Monday, June 14, 2010
This morning I went to the gym for the first time - Latitudes Pro in Jubilee Hills - - one of the nicest clubs (and attached to a first-rate spa as well!) I have ever seen - much less been a member of - inside the U.S. or out, this place ROCKS!! The spa/salon is called Tangerines - and I made myself an appointment to get my hair cut there at 11:00 A.M. tomorrow. As I mentioned in another place, my handy hair-clippers seem to choke on the local electrical current here, so I have to have somebody cut this fuzz. I'm looking a bit like Bozo the Clown!!
Suzanne has a strange day today...she went in the office even though 99% of the people in her group have the day off. She figured that after her one meeting today, she can get a ton of catch-up work done while things are mercifully calm at the office. After the gym, I was really hungry, so I had Naseer drop me off at Barista - which will fast become a favorite place for us. It's just about the coolest coffee shop (think Starbucks, only with coffee that is served really HOT and servers that really serve!) EVER...and with a really good light-food menu that has stuff for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Honestly, I WON'T - but I could eat every meal at Barista. The company that owns Barista is Italian, and serves a brand of coffee called Lavazza, which quite frankly blows Starbucks right outta the water. I'm betting my dear friend in Venice, Italy, Amy Pease Scarpa knows of the Barista/Lavazza brand. They really seem to have their act together.
Today was the first time that I ate breakfast out. I had the "eggs any style and toast" which comes with a free deluxe coffee. I chose a nice Cafe Americano which was killer. My server's name (both times I have been there) was Jahangir. Note for Mitchell Dean Lane (of Verdugo Hill High School) and Allan Littman of Portland, Oregon - At first listen, I really thought he said his name was Jugdish! Total cost of breakfast (w/ coffee, PLUS one more outstanding Cafe Latte... Rs 250.00 (that's a little less than five bucks, or, the same price as a latte at Starbucks!!)
Out of habit, I read the newspaper while I was waiting. The BEST local paper here by far is the Deccan Chronicle. It's 100% in English as far as I can tell...and covers some pretty interesting local and International topics.
My three favorite articles in the Chronicle today, divided into categories:
SCARY: The cops in Karnataka arrested some Maoist dude who was traveling with two sharpshooting would-be assassins toting high-powered carbines (ones like the local police use!) The Maoists cause a boatload of trouble here (Gee, imagine that! Communists stirring up trouble! Sounds like the Unites States Congress!!) The two sharpshooters escaped. They were planning to kill a VIP by disguising themselves as policemen. That's some scary stuff right there!
STRANGE: Headline: "Godman cuts off tongue to please God" A "godman" (one of those Hindu practitioners who take asceticism to the extreme!) got admitted to the local hospital before he bled to death. He cut off his own tongue in an effort to please God. He cut it off and offered it to the Deity during Sunday night puja (think Solemn Vespers with lots of smoke!) after saying his night-time prayers. Wow. What devotion! Now if only we could get Benny Hinn or Paul Crouch to do the same!
FUNNY: In the official South African FIFA book for the World Cup, the South African government is making a big deal over their ties to Mahatma Gandhi (if you saw the movie Gandhi with Ben Kingsley as Gandhiji - then you might wonder what in the world they are so proud of!!) Anyway...in the book they spelled Gandhi's name wrong!! Oooops!
Another one of the "little things" that have made our journey so-very-special happened today. We experienced yet another cloudburst at right around 12:15 P.M. The weather today is very pleasant...a little humid (you can just about tell when it's gonna start to pour! The humidity climbs by the second!) - but downright cool compared to our first week here. I was waiting for Suzanne and Naseer to pick me up at Latitudes gym and - I think I may have even felt something like a "cool breeze". Well...perhaps I exaggerate, and I digress.
Naseer had to change a flat tire in the pouring rain!! And the tiny little jack that comes with the Toyota Innova we have been cruising around town in, kept sinking in the mud! Poor Naseer. After he was all done (all-in-all, it took about a half-an-hour) and the spare tire was securely on, I taught him a couple of choice English phrases that he could use in case that ever happens again. I won't repeat them here, but my personal favorite was "Man, that's just #$%ed up!"
Just one more random thought. I was sitting under the canopy reserved for outside dining at Barista, waiting for Naseer to get the spare out and onto the left-front of "our" trusty Innova. Jahanjir came outside to make certain I was O.K. (take that, Starbucks!) Across the street from where I was sitting, there is a nice-looking building (on the outside) that is being gutted for refurbishing. The demo-crew was busy at work inside, probably thrilled that they had jobs that kept them out of today's monsoon. There was one fellow whose job it is to carry small chunks of broken masonry and brick dust out from the second-story area where the crew was working, and toss the debris over the side to a mountainous pile of the stuff. His method? He had an old piece of foam-rubber lashed to the top of his head with a big blue bandanna or scarf. On the top of his head he would carry what looks like a HUGE wok - no handles, though, full of heavy debris, empty it over the side, and carry the empty wok back into the bowels of the building, only to return a few minutes later, and repeat the process again.
While I sat there, this man probably made twenty runs, back-and-forth, back-and-forth. Load, carry, dump.
Next time you are having a crappy day at work...and start thinking about how much you hate your job...please think of this fellow and his job!