Thursday, June 10, 2010

Where we live (with some cool links!!)

We had our first taste of what Monsoon weather will be like last night.  Amy got home from work at around 8:00 P.M. (after a fourteen-hour day!) - and when I opened the door for her, she was standing out on the patio, with Beloved in her arms, in the pouring rain saying, "Isn't this just amazing??"  She was right, too....because for the next full hour, the skies just opened-up, and the biggest raindrops I have ever seen were not just "pattering" on the stonework of our front patio, they were "splashing".  Unlike a heavy rainstorm in Southern California, which, as we say, comes down in "sheets" - - these individual drops looked as if each one could fill a shot-glass!  It didn't take very long and my loving wife was soaked to the skin.

She changed her wet clothes only to step back out onto the upper patio-deck by the pool and start the process all over again.  Well, actually, there is a nice overhang that we were able to hide beneath, and Suzanne ventured out from beneath its protective cover to stand out in the downpour once again.  Beloved, of course, stayed in the upper hallway and watched from the open door.  Even I had to join Aims out there.  There was lightning and thunder and wind...and the rain just kept falling like heavy drapery over Banjara Hills. One particularly big bolt of lightning (and close, too, based on the clap of thunder that followed!) must have hit some power-lines or an electrical substation, because all of the lights in the neighborhood and surrounding area went to black!  Our generator immeidatesly fired up (I was so glad I gave Krishna Rs 1,100.00 the other day to "get the petrol-tank filled"!) and we had lights.  The three flashlights we packed for just this kind of emergency?  Yep.  They're still in our air-shipment, of course, which has yet to arrive!!

It eventually stopped raining and the wind halted long enough for me to take Beloved out for a midnight pee-run.  The street in front of our house was wet, and there were huge puddles everywhere, but, thanks be to God, the area seems to drain naturally well.  There was an empty plastic bucket out on our front patio when the rain began.  It was filled to the brim and overflowing by the time the rain stopped!! 

Speaking of Bee's "business" - we have two choices when we take her out to the "Ladies Room" - whether it be day or night - -  one can walk her to the right from our front gate, and there is a vacant lot on a hillside (with a whole family of chickens and one very loud rooster!) - and - eventually our street comes to an end after about 1/2 Km.  There is a nice building that somebody is working on, it looks like an apartment building, but seems to house a company called "Creative Bee Design" - which evidently is some kind of a fashion design and manufacturing firm.

Or, if you feel so inclined, you can walk her to the left of our front gate, which is a much longer walk with more options...  Much further than the usual walk we take - and along the east side of the street - brings you into a series of little shacks (I don't know what the politically-correct term is, but "shack" seems to describe them best!) that are like small stands (I hesitate calling them "stores") which sell a variety of things, including newspapers, fruit, candy, God-only-knows what else and -  I'm all for "going native" and sampling the local Indian cuisine...but I think I'll stop short of ordering the "fried dumpling"-looking things they are displaying just outside the "doors" of some of these places.

If you keep walking northward along our street (remember - - very few sidewalks exist in Hyderabad!) - you will shortly come to "Road No. 2" - which is the "main drag" and busiest "thoroughfare" here in the Banjara Hills area.  To the left (West) on #2 - and about a fifteen-minute drive with no traffic - you will pass by the long North-side of Kasu Brahmananda Reddy National Park, and eventually through "Jubilee Hills" (another nice neighborhood - where Road #2 mysteriously becomes "Road #36" - - we're never going to drive, so I don't really care!) and onward into HiTech City (where the Deloitte campus is, including A-D Blocks - their E-Block is actually in another part of town, over where Microsoft has a huge plant and offices!) and - still a little further to the South, is "Gachibowli" and the area where Boulder Hills Country Club is located.

About 100-meters to the West of the t-intersection of our street and Road #2 is the Q-Mart.  Many locals like this market, which is located upstairs in a sort of "mini mall" on the North side of the street.  I much prefer the "HyperCITY" store on the lower-level of the InOrbit Mall in Cyberabad, which is right next to the HiTech City gates. I am a card-carrying member of the "HyperCITY Discovery Club" now...which earns you points when you shop.  For what purpose, I have not a clue!

If you click this link to a Google Map of where the Q-Mart is located  - (I like the satellite feature much better than the plain "map" look!) - and look just a little to the right and a just little to the South...THAT is where our house is located!!  Right above the words "Road No. 5" - that is our little neighborhood!!  If you click to zoom out on the big map, you can get a better look at the Northwest part of Hyderabad.  You can see the Reddy National Park to the West and where Road #2 becomes Road #36 in Jubilee Hills, etc.  If you KEEP clicking out, you can better see the whole city in relation to everything else in our corner of the world!

O.K.  Enough of the tour-guide schtick.  Back to our normal daily/nightly "Bee Walk"...  As you are walking up toward Road No. 2 - - on the left there is a wider dirt shoulder where she like to "do her thing".  On the day that we arrived, that dirt shoulder was piled high with...well - I guess you'd call them "long, thick tree branches".  That's close enough for government work!  With every walk, I could see that the pile was getting noticeably smaller and smaller.  Where were the sticks going??  Across the street is a three-story apartment building.  The sticks have been tied-together with rope, and now comprise the SCAFFOLDING that some men are using to strip and paint the street-side stucco on the building!!!  I kid you not.  The entire front of this building is obscurred from view by a full, three-story scaffold, make entirely of sticks and rope!!

"Hello...O.S.H.A. ??"

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