Sunday, October 3, 2010

The opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Games was held this evening in Mumbai. Until about a month ago, I've never heard of this thing...the Commonwealth Games...but apparently it's a pretty big deal for all nations that were once part of the British Empire (which is, incidentally, 54 nations...I had no idea it was so many!!). From what I understand, it's a lot like the Summer Olympics, except with lawn bowls. And I think every sporting event should incorporate lawn bowls some way.

With seven years to prepare, and having spent $15.5 billion (with a budget of $210 million), it's questionable what India has to show for it. Everyday in the the Indian Express, I read about England or New Zealand or Australia nearly pulling out of the games because of the unsafe or dirty conditions of the campus.

The opening ceremonies were the same as any opening ceremonies everywhere...singing, dancing, cultural activities. Having gone so far over budget, I think they were trying to make some money by showing five minutes of the ceremony, and fifteen minutes of ads in Hindi.

And of course, in true Indian fashion, the power went out, right after an "Incredible India" advertising.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Zoe: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Indian girl: I want to be....something like a foreigner

The indefatigable rain has stopped, and has been replaced by the indefatigable heat. I'm not sure if this is the correct use of that word...indefatigable, or whether it's allowed to be used twice in one sentence.

Cake cutting:

Whenever anyone has a birthday, there is a "cake cutting." It involves an overly large, and very overly sweet cake. LIke 5 Star Chocolate, the kids love it. Unlike 5 Star Chocolate, I'm unable to avoid it. As the "guest of honor" at many a cake cutting, I often receive the largest piece of all, representing about 90% of my daily caloric requirements. I have to eat at least part of it, because it would be considered a terrible offense if I didn't. When I first ate Indian cake I could barely stomach it, but with each cake cutting ( it becomes more and more palatable. When I return, not only will I be speaking "Indian English," but I'll also be craving Indian cake!

And....the cake. It looks much more menacing in person, I promise.

You think I look excited to eat that giant piece of sugar and fat....but I'm really thinking of all the Nutella that I could be eating.

Now THAT is genuine excitement. Notice the double-handed method. Much more efficient.

After the massacre. Not even a crumb was spared.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I need to be selfish today, and make a list of things I miss.

Of course, first and foremost, all my of friends and family.

But also....
  • Pegasus (!!!!!!), my bike
  • Memory foam mattress pad
  • Portland waterfront
  • Dinner parties
  • Running on the OHSU hill
  • Powells
  • All of my lovely shoes and vintage clothes
  • Experimental baking
  • Real milk. And ice cream
  • Popcorn nights
  • Portland microbrews
  • Oregon rain

In making this list, I'm forgetting what I actually miss, and what I'm just fantasizing that I miss, but never did in the first place. But it seems that most of what I miss is food, anyway....

Like....I think I miss sitting in pretentious Portland coffee shops and discussing the nuances of Russian literature. Hahaha!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I got my first sunburn today. Surviving in India for two months with no sunburn is a formidable feat, considering how few melanocytes I have.

Let me tell you about 5 Star Chocolate. That Cadbury, whom a formerly considered fairly respectable chocolate company, should put their name on a product of such poor quality, makes me very sad. There must be some "magic" ingredients in it that keep the chocolate-y, caramel-y nastiness from melting in hundred degree weather. But it's not good magic that Cadbury is using--it's black, black magic. I fear it's probably cancer causing magic. I lost a five-star chocolate "bet," and little did I know that along with the chocolate (which they all consider the best stuff in the world), I was also giving her pancreatic cancer.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Zoe: "Do you believe in Santa Claus?"

Indian boy: "Oh, yes. And do you believe in George Bush?"

(No, he was dead serious.)

Computer is kaput. In India, Apple is a fruit, so I may have problems finding someone to fix it. It's like losing a part of home, and I'm very sad....hard drive is intact, though.

Eating lunch with Indians:
I've started eating lunch with the teachers when I visit the other home on Wednesdays and Fridays. It's ridiculous for them to prepare massive amounts of "Western food" just for me. My eating "real Indian food" is a source of much amusement for them. They think I might die because the food is too "chilly" or "pungent" (I think they're referencing that there are chilis in the dish....and it just so happens that "chilly" means cold). When they asked me what kind of Indian foods I like and I referenced a street food (Pani Puri---it's delicious and I'm going to make millions opening a Pani Puri street cart in Portland), one said, "You ate Pani Puri at Daddy's Home?" "No, in the village." This was proceeded by several looks of shock, to which I replied, "Yes, I'm a brave American."
That's right. We have Obama AND we can eat spicy food. And be spread the joy of capitalism all over the world. The question is, what CAN'T we do?!

Cinema in Vijayawada:
-Way cheap compared to American movie theaters. It doesn't cost you your first born child to buy popcorn.
-It makes the kids so, so happy to do something!
-Telugu movie (who can resist a movie with elements of action, suspense, comedy, romance AND dancing and singing?!--the only American films were scary movies that I wasn't about to watch.)

-Goose bump inducing air conditioning (SO COLD!)
-Loud enough for Beethoven to hear, lying deaf and dead his grave.
-The finale was a man tearing off another man's leg. But is that really a con? Or just a traumatizing cinematic experience?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ok, so here it is. My blog is officially exhumed from the semi-dead.

Now...what to write about. Always the problem.

It amazes me that the word "actor" and "actress" have been completely replaced by "hero" and "heroine" in India...or at least for these children. It also amazes me that very small children, who can barely speak English, know the word "heroine."

There was "thing" in my shower today that I think was some prehistoric lizard/grasshopper. Whatever it was, it was very scary. I have a problem killing scary things because I hate the crunching sound, and I can't bring myself to get near enough to rescue them and take them outside.

Solution? Fear every minute in the shower while it crawls around, slowly drowning in the water. I then realize that I'm a complete sadist and I feel terribly for my prehistoric friend. I mean, maybe we could've been friends! But now he's dead, and still belly-up in the shower.

I think I'll have a funeral for him tomorrow. I'll invite some children, and we'll all say a few nice words. He was a "hero"--I know it. perhaps this blog wasn't as mind-blowing as promised, but I have to warm up. And the death of my friend was really bothering me.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ok, so I promise I'll write a blog tomorrow night. PROMISE. And it's going to be so good that it will BLOW YOUR MIND.