Thursday, December 6, 2012

Shopping and wildlife

 Shopping, at least for groceries, is not so much fun in India. The stores are tiny and crowded, aisles are so narrow that if someone is in the aisle, she has to turn sideways in order for someone else to pass, and for us at least, the selection leaves something to be desired. It's not that we're totally picky-pants, it's just that our multiple food allergies, our need to only consume produce that has been peeled or cooked, and our inability to cook anything = slim pickins.

We started out at the Kwality Big Bazaar. I had a longish list of things I hoped to purchase, both food and household items. I couldn't get everything on either list, but we made a start. I bought a broom (but no dustpan), paper towels, sponges (but no dish soap), toilet paper, soap, trash bags and corn flakes. I really wanted to buy other foods, but honestly couldn't find anything that fit the Big 3 criteria above! The broom, at  Rs 200 (about $4) was our most expensive item, followed by the toilet paper. I'd been warned that TP in India is quite spendy, and can now report this to be absolutely true. A package of 4 rolls set us back Rs 180. What I didn't find at Kwality Big Bazaar was a clock, small towels, tape, paper plates (any kind of plates, really), plastic spoons (any kind of spoons), and a few other things I'm forgetting.

So yesterday, while Robert was out and about collecting some of the many items he needs to present to the FRRO (foreigner's regional registration office) the kids and I went shopping again. Eating cereal off of napkins while we wait for our kitchen gear to arrive had gotten pretty old already, plus they'd already consumed the box of corn flakes we bought at the Kwality Big Bazaar (turns out a box doesn't last very long if your kids have to eat it for breakfast and dinner!). Thanks to my newly operational internet connection I knew there was a big grocery store about .6 km away from us, so we set off for it.

To make a long story short, we passed right by it without knowing (spotted it on the way back) and ended up in another store that was a somewhat bigger, better stocked version of Kwality Big Bazaar, but without the excellent name. Sadly the aisles were just as narrow! We were able to buy a few extra things though, so I got bananas, more corn flakes (in some exciting, only in India flavors! though not the mango flavor that Zion really wants, as they didn't have it), water, almonds, cashews, and yogurt in the food section, plus 2 plastic mugs, 2 plastic bowls, dish soap, 5 spoons and 5 forks. I'm hoping I won't have to buy more bowls etc, but we shall see. The original ETA for our kitchen stuff was "soon", followed by "Friday", followed by "in 3-4 days" (which would be Saturday or Sunday).

As we headed home the kids were hot, tired, and hungry. I wanted to get them food to eat right then, but all of the places I saw were filled with only men, no women or children, and had no menus, so we just walked home. Unsurprisingly, they became increasingly complaintful as we walked. Zion was particularly bothered by all the horns-- every vehicle seems to feel that the correct response to seeing another vehicle on the road is to honk at it. Since the roads are crammed with traffic, the result is near constant horn-honking. As we neared the Institute Liel announced that what Bangalore needed was, "less people, less cars, and less garbage!". There's some truth to that (especially the cars and garbage!), but I assured the kids they'd get used to the city in time. They're still pretty skeptical of this claim.

Luckily for me, we saw 4 cows wandering the streets on our way back, which cheered both kids enormously. Our favorite was a huge black and white one that stood literally in the middle of the road, adding her loud mooing to the honking and engines.

So, on the shopping front, I'm still in need of a clock, candles (Shabbos is tomorrow!), small towels, a mattress (though I have a lead on that), and tape.

Robert was pretty pleased by the cups when he got home, as it meant he was able to enjoy a little bit of the bourbon he'd brought from New York. After that we attempted to go to a Chinese restaurant for dinner, but since it was closed we went to the Have More Family Restaurant instead-- another fantastic name, right?? Have More is a North Indian restaurant, and we had Afghani Chicken, dhal makhani, and chicken biryani. It was all delicious, but despite the fact that we'd asked for it to be un-spicy on account of the children, the only person who could eat lots of the dhal and biryani was Robert. Liel couldn't eat them at all, and Zion and I could only manage some. Luckily the Afghani Chicken was delicious and not spicy at all, so it was basically alright. The slices of pickled purple onion they served along with it made it even yummier! I expect we'll be back there, and ordering more of that chicken! The end of meal fennel seeds were particularly good as well, and the meal (which was more food than we actually ate), including bottled water, and a service charge, was Rs720 (about $15). Quite a bit more than the parota shop, but it was a sit down place, and we ate a lot of meat, and more food in general. So a good deal, I'd say. I think we got there just as they were opening, and there was still a lot of cleaning going on. The floor washer actually washed the floor under our table while we were sitting there!

The sun had just fully set as we were walking home, and there were thousands of bats streaming out of their sleeping places when we reached the Institute grounds. It was so amazing! There were big fruit bats and small insect eating bats, and we stood on the road and watched them soaring off in search of food. Some of the smaller bats swooped within a few feet of us, chasing insects. It was such a fabulous end to our day. 

This has gotten quite long so I'll end here...hopefully tomorrow I will have news on the mattress, camera, and laundry situations!

3 comments:

Pusstat said...

Bats??
As I remember Liel is quite the bat enthusiast. She must have been thrilled!

K said...

Liel LOVES bats! What a good sign!

Alissa said...

I was just thinking the same thing (about the bats)! :)