Logbook – Hyderabad
1:56 AM, Sunday 28th April
GST +9.5 hours
How far did we travel this week?
Combining all the modes of transportation taken, I’d say I’ve covered roughly 1800 miles in travel and have about 3000 more to go before I head home.
How far have we traveled on our journey so far?
It’s so hard to figure out just how far I’ve traveled so far, but it must be in the thousands of miles. I still have a hard time thinking in kilometers, as is common here, so I always think I’ve traveled less than I actually have.
How did we get around this week?
This week, I’ve taken an airplane, cab, autorickshaw and train (metro and interstate). Earlier this week in Hyderabad I used buses, my bike, motorbikes and autos to get around.
What was the most interesting place we visited this week?
My host family and I went to an incredible Mediterranean restaurant, the Blue Door, in Jubilee Hills in Hyderabad. It was the only Greek food I’ve had here, better than any I’ve had back home as well. We treated Bhavani and Tanvi to dinner, and they were really overwhelmed by the whole experience. The décor was really sophisticated, all off-white with light blue and beige accents. It was so bright and clear, feeling truly like the Mediterranean. It was so relaxing, giving us a nice farewell dinner.
This Week’s Travel News:
I’m traveling through the north of India this week, so I’ve been to plenty of interesting places outside of Hyderabad. (I’ll write about more in the next Logbook.) In Hyderabad, however, I took one final trip by myself. I decided to tackle the Hyderabad bus system one last time, even though it kind of terrifies me. It took three buses to get to Panjagutta to find Mangatrai, a jewelry shop recommended by Bhavani. The buses were a little uncomfortable because barely anyone spoke English, or even Hindi. Asking a Telugu speaker for change for bus fare is understandably complicated. But eventually I made it! I bought some pearls for my sisters and made my way back by auto (it had just rained and I didn’t want to deal with a damp bus). The whole trip was relatively simple, but it gave me a lot of satisfaction for successfully navigating public transportation.
It is sunny most days, with the odd cloudy patch or rain shower.
What is the air temperature right now?
The nighttime temperature is about 29 degrees C, or 84 F.
How was the weather this week?
It’s always hot, with odd periods of cloudiness or rain. The rain is really sporadic and kind of unnerving, as it pours for about ten minutes and then ends abruptly.
What animals did we see this week?
This week had the typical Hyderabadi animals: stray dogs, water buffalo, lizards, birds, monkeys, cows, goats and chipmunks.
What was the coolest thing we saw in nature this week?
The random rainstorms are the coolest (literally and metaphorically), as they cool the air and make it much more pleasant to be outside. The wind picks up quickly and the sky changes color, feeling a bit like the tornado scene in The Wizard of Oz. Sometimes it’s a little scary how strong the wind gets, and my friends even joke about how it feels like the world is ending. These freak storms are horrible if you get caught in them, but wonderful if you’re outside after it’s done.
This Week’s Nature News:
It’s been raining more frequently than usual, so much so that I’ve started keeping track of where I am each time it pours. They’re so unpredictable that I don’t find it necessary to carry an umbrella. This, however, makes it difficult to plan your day. So far, I’ve waited out a storm in the international hostel, a jewelry store, our program office, the mall, the staircase in my apartment and even while out on a run (it was so rainy that I figured I couldn’t get any more rain-soaked). It’s so silly to think about, but it makes you appreciate little things. Rain here is a luxury, one I value much in the summer heat.
What languages are spoken here?
Telugu, Hindi, English
What type of money is used here?
How much does a bottle of water cost?
Rs. 30 or less usually
What was the best meal this week?
My dinner at the Blue Door was incredible. I had moussaka, a combination of cheese, potatoes and zucchini baked in a clay pot. I’ve been suffering from serious cheese withdrawal in India, so this dish was everything I wanted and more. My host family all shared it, and Bhavani said that she would try to make it herself. It’s definitely one of the best meals I’ve had in my life.
What music did we listen to this week?
Between my own current obsession (the new Daft Punk single, “Get Lucky”) and the Bollywood hits played in autos and stores here, the dominant theme this week has been DANCE. Upbeat, infectious music has been everywhere, making me want to drop everything and move. (I’m a terrible dancer, but sometimes it just has to happen.)
What activity was the most fun this week?
The farewell dinner for my program was a couple weeks ago. It was fun to see everyone dressed up, but sad to acknowledge that our time together was coming to an end. I borrowed a fancy sari from Bhavani and got all dolled up.
What did I read this week?
I’ve been rotating between the Lonely Plant Guide to India, The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy and a version of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince in Hindi.
What games or sports did I play?
I didn’t play any games myself, but I did go to see a cricket match last week. It was between the Hyderabad Sunrisers and the Punjab Kings XI. It was a great match, but we were a little uncomfortable with the crowd (probably 98% male) and the stadium (dirty, crowded, labyrinth). It reminded me a lot of baseball games in the U.S., but with paneer (Indian cheese) wraps instead of hot dogs! I still don’t fully understand cricket, but it’s easy enough to get into the action as the crowd gets excited.
This Week’s News:
Not much has happened this week here, except for wrapping things up here. I’ve attached some pictures from various trips around Hyderabad over the semester. There are some sights around the city (Qutb Shahi tombs, Golconda Fort, Chowmahalla Palace), places I enjoy (Good Seeds organic market, the cricket game) and a couple pictures from end of semester events (farewell dinners for CIEE and SIP). The next Logbook will be about my current travels around the north, namely in Delhi. (I don’t have my camera connecting cord with me, so pictures will come next week.) My time in Hyderabad has been amazing, but I’m moving on until I hit home! I’m looking forward to the coming adventures.