looking at some of the fun things (also, cheap) to do in the city...so if there are any ideas let me know! So far I want to take them to New Market, Tiretti Bazaar for some good Chinese food, a friend has invited us over for lunch...so ideas please!

We still don't have a cook...so DH and I are still doing the cooking for us, which means lunch is maggi quite often and sandwiches, but that's ok. Also, I managed to cook some tok daal or sour mango daal for us the other night, which came out really good considering it was my first attempt ever. I can also make a mean egg curry, which DH loves.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

My apologies...

I'm sorry I've been absent from the blog for so long, but the last few months have been pretty chaotic! First we came back from our week long trip to the Dooars, or the jungle and then jumped right back into life head first. That meant DH was back to work and I was doing whatever I normally do, which includes the shopping and whatnot for the household.

Also, for the last 6-9 months (I'm not really sure how long now...) our normal cook has been out of work because of severe illness with her kidneys. Well, that meant for the first few months that DH and SIL were doing the majority of the cooking for everyone and I was doing the shopping. All fine and dandy, and then the cook comes back for around a month.

After she comes back she again has a relapse and it was then that she told MIL that the doctor had originally told her not to work for at least 6 months. Well, now, she's not. We've gone through around 3 cooks in less than 1 month and all of them were horrible. DH preferred to cook for himself and the same with SIL and we paid the cook her monthly salary for just making rice and maybe one vegetable dish! Insane!

Now...we are back to having no cook and everyone is fending for themselves. It's crazy, but it's life. I hope to blog more often and I have to remember to do so! Everyone keep emailing me and telling me you're missing me if I'm gone for too long.

Monday, April 21, 2014

PNPC Bengali Style Part 1

I'm starting a new series called PNPC Bengali Style (PNPC means poro ninda, poro charcha, or roughly translates to Gossiping and Bitching about others) for the odd random things I hear around town.

The other day I was swimming and this random lady (RL) comes up to me and this is how the conversation went.

RL : Are you Indian?
Me : No, I'm American.
RL : Where are you from in the US?
Me : New York
RL : What do you do here?
Me : I'm married to a Bengali.
RL : What's his name?
Me : Told her DH's name
RL : Really? I am a Sengupta too! We're in the same caste.
Me : (thinking in my head) Lady...I don't really care about caste...you're mad!

Seriously?! It's a good thing I didn't let on that I speak bangla too! I came home and told this to DH and he just about busted up laughing and had a huge ole grin stuck on his face for some time!

Swimming is going good, I'm sore and that's a good thing, as it tells me I'm pushing myself instead of just letting myself "get by" with the bare minimum effort.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Swimming adventures

So, in an effort to get some exercise (and within the standards that are allowed by my knees) I decided to start swimming. I wanted to this last year, but then I was informed that all of the swimming "clubs" had stopped taking applications. This year I made extra sure to get my application in on time. The club I chose was Anderson, or ILSS, since some of our goods friends are members there.

I got the application on the 10th (cost 60 rupees / $1) and had to hand it in on the 18th. I had to give 2 passport photos and have a doctor "sign" my medical release. This meant I went to the club's doctor and paid him 25 rupees (50 cents) and he just signed the paper. I handed it in and paid my Rs 2000 ($33.39) and was given a receipt and told to come back on the 18th for my ID card.

At this point, I also had to purchase a suit from them since they require that all suits have the 'ILSS' logo or else they won't be allowed in the pool. Plus a retarded looking shower cap with ties...yeah, I'm sure we all look pretty sexy.

The pool is divided into 2 sections (length wise) and separated by some sprinklers that shoot up, so that the kids that are learning to swim don't get run over. Otherwise the other half of the pool is up for grabs and most people swim laps.

So, I've learned (after 2 days of swimming) that is going to be easier on me if I start to just wear my suit to the pool and change after, since there is always a rush for the bathroom for showers and changing. I also learned the 1st day that I should get out a few minutes early in order to have the bathroom free so I don't have to wait in line to change into dry clothes.

Anyways, back to today. I'm sitting on the bench waiting patiently for my turn to change. Next to me is this older lady who all of a sudden takes off her salwar bottoms. I'm thinking okay, she's just getting ready to go to the bathroom to change. Then I realize you can see her panties and I'm like grossed out. So...next thing I know she's draping her upper body with her dupatta and then all of a sudden the suit is going up the legs and the kurta is coming off. Thankfully she's still covered with her dupatta, and bam! She's changed. Mind you the room is full of small girls...no boys, but still? Come on lady!

Then across the room I see this other lady pulling off her pants. Fine, her kurta covers her butt and all so no wardrobe malfunctions. Then I saw her holding up her pants and carefully pulling her panties out of the pants. Yuck!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Well, DH and I just came back from a lovely week in the Dooars (jungles of West Bengal)along with some friends. I'll post about the trip in a day or so, seeing as we are still recovering from the attack of allergies and congestion that converged upon us when we arrived back in polluted Kolkata! :)