Monday, March 15, 2010
I Love Weekends
It appears that against all odds, I have successfully survived a full week in India. Granted, Matt only worked four of the seven days, but still, it's an accomplishment that deserves to be recognized. I'll gladly take your praise in monetary form. The weekend was pretty successful, though "hot as balls" to quote my husband. Friday night, we were all a little stir-crazy so went out to a different hotel for dinner (yeah, we know how to party). We had Thali, a Gujarati staple, which is basically a bunch of different vegetables and sauces in little dishes on one big plate, with rice and naan and other bread-stuffs. It was delicious, and unlimited, and at about $5 per person, one of the more expensive meals I've had here. that, some of the crew met up in our room and we worked out a plan on how to sneak alcohol into the billiards room so we could drink and play snooker (I learned from China the first time that snooker is basically only tolerable with alcohol). For those who don't know (and why would you) snooker is pretty much a really difficult form of billiards with a huge table and cues, and tiny balls that are color-coded instead of numbers. We still don't know all the rules, but we're getting there. Back to the plan: we ended our devious plotting by pouring rum into a water bottle and then taking it down with us and pouring it into Pepsi. I feel like I'm in high school all over again. Not that I ever drank in high school...
Anyway, things didn't get too out of hand (except Ivan kept hitting the balls off the table and into the windows... none broken) but I guess the hotel staff thought we were too rough and cut our party short by simply turning off the lights on us. We got the hint. Saturday we went and ate some good South Indian food (I guess it was South Indian... lots of curries and stuff) and then walked around in the ridiculous heat for a couple hours. Then back to the snooker table, as it's basically our only form of entertainment at this point.
Sunday the entire group (all 9 of us, including a baby) went to see the Laxmi Vilas Palace here in town. Even though it's one of the only "sights" to see here, apparently no one knows where it is. We had to show the tuk-tuk drivers on the map how to get there. I can't really tell you much about the history because while our guide spoke English, none of us could understand him, so we kind of just walked around blindly.I do know it was built in the 1890s and has had five generations of "kings" living there, including the most recent one whose family still resides in the upper sections. I don't know what the guy is the king of. Baroda? Gujarat? I could probably look that up, but I wouldn't want to lose the mystery. After the palace, we wandered around looking for some other something that Andrew read about in the guide book, but astonishingly, no one in town knew where or what it was. Had lunch at "Barbeque Nation" which was the first meat I've had since getting here.
Today I went to the bookstore, Crossword, and walked around enjoying the A/C and looking at just about every title. It's a really nice place with lots of books and some DVDs, although they're not nearly as cheap as China. Too bad. I bought the last Twilight book (don't judge me... you have no idea how low I can stoop) and started reading it in the coffee shop on the second level of the store, all the while getting stared at (disapprovingly) by the traditionally dressed Indian men behind me. Ahh, sticks and stones. All in all, a fairly successful few days. Hopefully I can navigate the rest of the week without any major breakdowns (I've only had one so far... on our second day... I repeat, don't judge me).
Incidentally, the personal trainer here turned out to be a total creeper and I've quit him completely. I'm sure he's not all that bad and that it's a cultural gap at the very least, but I figure if it's making me uncomfortable, I don't have to do it just to be polite (actually, I didn't figure that, Matt did. He's much more sensible than I am). The trainer "stalked" me outside on day two after our session and asked me if I wanted to come in and watch him exercise and talk to him. That was basically it, and now that I write it down, it seems really harmless. But man, you wouldn't think so if you saw him. Also, Saturday he came and creeped around the snooker table and watched us play for a while. Everyone agreed that he's a creeper not to be messed with. It is amazing the lengths I will go to avoid this guy... I have completely altered both my workout and sitting out by the pool schedule so as not to coincide with his.
Also, the food at the hotel is paid for by the refinery, so everyone eats dinner here almost every night. I guess it was foolish of me to think I was included in the free food extravaganza, but I did. I can't say I was surprised however, when we got a call from the front desk saying we needed to stop charging my meals to the refinery as they weren't paying for me. Busted. This company sure does know how to make a girl feel welcome. I think if they could, they would charge me for half of the price of the hotel room, since I'm sharing it with Matt. I shouldn't mention this to them. I don't really care about the dinner except that it's kind of social hour for me, and now I'll have to skip it (it's $20 a night for the buffet, and call me cheap, but that's just ridiculous when I can spend $2 outside and be happy). I wore a tank top AND an above the ankle skirt today... hear that? That's the sound of the rule book being thrown out the window.