Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Karva Chauth 2007

Karva Chauth is the women's holiday here... in the last 2 years past, we have been in M-town with the Kumars... we missed spending this time with them this year :( To read all about this holiday, check out my blog post from the previous year: Karva Chauth 2006 - it tells you all about what happens in this holiday... This year we went to the market near our house and it was bustling with people getting their w'ship supplies for the holiday... The lady below is selling these hay stalk things that they use... during the w'ship time they throw some North, South, East and West...
Women get Mehindi done on this holiday... I had to sit on this stool while I was getting mine that was low to the ground - haha it was really hard for me to get up - thank goodness Adam was there to help me up :)
I had two guys putting the henna on my hands at the same time :) It was fun :) That pic below makes my skin look soooo white!
There were lots of women in the market getting Mehindi done :)
And, just for fun - some fun kids in the market :)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Dusshera Video

Here's a little video from Dusshera - just pause it and wait until it loads... then ENJOY!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Dusshera 2007

Holiday season is pretty fun here. People are in good moods, the weather is nice and there's a lot of excitement in the air... as well as tons of stuff to do, see & eat :) Yesterday was Dusshera (or Dussehra)... It's a holiday with a long history based off of their stories from the Ramayana. It is a festival to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, and marks the defeat and death of the demon king Ravana in the story. So, to celebrate this, they have a big festival and burn huge effigies of Ravana (which is actually pronounced more like Ravern). If you want more info on the holiday, click here: Dusshera Info. If you want to see our Dusshera blog from last year, then click here: Dusshera 2006. In M-town, this is a HUGE holiday... the stories say that Ravana (the demon g0d) married a woman from M-town...

So we first went to an area of town to see some of the effigies during the day time... the one in the middle is Ravana - the one with 10 heads - and the other two are part of the story.
This park was already filling up fast!! We got there 5 hours before they were going to burn the statues... and it was FULL! We had to wait in a line that was a couple of blocks long and before we left it was a REALLY long line.
Here's another picture of these statues... They're HUGE... someone told us that a lot of them are 10 stories high!!Later that evening we went to a park closer to our house to watch them burn... They have firecrackers inside of them and it's LOUD - but it's pretty fun to watch :) This one below is of one of Ravana's cohorts (one of the two on the sides).
Here's a picture of Ravana burning (below)...
Adam took some video, so I'll try to post a video of it in the next couple of days! :)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Birthday Part 2 :)

For my birthday, Adam wanted to buy me a Harmonium :) I love music and I love learning new instruments, so we thought that would be fun :) Our country has it's own style of this instrument and it's very popular here... it's kinda a cross between an accordion, a piano and an organ :) haha!
Anyway, to get it, we went to a cool old store that's in the old part of our city... We went to the store and looked at all the cool instruments and picked out the perfect one :) After we did that we were talking to the owner and we asked them where they made the instruments. He told us that all the instruments were made there on their roof! :) So we got to go up and watch them making instruments. It was cool because this store is across the street from the largest m0sque in our country, so it was really neat to see it from a totally different view :) It was Friday at almost 1:00 pm when we were there, so the call to pr was going off and if you look closely at the pic you can see people in there preparing for the pr time.Here's one of the guys making Harmoniums (below):
The way the do music here is very different from the way we do music in America... for any of you who have every had a music lesson in America you know all about playing with the notes A-B-C-D-E-F-G.... but here they use Sa-Re-Ga-Ma, etc.... it's kinda like the European "Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So", etc....(you know, like from The Sound of Music) and they typically don't use the the same music notations or even music notes! If you look below you can see the music (the top half - the bottom half are the words to the song)
OK, so here is my Harmonium!! If you look closely, you can see the accordion part in the back... you use your left hand to pump it, while you play with your right hand :) With the music here, you use the black keys more than the white keys - so it's really different from the piano :) haha!When I learn to actually play something that sounds good, I'll put up a video or something :)
Oh, and Jellybean loves it! haha! JB goes crazy when I play :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Birthday Part 1

Today is my birthday and our REALLY awesome friends, The Agarwals celebrated my birthday this morning in Florida :) They are the coolest people ever!! (We miss you guys!!!) The boys decorated a b-day sign for me and made some cool decorations (that you can't see in this pic)... they had special birthday pancakes with candles and singing :) They really made my day :) We're so far away, but it doesn't feel that way :) Thanks for making my birthday so special!!!! YOU GUYS ROCK!!!!!!!!
Today we went out to a mall area with some of our friends... it's quite a ways from our house and I haven't been here in almost a year. While we were walking around, we found a "Build-a-Bear" store! I love teddy bears so we just had to make one for Jellybean :) My little buddies Gracey and Faith helped me with my bear... so this bear is super special - it has 3 hearts in it :) (you can see us with the hearts in the pic below)
After we finished making the bear, we had to say the pledge that we would take care and love the bear :) haha! It was funny!
Here's us in front of the store with our bear... I mean, with Jellybean's bear :) On another note, today is not only my birthday, but the begining of a holiday here called Durga Puja - it's a part of a 9 day holiday that is going on right now called Navratri... one of the things they do on this holiday is make lots of food and give it out for free... here are some people wait for food :)
Here's a big line of people waiting for food :)
THere are a lot of all night pujas (w'ship times) going on right now... You can see a pic of some of the stuff going on below... this is a pic of the g0ddess that they w'ship during this time...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Everything New for Diwali - Part 2 :)

A few weeks ago I did a post about everyone buying new things this time of year... (scroll down a few posts if you want to see it)... Diwali is coming up soon! It's November 9... but between now and then, there are a bunch of holidays... we're in the middle of a 10 day holiday right now!

Adam and I were at the market the other night and it was so fun - every shop has tons of new things out, and people are running around the market with a purpose buying gifts and new things... It's kinda like the few weeks before Christmas :)
I have felt the best I have the entire pregnancy during this 3rd Trimester (so far anyway :)) so we've been going out and walking in markets at night - it's been fun :) Here's a pic of Adam being goofy in the market the other night...
This kid below was funny... his parents bought him a yo-yo... and the string was so long that he couldn't use it (it kept hitting the ground)... so he stood up on this stool / chair and yo-yoed away :) haha!
After going to the market one night, Adam and I went to one of my fave snack places here and got my favorite snack - Raj Kachori - YUM!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

To Market to Market...

Adam and I have two markets near our house that have become our favorites :) These aren't the flashiest markets or biggest markets... but they have their own fun :) We call the one in the pic below our M-town Market because it reminds us of M-town, the prices are closer to M-town prices and we know were and how to get things in this market :)
The other night we were at this market and two of the "trash people" (people who pick up trash around the market) were fighting (just yelling) at each other... and in true South Asia style, it took about 2 seconds for everyone to gather. You can't see that well in this picture, but everyone in the market flocked to the scene. It's kinda like in elementary school where there's a fight and everyone comes running to see it.... but faster... it only takes a second for everyone to get there.... it's pretty funny. I didn't describe it very well, but you might get the picture :)
There's another small market by our house that has become one of our favorites. It's a market made up of people/sellers from the far East of our country, so the language is different, the food is different and it's just plain fun to walk through. We found a place there that rents movies (good ones and not theatre copies), a guy that makes GREAT egg burritos, some crazy veggies that are shipped over from the far East, some awesome Pakora (battered and fried veggies - yum!) and even a Baskin' Robbins!! The Baskin' Robbins is funny in that market - it doesn't really fit in, but it's wonderful! It's a VERY tiny shop... there's room for maybe 4 people to stand inside and they usually have 21 flavors and not 31, but it ROCKS! Yesterday they had mint chocolate chip - yum!!

Anyway, yesterday we went out to rent a movie and get some ice cream, burritos and other fun snacks... and at one of the sweet shops we saw these cookies... At first I thought these were cool because they had mine and Adam's initials on them (AS)... but then the shape of them confused me... they kinda look like rear ends... so I thought I would post them because they were funny looking - and I hope that I'm totally (and cluelessly) not posting something totally inappropriate :) I just thought they were funny :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Applesauce & Friends :)

By Request... here's the Applesauce Recipe!

Peel, core and cut up 5-6 medium apples.(golden delicious is a good sweet variety). (I used 8 apples and more water). You can do big chunks. they don't have to be tiny (I did smaller, it cooked faster). In large sauce pan place apples and 1/2 cup water and 1 T lemon juice. Heat to boiling and then turn heat down to medium low. Simmer the apples until soft. About 10-15 minutes. Blend up apples (hand blender or food processor). Add Cinnamon and brown sugar (or regular sugar) to taste. Pretty easy hunh? It's really good too!!

And... since I hate to post a blog without a picture.... here's a pic from this week at my fave coffee shop here... Look how huge my stomach is! It makes my head look small - haha!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Random Food Post...

So this is a random post (and probably not the most exciting :) but I wanted to introduce you to one of my favorite fruits! I never saw these in America, but maybe they have them in South Florida or South Texas or something... Anyway, here it's called Chikoo or Chiku... I think the name it might go by in America is "Sapodilla"... Anyway it's REALLY good! Totally my kind of fruit! It tastes like brown sugar! YUM!! They have these big black seeds in them too - pretty cool :) On another food note... I made Applesauce for the first time this week... I didn't realize how easy it was to make and MAN! it's good! (Even if I do say so my self :))... I can't believe how many things I've learned to make from scratch since living here :) I crack up when I look at websites and they have recipies you can make "from scratch" and the ingredients include things like a can of frozen biscuits, a can of beans, etc - haha!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Two Different Worlds

One of the cool things about the city we live in is that it really is a mix of two different worlds... Yesterday I was having a bad day... a mix of being pregnant :) and things not going quite right... so Adam decided to take me out to have some fun :) I haven't been able to go out much because if I get just a little bit hot, then I get sick (I'm sure you guys already know that though... I've mentioned that a lot - sorry....)... Well, around 5:00 pm it was feeling great outside, so Adam and I left to go to a cool Gardens area...
This garden area was established in the 15th-16th century by the Sayyids and Lodis - so it's really old.. there are tombs and old ruins all over... there were parrots, crazy chirping birds, and lots of grass!!
Well, we got there and it was starting to get dark... we wanted to take some pictures... so we pulled out the tripod and adjusted it and finally got it ready... we took the first picture (which didn't turn out very well) and one of the park guards came up to us and told us that we can't use a tripod in the park - what?? So, needless to say, we only got one picture... here it is below:
So after our failed picture attempt and a couple of games of cards, we decided to go to a market area that was close by and eat some dinner... one of our favorite restaurants (The Big Chill) is in that market and actually makes western food that tastes western - it's great! We had dinner there and noticed a new place next to it called Chocola... Well, we just had to check it out... We walked inside and MAN - it really was like another world in there!... It was fancy! They had TONS of chocolates and chocolate choices on their menu - it was sooo cool and super fancy! In the pic below you can see Adam with one of the chocolates he ordered. In the background you can see those lighted boxes (that look like fancy jewelry displays)... those are the boxes that hold the different chocolates they make - super fancy!
No little chocolates for me though... this pregnant woman needed some chocolate yesterday!!! OK, picture this... homemade chocolate ice cream, with chocolate fudge sauce on top, with chocolate pieces, and chocolate covered almonds - all on top of homemade chocolate chip cookie... Are you ready for this?? Check out what I got!!! Oh, and it was only about $3 :)
It's cool to live in a city that's so old, but yet has some really new things too... it's pretty fun :) YUM!