Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Good-bye's

Now, the goodbye wasn't all that hard, we had arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare. However, we weren't allowed in the airport so we had to say our good-byes outside. I gave B and J a hug and told them it was great to see them and in B's case so nice to finally meet her after hearing so much about her, she's my other mother. :)

Well, DH had also hugged them and Mom, but I was the last and she kept hugging me repeatedly with each one getting longer and longer. She had then started to cry and I just kept smiling, or trying to at least. However, the more she cried the more I teared up and the dams had almost broke loose, but then I had decided that I didn't want her to see me crying. DH had pulled me to his side and we stood there together smiling so that Mom could see us like that. Mom was crying so hard that even the security guard had asked what was wrong with her. DH had simply told him nothing was wrong, just that she was seeing off her daughter.

I was so tired, emotionally, physically and mentally it was all I could do to jump on the volvo and come home. Here I was talking with some friends about it and broke down for all of 2 minutes because crying wasn't going to help. I missed her more than I did before she came to visit. However, thankfully it won't be another 7 years before we see each other again because she's already planning her next trip and she hopes to bring all of my siblings along. God, heaven help me if that happens because it'll be chaos!!!!

Boycotting the Indian Museum

My family and I had planned to go to the Indian Museum, which I thought would be something they would enjoy. Having gotten in on an Indian ticket before and adverse to paying the foreigner price since I live here, I had asked the guy at the desk for 3 foreigner tickets and 1 Indian. However, he wouldn't give them to me and had asked a security guard, who had then taken me to talk to the Education officer, who goes by the name of Sayan Bhattacharya. He refused to let me in on an Indian ticket because, get this, BECAUSE I DIDN'T HAVE AN INDIAN PASSPORT. Despite all of my paperwork that I carry with me (marriage certificate, resident permit, DH's passport) I still was being refused the Indian ticket. I had tried to reason with him, but he wouldn't listen. Therefore I had told my family that I wasn't going to go, but they could go if they wanted.

However, they decided to stay with me because it wasn't the Rs 150 that was the big deal, I would have paid that, but it was the fact that I a *RESIDENT* of the city for 6 years couldn't get in on an Indian ticket. This essentially means that the government just wants to make money out of me because they think I make USD, which isn't the case since I don't even work! Anyways, I told this to DH and we are planning on filing a RTI (right to information) to figure out exactly where we stand on this.

End of the Visit and Hyderabad

Well...the family left on the 25th and thank goodness I had some recuperation time before I was required to do anything else. We had 2 more days, which was nice because we were able to spend more time together. We had mostly just hung out and Mom had taken us out for lunch to Tangra (me, DH and J, while B stayed back at the hotel). We had introduced them to misti doi (sweetened yogurt) the night they returned and their first question was why we hadn't given it to them before?!? They fell in love with it and needless to say J requested one more round before leaving, plus a recipe.

Well...we had met up early on the 25th since they had to be to the airport that night and they wanted to visit the Mother House. We arrived 2 minutes late since they close at 12, so we didn't get to see the museum or anything, but we did see her tomb. I silently sat on a bench while they did their thing because I don't see her in the same way, but that's something else all together.

Right before this my friends had been messaging me on WhatsApp asking if we were alright because of the earthquake tremors. We were like, wait? what? earthquake tremors? Well, needless to say we didn't feel any of them. We had decided we would go to Indian Museum and we grabbed a taxi and went, however, when I tried to get in with an Indian ticket I wasn't allowed (but that will be it's own blog post). We decided to boycott the museum since I live here and was against paying the foreigner fee to get in. So we had waited for the rain to go down a bit and went to Park Street and had some cold drinks.

We had then grabbed the metro and went to meet DH at the Indian Coffee House for lunch. We had lunch and DH and I drank some coffee and then headed back to the hotel. It was raining, so we wanted to get there early. We had to take 2 taxis to the airport, so DH had gone with J, who talked the whole time I'm told. So we get to the airport and see them off. (I'll write more about the good-bye in a few minutes)

They had then landed in Hyderabad where they got a taxi and went to their hotel. They had arranged for this same taxi driver to pick them up in the morning and take them around the city, but he had wanted Rs 2,500. Eventually they had bargained him down to Rs 2,200 and I had to spend the night comparing prices and finally told them just to take the taxi. They went around the city and had been mobbed by the people at the various locations wanting to talk to them and take photos. I've never had that happen and would hate it, but DH says it's probably because of the crowd we hang out with, which is primarily Indians and large muscular ones at that...

Family's Visit to Varanasi

So, the family had traveled to Varanasi on an AC train from Howrah. They had arrived and were swamped by autos that wanted to take them to their hotel. However, because J wasn't feeling good they had just taken whatever one they could get and got to the hotel. Once they were there J had stayed in the room and slept because he wasn't feeling well, while my mom and B had gone out. They went to the Ganges River and took a boat ride. Well...the boat wallah's knew they were foreigners and despite being told how much they should pay (around Rs 300 for both) they had ended up getting scammed. They had paid Rs 400 EACH for a 2 hour ride. Well, at least they were happy and enjoyed it. They had also been scammed into giving Rs 300 for the cremation wood. They were also told that they would have to pay for the guide, but they staunchly refused.

Well...they had finished their experience by shopping around and Mom found a tapestry that she wanted to buy for B's daughter, L (since that is what she wanted from India), but the store keeper wanted Rs 850 for it. My mom said, no the most I'll give is Rs 500, and the shop keeper counter offered her with Rs 750, but she stuck to her price and walked out. However, the guy called her back and said, ok, 500. That was probably still too much, but mom was extremely proud that she could bargain for herself.

The next day J was feeling much better so they all ventured out to the Ganges again, where to nobody's surprise the boat wallah was waiting for them again. However, J told the guy to get lost and that they didn't need him, which he promptly did. They again went out on the river and saw the cremations and once again the people asked them for money for the cremation wood. J being J, he had decided to give only Rs 100, well...the people keeping telling him "not enough, not enough, give more!" He flatly refused and went on their merry way.

They were supposed to have gone to Lucknow during this time away, but because the train they had booked back to Kolkata was regularly late they decided to forgo it. They instead decided to come back on the 24th instead of the 25th and they had luckily found some AC tickets on the return. However, they had realized that the train would take them over 24 hours to return and ended up booking plane tickets instead. Talk about driving me crazy!!!