Monday, January 01, 2007

a day of travel

Miss D and I went with some Indian friends on an adventure today. They took us to two Indian temples. It was fascinating to walk around and see all the colorful sights, the decorations, the way people dressed, to watch the priests blessing people. Of course since everything was in Hindi we did not understand a single word but I know I could feel that aura of spiritual togetherness. It was a really unique moment.

After visiting the temples and stopping to chat with and be introduced to many people and share many sweets (and I am talking really sweet here) we went to the market. Wandered around admiring all the jewelry, sari's, household implements, listened to lots of really loud Indian music coming from the shops and smelled all the difference incense wafting onto the street. Miss D was very taken with the bangles and somehow managed to purchase an enormous collection of them and very happily played with making patterns on her arm. Very bright and sparkly, she plans to wear all of them to school tomorrow.

Next we went to a buffet restaurant. I thought the food was pretty good although I admit their palak paneer wasn't as good as my friend's homemade version. My friends all thought the food was rather poor. Later it occurred to me that it was probably spiced more for my (more delicate) palate and their complaint was due to the fact that it wasn't spicy enough. Lucky for D and me, otherwise we would have been relegated to rice, naan and yoghurt for dinner.

After dinner it was on to the Indian food market. Wow! Lots of stuff that I have no idea what to do with, lots of stuff in amazing bulk qualities (8 pounds of dried chickpeas anyone?), just lots of stuff. I love going into grocery stores from other cultures. Unfortunately I don't always know what everything is for so am usually relegated to buying what I know or what I can get a suggestion for. But it's still really fun to wander and explore. One thing that amazed me was that this store carried 10 different kinds of white rice. Parboiled - 3 kinds, Jasmine - 1 kind, Indhi (?? It looked like short grain Japanese rice to me) - 1 kind, Basmati - 5 kinds. That's a lot of rice. I did buy some mango pulp to use to make Mango Lassi which we had at the restaurant and which was delicious. I've had a Sweet Lassi before but never Mango. According to my friends they don't blend in the ice cubes but rather pour the other ingredients over the ice so that it's not as thick. D at first refused one and then when I convinced her to taste it (she loves mango and I told her it tasted like a mango smoothie) wound up drinking most of mine.

Full, shopped out, tired, we all piled back into the car for the drive home. Thank goodness I wasn't driving because it was an action-packed day.

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