Thursday, January 31, 2008

Red & Black Mendhi HNT

On Monday, I shared my post, Attack of the Mendhi Twins in which I tell about my hands being stamped with textile printing ink while in Bangalore.

A couple of weeks later while in Delhi, I got my hands and arms hennaed again, only this time for real. What you see is black and red henna. First the outline is drawn with the black and then filled in with the red. It takes about three hours to dry. That's long enough to smoke 2 beedees, drink three cups of chai, chat with crazy Russians, imposter as a travel agent as I assist a Frenchman inquiring about Kerala, and listen to a handful of c/ds.

Oh yeah! I got my feets done too.
Happy HNT, Everyone!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Happy Wednesday

Gack! Is it Wednesday already? I have to work in the store today.
I have been pretty busy with some new ideas and my new stash of fabrics that I brought back from India. I am so excited about my latest design which is inspired stolen from the red jacket I am wearing in this picture. I bought this jacket in Hampi and it is was so gosh darn comfy and stylish I just had to make some for my own shops!! I say it WAS comfy because alas, I had to sacrifice it to make the pattern.
By the way, this is my travel agent friend, Mubarik. We are hanging out on a rooftop restaurant in Pahar Ganj. Believe it or not, it's freezing up there!

And here's one of my first jackets....Now I have been told by someone that it reminds them of a Star Wars character...OK, now that's funny because I think they are sortof right, it is kindof gnomish or futuristic in a old school sort of way. What?
It looks fabulous on all sorts of bodies and it comes in lots of colors, not just the Star Wars ones!
BTW, it is never the Barefoot Mistress' (es? what?) intention to sell my wares on this blog, but should it happen, as they say in India, "why not?"
Have a great day, see you for HNT!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Attack of the Mendhi Twins & Musical Monday

Ok see those little wooden pieces on the green cloth there? Those are hand carved blocks for printing Indian textiles. I am trying to buy them but these two terrors each grab a hand and begin madly stamping me! Now by the strong chemical smell I know immediately that this isn't henna but textile printing ink that they are embellishing me with!
So after the hand rape I successfully barter for three of the wood blocks.
Once back to the hotel I washed my arms and hands and was left with an awesome henna looking design, and this weird tingling feeling in my arms and hands for about two days.
What you guys can't see is that 5 days later my skin started peeling off from the ink. I now have a lovely paisley shaped scar on my left arm where the ink seems to have, erm, caused the most damage.
Ok, but fear not! About four days later I returned and found the same ladies on the street and I haggled my ass off until I got 4 more wood blocks for quite the dealsteal.
In a rickshaw after the "attack!"
Ok here's the Musical Part....
When I am in India, I watch a lot of tv at night. At home, I don't have television, so channel surfing is a rare treat reserved only for journeys involving hotel rooms. I have by this time a few favorites that I look forward to watching such as Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Travel and Leisure, MTV India and FTV.
FTV is all fashion all the time, and the locals call it "Indian porn" because they get to oogle at semi bare breasted models parading down various worldly runways. (Imagine this, it's Friday night in the village, and all the men have gathered at the only tea stall in town with a tv to watch Fashion TV. It's an amusing image that, no matter how hard I try, I cannot erase from my memory.) As much as they love their models, so do I. But alas! I do believe that FTV has been removed from the menus of Indian televisions so as to calm the lingam!
Of course there are plenty of Indian channels broadcasting religion, subcontinental novellas, old Hindi films, Bollywood, news, all in Hindi of course, and then again, in English, or Kannada, or Telag....Telagu...something like that...
I totally forgot where I was going with this...Oh yeah! That also every year in India, I find at least one new band, musician or whatever to get into. (It's NEVER an Indian performer, lol!)
This year I discovered Des'ree. Now remember, I'm an American with no tv, in India, watching international tv, so I have no idea if any of you have heard of Des'ree or not, or even where she's from. So here she is, Des'ree singing Life. I really like this song, it's happy and fun and uplifting. I hope you will enjoy it too.
I want my FTV!

**UPDATE** LOL Ok, Bryan has come up with this hilarious bit about Des'ree.
In spring of 2007, Des'ree was voted the worst pop lyricist of all time for the song "Life" according to a BBC Radio poll.
Now isn't that just like me to pick someone with that sorta fame..sigh. Better not watch it then, I know you'll hate it!
I never said she was awesome, I just said that I liked the song, sheesh!

Friday, January 25, 2008

55Flash Fiction Friday

A pocket full of licorice sticks
Velvet boxes filled with something sparkly
Long satin evening gloves
India ink spilled on paper
Half a zebra
The outside of an Oreo
Leather motorcycle boots
Underneath a blanket with no flashlight
Dark chocolate
Last but not least
Miss Guptaji Sue

Say hello to our new kitty, Gupta. She is black, she is tiny, and her teeth and claws are damn sharp! She has to be tough around here, because Oaty is not pleased about this new development, and has been throwing her weight around.
Be sure to run around and check out everyones 55, and let us know if you played. If you need to know more about 55, check out the pink and white 55 button on my sidebar! Join us every Friday for the fun.
Have an awesome weekend, everyone!

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Why yes, yes they do serve everything from buckets at MTR!
While in Bangalore everyone simply must visit MTR, the Mavalli Tiffin Room. This place isn't fancy, but the food is awesome, and you will simply wait for hours on a busy Sunday to eat there, but let me tell you, it will be worth the wait. It'll cost you just rs 80 to dine on this 15 course feast, that's about $2.00, and I don't know about you, but I cannot finish 15 courses. I think I quit at number 8 or 9.
The Mavalli Tiffin Room ok wait, nobody calls it that...MTR was started in 1924 and have lived up to their reputation for good tasting, healthy and clean food. In fact, they are so proud of their reputation for cleanliness that the entrance to the restaurant used to be right through the kitchen! I suppose that local restaurant health regulations put an end to that, but my goodness, this is India...a restaurant with health regulations? I'm so eating there!
The food is simple, typical South Indian deliciousness such as yellow dahl, chapati, semolina, murg makani, veg pulao.....obviously I don't even know the names of all 15 courses! At the end, apples and pears in their own sauce with a tiny adorable scoop of the most yummy vanilla ice cream on top! This we were served as we tried to duck out the back stairs guessed it, the kitchen! Meeting us halfway up the stairs came the waiters with trays of that teeny ice cream and insisted we at least take course #15! But of course, who are we to refuse?
Then out through the kitchen we went, all senses happily fed.
If you want to know more about MTR, you can, because by golly, even Wikipedia knows about MTR!
And now so does Mr Ratburn!
Get out of the way, betas, somebody is in Bangalore, and boy is he hungry! So while Mr Ratburn is busy eating, I will just get to know my pals here that I have met in Lal Bagh Park! They are all 15 years old and in the 10th standard. Most of these lovely kids were taller than me and made sure that I knew it! Indian teenagers are so interested in people from other countries, so we had a lot of fun chatting with these awesome kids!

Happy HNT Everyone!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Hampi 2007

All photos this post by Mr Ratburn

Hanging around in Hampi. December 2007

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Salcete, Goa

Morning cow bath

What's for lunch?

Gary takes on the Arabian Sea

January 2, 2008

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Veggie Costume Envy

Lime has just shared this bit of veggie costume memorabilia with me. Man, sometimes not having tv is just wrong. How could I be missing out on such awesome commercials? OK, the best part about the entire commercial is at the end when they build the hamburger, each lady grunting and oofing as they fall onto the bun! Hilarious, and the costumes, fabulous.

I have to have the lettuce outfit, oh, and the tomato dress as well! How about you?

Have an awesome weekend, everybody!

Friday, January 18, 2008

55 Flash Fiction Friday

Cheap Thrills
Cheeseburger with the works and a side of fries.
Patty melt, rye bread, swiss cheese, more fries.
Avocado, lettuce, cucumber, jack cheese on dutch crunch roll.
Homemade Tacos!
Eating Moose tracks out of the gallon drum with a long spoon.
Six ice cold cokes.
Taking a drink of tap water I know won't kill me.

Hello everyone! My first back from India 55 is about food of course! I have spent the entire week eating, you would be so proud! Nothing like fattening American food, right folks?
So, be sure to let us know if you wrote a 55, and hopefully everyone will get around and read each others stuff. Have a great weekend everyone and ohhhh! I almost forgot!
Thank you,
G~man ,for hosting 55 Flash Fiction Friday while I was gone, and just so you all know, if you prefer it or are just too darn trained to do any other way, that you can report your 55 on G~mans blog as well, or even instead!
Have a great weekend! It sure is awesome to be back.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Chillin In Goa HNT

We had a fabulous time in India, betas! Just in case you were wondering, there is no shortage of Kingfisher in Goa.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

India Visuals

Bangalore~ Christmas Eve 2007

Commercial Street, Bangalore

Banana leaf dinnerware, Bangalore

Stone dinnerware, Hampi

Monday, January 14, 2008

On With The Visuals...

Jaipur, Rajasthan

Our new friend, Abdul, playing one of his handmade drums. Hampi 12/27/07

Back To Black

Amy rocks.

I Love My Country and Musical Monday

Hi everyone! I am baaaaack! Thank goodness. Today I am taking myself out for a patty melt and fries, and ice cold, not lukewarm coke. I am so excited about that. Cheap thrills right?
So, how was my flight? I would rather have been strapped to the nose of the plane all the way home. At least that way, there would have been some legroom and some fresh air.
As for the food, my god, are they out of their everloving minds for the absolute crap they serve on airplanes and dare to call it food? Just ghastly, all airlines, all meals, unedible.
It's pretty bad when someone 5'1" yearns for legroom, that is all I can say. Do you know, that in all flights the taller people next to me were stealing my legroom, and elbow room, and I had to keep thrusting my limbs back into my space. I felt bad for them, but i'm not gonna sardine up for them.
Ok so I had 15 hours before I left Delhi without a hotel room. Indira Ghandi Int'l is a nightmare, incidentally. The people that work in that airport are just morons. Except for the Kingfisher Airlines employees, by the way, who in my opinion are bar none, the BEST airline in India. Kingfisher Airlines is owned by Indian business tycoon and GENIUS, Vijay Mallya, whose estate, incidentally is directly across the street from my pal Mahesh' residence! I'm telling you, they ought to start flying out of India, and I would use only them. Kingfisher not only makes rocking beer, but they definitely put Lufthansa to shame.
More on Lufthansa later.
But ok, an 11 hour flight after the 15 hours, then an 8 hour wait in Frankfurt airport. Now there you will find efficiency, and I am so sorry, but you will consistently find the ABSOLUTE RUDEST humans on the fucking planet. My god, what is that matter with those people? If an airport or airline employee acted that way in the US, they would find themselves unemployed, end of story.
And another thing about Europe. As if it didn't kill me enough that exchanging my handful of leftover rupess amounting to about $45. US Dollars, only gave me 17 Euros, imagine the anger and shame I felt when I saw handfuls of Indians, Africans, villagers in the airport, knowing that they had spent probably their life savings to go whereever they were going, but to KNOW that no way could they eat or buy even a bottle of water in that fucking airport. There is something very unfair about a bottle of drinking water costing $5 US dollars, don't you think? And, incidentally, German tap water will probably not kill you, but it tastes awful. My heart broke over and over, seeing Indian men and their families, standing wide eyed, shocked, looking at the food that they simply could not afford to buy.
Allow me to continue to berate the Frankfurt airport please. Ok, they were remodeling, and the entire ceiling was open and all the pipes electricity and whatnots were hanging out all over, and so I guess they decided, why let all that heat out through the ceiling, let's just skip the heat all together. Mind you it was -14 C outside, and nearly as cold in the airport. People were walking around with fur coats, boots and blankets wrapped about them. Would it have hurt those fuckers to turn on the heat? It was horrible.
Now, Lufthansa is the only airline that can get me from SFO to Bangalore in just two flights, so I use them, but man, they SUCK. That is, unless you have a few extra thousand dollars for first class. But, can you imagine paying $6,000 to fly to India? That is insane.
I had a good laugh with the woman next to me that while the people upstairs in their suites were enjoying lived boiled lobsters on their china plates while drinking champagne, that they would soon be tossing up a bag of chips into the air in economy, popping the bag as it came down. Those lucky enough to get some of those chips would eat, the rest would starve. We got really silly saying stuff like ok now they will run down the aisle with a cold stinky mop, slapping our faces with it, while upstairs they enjoyed hot showers and egyptian cotton towels. We got to laughing so hard that people around us started joining in with the Lufthansa berate. I nearly split a seam when the 6'4" man in front of us, who was clearly physically uncomfortable said that next time he gets on a Lufthansa flight he will bring his removable legs and place them in the overhead!
Ok, so after 8 hours in that hellhole, I got on my plane only to find that there were mechanical issues, and so there we sat for two more hours while the problem was repaired. The problem? One of the overhead bins would not latch and so they had to call in the experts. See, I would have done what Air India does, and whipped out my trusty duct tape and taped that damn thing shut, it's just luggage sheesh. Also, they could have emptied that overhead so that nothing could have fallen on anyone had it opened.
OK so 11 more hours of flight, awful food, grumpy ass stewardesses who acted entirely put out by my request for my own box of tissues since I have gotten a lousy cold and my nose was dripping uncontrollably. After suggesting I head to the bathrooms each time, I scoffed and pointed to the food carts, bearing that disgusting vile putrid stuff called "food", which were currently blocking both ends of the aisles leading to the bathrooms. One of the grumpy stewardesses then tossed some of those rough paper towels and me and told me to sit down!
OMFG! I just want a tissue, you bitch!
OK so about an hour later, another stewardess storms up to my seat and practically throws the box of tissues at me! Gee thanks, ma'am, why not just slap me over the head with it instead, it might knock some of this phlegm loose!
Ok soooo finally I get to SFO...thank god, and there is my Gary and Little Rita with hugs, turkey sandwich, icey cokes and a warm ride home. And yes, when I got home, I did kiss the ground.
Today I am just having fun playing with my giant fabric stash. This year, thanks to Mr Garys extra suitcases, I spent no money on shipping yet brought home more textiles than ever!
BTW, I made it home with .20 of a euro....I dont know if its called cents or what, and about 1.75 in US coins. I thought I was cutting it close last year, with only $9.00 in rupees left.
So, I know that was a bit of a rant, and it is musical Monday, so I will go find something patriotic to post. YES, I do love America. We might have an asshat for a president, and we might be pigs for oil, but we are nice, and kind and friendly and we know how to wait in lines, and how to be polite to each other, and we clean our public toilets regularly, and we smile.
It's good to be home.
Ok Brookers, take it from here......

Saturday, January 12, 2008

And So Finally......

Well, today was my last day in Delhi and now I am loitering in the lobby of my hotel, wasting time at the computer. I have 5 hours before I leave for the airport. Do you think I could waste 5 hours in the lobby? Let's see how creative I can get.
I have been thinking about patty melts, french fries and ice cold cokes. The best thing about starving in India is coming home and eating all that fattening stuff, and maybe even some ice cream or something!
Today I met some really cool ladies from Shanghai, who studied in San Jose. They are going to Goa so I told them about the place that I usually stay in Colva. I feel like such a seasoned traveler in India, especially for South India. I have to be careful though because when the girls asked me about Jaipur, I scowled and then I noticed the travel agent guys giving me the eye. OOPS! They had just booked train tickets to Jaipur. La la laaaa!

Today I scored 16 really cool hippie dresses and some other stuff, chilled out on the rooftops with Mubarik, played salesgirl in Mubariks shop, and it was a good thing I was there because this Chinese woman wanted pants for men, and these crazy Kashmiri guys were showing her peach and purple pants. NO NO I said, get out the navy blue and the dark green. Ok that worked she then bought the pants I chose for her. That was even more fun than playing travel agent. I told them, you have to have a woman in this shop, you guys dont know what the hell you are doing!
Ok so, hopefully all will be well with the airline. It is definitely not foggy so I think it will all go ok.
I am off to rearrange the stash!
See you on the other side, and thank you all for your companionship. Really, having you here means more than you know, my bloggy pals!
Love Susie

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hi everyone! I am in Pahar Ganj, hanging out with my travel agent pal, Mubarik. I have just walked in and met all of his cousins! There is a French couple in the front room purchasing Kashmiri stuff from Mubarik. I am back in the office LMAO at the goings on out there. The wheeling and dealing as they say.
This French lady is a pretty tough business woman, but Mubarik is tougher. And, as Mubarik would say, business takes a little bit of sense and a lot of faith in God. (When I talk about God, don't be thinking that I am getting all religious on you. God to me, and God to you, it might be different, but really, it is all the same, it is love and it is hope and it is faith, it is goodness.)
However, they are all raising their voices and I hear French, English, Hinglish, Arabic, Hindi all mixed together! Hilarious.

My goal today is to get some mendhi on my hands and arms, and to get some tea for Gary and I, and also for my good pal, SSS and Miss Pizza. Oh I think I know someone else that loves tea, but she prefers English tea...perhaps she wouldnt mind some darjeeling for her guest though, what say, Miss Lo?

Other than that, there will be much chilling on the roof, much tea drank, much god knows what else......LOL....ah, you have to love the rooftops of India. It is where all the action is, but you have to go deeper to get up to the roof! You have to know people.

I am having so much fun sitting behind Mubariks desk, and a French man just came in, sat down at "my" desk and started enquiring about Kerala. I just loved pretending I work here! Today I am wearing a salwar kameez, so I do look like a local.

I don't expect any more problems except for the flight. Every winter, Delhi has terrible fog and if that happens, I might get stuck here for a day. Let's hope not, I want to go home. Additionally, there is the weight of my bags, I am pretty sure that I have exceeded my 100 pound limit so I will be stuffing the heavy items into my pockets, my carryon and however else I can get away with it. You have to figure that the airline has plenty of extra weight allowance because they do not weigh people. Anyway, whipping out a credit card will solve all problems with airlines!

More later....the henna guy is here. Can you believe it? Mendhi delivery!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


After you read this, you will know why I posted this picture!

OK people, you are not going to believe the hell I have just gone through, but first, I will tell you about the good part of my Wednesday in Jaipur. I had lots of fun walking through the funky neighborhoods, taking pics and chatting with people. I bought Little Rita some Jaipuri shoes, and some other trinkets.

Then, since the previous day, I had found a clean place to eat, I went back there again with my driver, whos name is Aslan, not Amran or whatever I called him yesterday.....anyway, he wouldn't eat anything there....I bought him a coffee, and I think, it was just too fancy for him with all that fluffy milk and whatever they put in coffee. You know, I know nothing about coffee, but I just think it was TOO TOO for him.

Ok so after we did that, I asked him to take me to see this really fancy overpriced store that is called Anoki. Anoki specializes in block printed fabrics, my favorite, and the reason for the extra cost is the quality in the workmanship. Additionally, their workers are treated very well, paid fairly, and they do NOT hire children. I was so tempted to whip out the credit card to fetch some of that beautiful stuff, but since Aslan was with me, I simply could not, no way. I mean, just one bedcover cost more than he makes in two days. I just had to restrain myself and only look, muttering now and then, "too much", "too expensive", and stuff like that. In retrospect, I did the right thing.

Ok so then I wanted to see some elephants, so off we went to the elephant market, where for 2 1/2 lakhs you can buy an elephant! So I told Aslan, lets pretend we want to buy one, "OK madam, with me anything is possible", Aslan said to me for the 50th time! Ok how much money is 2 1/2 lakhs? I think thats about 6,500 US dollars. Anyway, we took some pictures of the elephants, and pretended that we wanted to buy one. While I was wondering whether to kick the tires or check under the hood, the elephant that I was looking at suddenly wrapped her trunk around my waist and then I think it wanted to lift me but I screamed and it let go. I was not ready and I did not see that coming or I would have let her lift me.

After petting the elephant and contemplating a test drive, I turned my attn to the camels. The camel wallah let me lead the camel around by its rope but there were its huge teeth looming over my head....I was a little afraid but still it was fun and yes yes yes pictures next week, I promise!

Ok so after awhile the mahout (elephant guy) figured out that we were just taking the piss with him (taking a piss means just pulling his leg, thanks Ian, for that term!) and he got irritated, demanded money for the picture taking. So I started tossing 10 rupee notes at him. Ok now the camel wallah is mad cuz I didn't give him rupees so he runs over to the mahout and yells at him to give some of the rupees. Im yelling "WAIT WAIT" because I have more rupees for him, I just haven't gotten them out yet. So then I toss some rupees at him and Aslan grabs my arm and pulls me to the rickshaw. "You are very bad, madam", he said, because the men really thought I was going to buy an elephant! OMG! Ok, but if you were buying a car, would you buy the first car you saw, or would you look at a few? I say look at a few.

Ok anyway, I then had to get some more awesome bedspreads, which Jaipur is famous for, so Aslan took me to a really cool place where they do block printing. I watched these men make bedspreads for an hour while the guy explained the process, but told me "no pictures, madam".

It's ok, he doesn't know that I am totally visual and do not need pictures. This tour and the process, the dyes used, the set up, I will remember forever, no pictures needed.

Then I bought 15 bedspreads, all exquisite! Of course, I only pay Indian prices, and since I tell everyone in North India that I am live in Bangalore, they treat me better. Now, up here, everyone thinks I am Chinese! Hilarious! I know it's my eyes, but if you put me next to a chinese person, there is just no resemblance. Then they start guessing....."red Indian"? (thats what they call native americans), Nepali?, Mexican?, Eskimo? LOL Too funny.

Ok, here is where the hell begins, so strap yourself in.

I go back to my hotel to fetch my stuff, which is now a whopping 75 pounds and remember now Im like 115 pounds and not exactly Mrs Muscles! Aslan helped me of course, and then carried my backpack to the train station. Aslan by the way, can't weigh more than me, I think. Ok so he says goodbye, and off he goes.

Then I met a man from Bangalore. He works on MG Road in the Ebony building! Oh wow, do I know that neighborhood well! So we chatted for awhile and I started to wonder why my train listing was not there but his train to Bangalore was. So, I knew I could trust him, I left him with my bags and ran off to figure out where my train was.
Are you ready?
"Madam, your train left at 4:45 not 5:45!" ARGHHHHH!!!!! Well, that's funny becaue my ticket clearly says 17:45 and that is 5:45 pm is it not? The train guy laughs and says, "Mistake, madam." Ok, so i run back to the guy from B'lore, he helps me on with my pack and I put the smaller pack on the front and the bundle of bedspreads on top of the small pack and make a run stagger for the tourist office, which thank god was still open. Now, in this office I met the nicest man named Alok Saxani, and if you should ever get in a jam in Jaipur, even if it's not a train issue, go see this man, he will save you!

Alok told me my choices to escape Jaipur which included staying one more night, but having to find a different hotel since mine was full, taking the bus which leaves every half hour but it's not near the train and I have all that stuff and it's getting dark and the bus has no bathroom etc, or flying at 7:340 am to Delhi but the airport is far away, OR paying a driver to take me to Delhi right away. How much? $150.00 US dollars! Ok I dumped my purse out on the counter and begin furiously counting my money, including my emergency $100 US dollars...ok, I have enough money to pay them and then I am now a beggar too.

Ok so the driver comes right to the train station, comes in, carries my bags to his car. Ok so the drive to Delhi was pretty painless except for they stopped for tea breaks alot and no toiletsssssss, what do they care, men in India pee on everything and everywhere they can. "Tea, madam?" they ask. Hell bladder is bursting already. As they lounge in this goofy outdoor tea stall in the middle of nowhere watching Indian TV al fresco, drinking tea, I sit in the car and try to scout out a ..well, a bathroom kinda sorta if you know what I mean...any tree, anywhere...but no, since men pee wherever and whenever in India, and generally Indian women do not go out at night, so why make them a bathroom? WHY INDEED? ARGH!

Ok so, you wouldn't believe the traffic from Jaipur to Delhi in the middle of the night! Unreal!

Finally we get to Delhi and from the highway, I get to see Southwest Delhi, the modern big building part, the part I have never seen. Pretty spiffy, so that's where all the rich Delhi~ites hang out....

OK so then we can't find my hotel, the one I had to get in an emergency. Now believe me when I tell you Karenji, this hotel made the Taj Khema look like the Taj West End. I have never in my life seen a more disgusting hotel.

But let me back up here, the men that drove me to Delhi, so nice, gentleman, kind, pretty ok English, but cannot read English so I had to get out of the car and ask for directions showing my map etc. Ok so this fancy looking Indian man in a suit comes up to us and offers to help. He whips out his cell phone and calls the hotel, but then halfway through the call, he simply gives up and instead decides to see if he can grope me. I'm leaning on the trunk looking at the map, and he leans over me and presses against me, at the VERY SAME TIME, a beggar lady comes up and starts pestering me for money. Ok, these two driver guys, are too stunned and too innocent for the big city, and they clearly do NOT know how to handle this.


Like a volcano I exploded all over the drubk pervert in the one lakh suit, I turn on him, drive my elbow into his gut as hard as I can and bring my knee up, which misses his crotch that I was aiming for but he does get a pretty good knee into the groin and he backs off and starts calling me Maa Chod (motherfucker!). Ok so I yell, "get the fuck away from me you asshole or I will rip your balls off with my bare hands and make you eat them you pig!" He runs off! The drivers are stunned. The beggar lady is still there with her hand out through all of this! OK now it's her turn. "Why don't you get a fucking real job you lazy bitch and get the fuck away from me", I yell, and she runs off too.

Mind you, beggar families in India make a lot of fucking money. In fact, since they have all their children out begging on the streets, they make more money than all these hard working people in India. So, having done the math, and having been told about that, I will never again give money to beggars again. Never!

OK so now I get to the hotel that I had to find because the drivers could not. The sign is like 1 foot by 1 foot among all these giant signs, no wonder we missed it. So, they leave me there. Now it's raining and thundering in Delhi and I am now climbing up three flights of stairs with the 75 pounds of stuff. Whatever happened to all those greedy little fuckers that are willing to carry your bags for 10 rupees? They are ALL drunk in the street, that's what! I kid you not, I had to pull myself up the three flights because the bag was so heavy and the stairs in India, to save space, are very steep, knee crunching.....ok so I get up there, the three boys that work there are staring at me like DUHHHH WHO ARE YOU? So after 15 minutes I get a room, and it is the ugliest room I have ever seen in my life. So I asked in advance if they took credit cards, and they said yes, but of course, these morons said NO.....I went off on them and then the guy says ok go down to the restaurant and pay for the room, so I do because the restaurant takes credit cards. Then I have to pee so bad I go back to my room and enter the bathroom which smells like urine and I pee and flush and the water just gushes out all over the floor! Ok now that did it.

I stormed out of that room, as a rat ran by my feet, stormed to the office, where the three idiots are smoking marijuana and now I understand why they are staring at me like morons, they are wasted.

I want my money back and I am leaving now. No refund madam! I began to pound on the desk, "give me my money back NOW I refuse to stay in this filthy shitty hotel for one more second." He calls the boss who says ok you can have a partial refund. What the fuck???? NO give it ALL to me, NOW! "If you come back tomorrow madam, and talk to the manager..."

"NO !! NOW! I WANT MY MONEY NOW, every fucking penny you asshole!" So he calls another manager, a woman who tries to talk me into staying in the room for half rate. "Madam, I said, the bathroom smells like pee, the toilet is broken, the sheets are dirty, there are rats, the walls are filthy with katsup or some other red shit.....I would not stay here for free, in fact I would rather sleep on the street!" So, I had to use this oopportunity to let her know that her workers were not working at all, but in fact, were smoking pot and were too high and stupid to even handle ONE customer. She was furious and asked me to hand the phone back to the boy. I could hear her yelling at him in Hindi, and well, perhaps that boy is now unemployed, but you know what, FUCK him, he was a fucking moron.

Ok so now, I get all my stuff, I get almost all my money back, he insisted on keeping the room tax and 2% credit card fee, which amounted to $6.00....I thought about reaching over in to his cash box and taking hte rest of the money myself. Let me tell you, young Indian men are skinny, small and not very worldly, and had I done that, I probably would have gotten away with it.

Ok so I get my most of my money back and I use their phone and start calling hotels, which wasn't working out too well. Then I decided to call the hotel I normally stay in, and miracle, they had a room only because the customers left two hours before. "Come right away madam, we will clean the room for you!" OK
So I get down the three flights, my knees crunching the entire time from the weight. It's now 1:45 am, and raining and yeah, the bags. Do you think I could find an English speaking rickshaw driver? NOPE! I was so pissed with 1o rickshaw drivers all around me, yelling "Where you want go madam?" Noone knows where my hotel is, although I know it's like a five minute walk from there. Finally an older driver, with great English shows up and he wants 150 rupees to take me around the block. However, he speaks English and knows where my hotel is so I go for it. Then I smell the liquor on his breath. OH FUCK ME NOW.

Ok but he does know where it is, and when I get out, I tell him 100 rupees only come one, I am so broke.....and I give him 100 even though its a rip off and I jump out, dragging my backpack on the ground at this point. He drives off, it's raining, the gate to my hotel is locked, it's 2 am. So, I had to yell and pound until they heard me and came out. Ok, once inside the gates of the YWCA International Guest House on 10 Sansad Marg, near Connaught Circus, I knew I was going to be ok. I have put the entire name, because it is the BEST affordable hotel in Delhi and the people are angels.

So, I get my overpriced room but I do NOT care, there is a clean bathroom, no rats, a tv, a clean bed, two clean beds, a heater, hot(ish) water, and I am finally home. Time from hotel in Jaipur to hotel in Delhi, 9 hours.
My god, I cannot believe my night. Now, as it turns out, I get to stay here all three nights, although I have to move rooms, but I do not care. I found a bank, got a cash advance, after they harrassed be because my credit card says SUSIE and my passport says SUSAN....finally got some rupees, now I need to find something to eat because the restaurant near my hotel is closed for remodeling. That was my food in Delhi and now I need to stake out some clean food elsewhere. Delhi though, is like Los Angeles, sprawling, gigantic, just frightening.

OK so glad I brought some raisins, peanuts, and granola with me because that is all I have had since noon yesterday.

And, above all, congratulate myself for surviving last night AND for having the forsight to buy whiskey in Jaipur because after a night like that, a shot of whiskey is a little bit of heaven at 2 am!
I am ok now, off to find some food and smaller clothes! BTW I look like a bloody dirty tramp, my pants are filthy and hanging off. I just cannot stand it.

I will not jump, I will fly.

Love Susie

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A Better Day In Jaipur

Jaipur Kite Festival

Ok people.....just when you are ready to jump off of a roof, things get better. That is so India for you. Today my driver that I met yesterday took me to a few touristy places which was actually quite fun. This was after I told him no bullshit, no handicraft museums, nothing, or I would ditch him.
He promised to behave. So, today I got to ride a camel, and hang around with monkeys, and met a very cool vendor who sold me some tshirts and a painting for a really reasonable price, no bargaining needed. Last night, I begged the powers that be to turn this around because a roof I do not want to jump from!
Ok so, the driver is a drummer with a broken drum. So, instead of paying him, I told him, why don't we just get you a drum. So that we did! No amount of money could equal the smile on his face when he got that drum in his hands!
Then you guys, you are not going to believe this....Aslam look me to his home to meet his mom, and dad, brothers, sister in laws, and I lost count of how many kids I met. In Jaipur in January, they have a giant kite festival and so all the neighbors, who, not surprisingly, are all related to Aslam, are all on the rooftops flying kites and trying to knock down each others kites from the sky. Everytime a kite is hit, whoops and cheers go up from the rooftops!

On the grandmothers rooftop, we flew kites for an hour and I took about 25 photos of the children. They wanted me to dance for them, so I did. Of course, ALL the neighbors came up to meet me, and it was overwhelming, but I knew that this was a special moment, to be the only "foreigner" as they say, in that neighborhood, and everyone knew about it.
Then Aslams mother, whos name is Piji,
cooked rice and potatoes for the entire clan. Since I was the guest, I ate first and had the most. Now, I have been in India long enough to know, that I had to accept the food, and eat as much as I could, even while 10 little faces stood by my waiting for their food. I almost cried, but instead, I ate.
Now this entire family lives in a tiny three room house, a slum by anyones standards, but it was immaculately clean. This house was brick, no furniture at all, except for charpoys, which are handmade Indian beds, tipped up on their sides so that they could move about in this tiny place.
So there I sat, on a charpoy, 10 little angels sitting around me, waiting, pulling each others hair, fighting to be the one sitting next to me.
Finally after I was so stuffed, the little children took my plate and ate the rest of it. Again, I was the honored guest, and as much as I wanted to not eat so they could have more, I had to eat.
I am now at my hotel and I really need a bath...guess what? The water is ice cold...argh!
How can I complain after being with that family? I cannot.
I have been invited back to that families home tonight for a drumming session with the new drum! I am NOT going, I am exhausted, but at same time honored!
This is the way of India, one day you want to jump off the roof from horror, and the next thing you know, you are flying kites off the roof instead.
I touched.
Laters, betas!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Fresh HELL

I chose this photo because the google caption read:
The living HELL that is Jaipur, and I couldn't agree more...this street is actually pretty clean compared to the rest.

I am in Hell. What have I done to deserve this? I want to come home, I hate Jaipur, it is worse than Agra (my apologies, Mona). I am going to suffer through two days of this hell hole before I get back to Delhi and then three days there. Mind you, the hotel I am staying at is lovely, and I have two balconies and a bathtub which I plan to use tonight. I don't dare eat anything in this filthy place until I get to Anoki tomorrow, which is an expensive but clean and totally awesome art place with an organic restaurant that will probably cost the rest of my rupees!

I have to tell you, I am so sick of all this garbage, and people spitting, and staring, and trying to take me for all that I have. Somehow in this crazy country, many people have forgotten about honor and integrity, and I seem to be running into all those people. I don't know about you, but I would NEVER EVER litter, even in India. The garbage in the streets is just horrifying in Jaipur, and on top of these piles of garbage, lie pigs, cats, dogs, goats, and cows, all eating the garbage. I can't take it anymore.

I should have stayed in Bangalore, traffic and all. At least I have friends there, and know my way around.

Don't worry, I'm not sick or anything, just sick of was a lot more fun when Gary was here and now it is just a hell of a lot of work and I don't want to do it anymore.

To top it off, the people at my hotel in Delhi fucked up and didn't reserve me a room for Friday night which left me essentially homeless in can do! I had to call 20 places before I got a room for Friday, and also had to get a room for Wednesday night as I am going back to Delhi one day early. So, for W TH and F night I have three different hotels, which totally sucks, but can't suck as bad as Jaipur.


Ok I have to leave a positive note here. The rickshaw driver let me drive today through a slower part of town and that was the highlight of my day! I drove for 15 minutes and everyone was yelling "good job madam!" LOL I am now hooked, and I need to drive tomorrow too!
Over and out, tired, fed up, but ok.


Saturday, January 05, 2008

I'm in Delhi, No Belly!

Hi everyone I am in Delhi. It's cold here, if you can believe it. I am glad that I at least have my jeans and fleece.....Gary left yesterday and by now is on his way to Seattle to get Little Rita. They will be home on Sunday night, and I know Little Rita, you are dying to see your kitty! I'm sure the house is filthy with grass, leaves, dead rabbits, and whatever else that wild cat has dragged in over the past two weeks.
Today I am making some plans to get to Jaipur...there are four ways...train, bus, private car, or flying. Guess which one I am choosing? FLYINGGGGGG! I am so tired and that 11 hour train ride to and from Hampi was enough train for one year for me. Wish me luck....

Hope all is well in blogland and I will get back to you all soon!

Ok soooo, I guess I am not flying afterall....100 bucks each way, forget it! No way. So what does that mean for little Susie? A 5 1/2 hours train ride tomorrow and I have to leave my hotel at 5:15 am ewwwwww!!!! Oh well, I will be in Jaipur by noon! That's not so bad. You know, I figured, the flight was at 9 am anyway, and getting to the airport in Delhi is a total pain in the arse , and security and all that might in the end be quicker and less painless to take the train anyway. ARGH!
So, after I took my arse to the train station, I discovered a "foreigners only" office, "upstairs only, madam", and so I went and those guys up there, let me tell you, so fresh. I was glad there was a counter between us is all I can's the thing about Indian men, they all think that Western women are sluts, and they will immediately try to flirt with you. The very second you tell them to bugger off, they will.

Here's another cool thing that I don't think I told you about....In Bangalore on Friday, Gary and I got new wedding rings! Afterall, we have been married almost 20 years now. Unlike America, the groom in India wears his wedding ring on the right ring finger and the bride wears it on her right TOE! Yes, toe! Those of you that know me, just KNOW, this is so perfect for me. I wish I could now show you my new gold wedding band that is on my toe, but it will have to wait til I get home... I am thinking that will make a great HNT.....ok but here's what I have now noticed for the first time ever since I have been visitng India. The men look first at a womans feet, they then see the ring, and they leave you alone. I have noticed this already over and over in Bangalore and now today in Delhi. I just love it!
Ok, so where was I?
I got the train tickets and figured ok I just saved myself $175.00 so why not go out and spend it, right? LOL Much to my delight, I discovered that Pahar Ganj, my favorite funky neighborhood in Delhi, was right across from the train station! Hurray! I happen to have one friend in Delhi, who I met in 2003....who happens to have a business in Pahar Ganj, so off I trotted to find him.

Today I got hit by a bicycle rickshaw and also my foot ran over by a motorcyle, and believe it or not, I am ok. I don't even get afraid anymore....but perhaps I ought to be a little more careful.

Ok, so I immediately find my pal, Mubarik, which means happy, and this is the happiest man in Delhi, I tell you. Now Mubarik, I met in 2003, and he told me that when he was 12 years old, he moved alone to Delhi from Kashmir and started a travel business. Now, he jokes that he is the richest man in India. He is NOT the richest man, by far, but in terms of heart, spirit, love, generousity, insight, close to "godness" he is the richest of all. I wish you could have met him, Gary, you would really like him. Perhaps next year?

There was also a Russian man in his office, getting train tickets to Pushkar. So, I have just spent the entire day drinking tea, eating rice, smoking beedees, and erm, some other stuff which shall not be mentioned, with Mubarik and this crazy Russians.
Russians are very interesting...I think they are fearless, and really "go for it" in life. Mubarik, Kirill and I talked for 4 hours, then we went to a rooftop restaurant where people can smoke "things" and just chill. That we did. Of course they teased me when I told them I had to go back to my hotel by dark, but I am NOT hanging around Pahar Ganj at night, sorry.

What an awesome day. Kirill is a jewelry designer and artist, and he showed my a dvd of his work, which he then gave me a copy of. He is really very talented, and I taught him about ETSY, the site where I have my online shop. He is very excited about opening an international store now, and I am happy to have turned him on to that. When I get back to America, I will post some of his jewelry designs for you all to see. Now Kirill spends his time making and selling his jewelry in Moscow, and then makes enough money to come to India for 6 months out of the year. He had only a student sized back pack for his entire time! Amazing!
Now Kirill told us, that one year, he rode his bike from Cochin to far is that? I have no idea, but it's far, very, very far. I am talking about a bicycle here~ amazing!

Now, if that wasn't enough, I then saw that Mubarik had in his shop, singing bowls. I will steal a picture to show you in case you don't know what they are. In America they are quite expensive, and I never dreamed I could own one, and now I do! Mubarik had 6 bowls, and he told me, you will choose the one that speaks to you. I spent 3 hours learning how to make them sing, and then I knew which one I wanted. It is just beautiful.

I could never have imagined that I would have such a wonderful day, but I have. WOW! I am exhausted and it's only 6:30. But remember, I have to get up at 4:45 so I am sure I'd better get a good nights sleep.

By now Gary and Little Rita are about to take a flight home from Seattle. Part of me also wishes I was going home now, but you know, I am totally excited about seeing Jaipur and getting to see how Indian Block printed textiles are made.

Take care all...more from Jaipur.
I love you Mr Gary and Little Rita!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Bangalore Update

No I dont know these people I just thought it was a good steal!

Hello everyone from Bangalore! It's Friday night and we are spending our last evening together....going out to dinner at Alampar and then having some Kingfishers with Mahesh. Gary has to leave for the airport at 4 am ack ack ack! Ick! I however have the entire day to rest before taking my flight to Delhi.

We have had so much fun and I know you can tell I've been busy because I am not posting as much as last year. After today, though, I will be alone and you might see more of me as I probably won't venture out at night alone.....

Hey, how about that Obama? Woo hoo, I say! It might interest you to know that alot of Europeans that we have talked to are totally into Hilary and not quite ready for a black American president.

Some of you are aware of the assasination of Benazir Bhutto while we were here...of course we were far away from the North and perfectly safe but so creepy to be so near to a country where that sort of stuff still goes on. A total tragedy...

In other news, the naughty party boys of Mumbai have made the news by molesting an innocent newlywed on her honeymoon on New Years Eve...the police are saying that the public is making a "big deal" out of nothing. Now I don't even have to tell you what would happen to those asshats in America if they had tried that....but it's infuriating that in India a woman cannot go out on a celebratory night without getting attacked by fucking perverts, and then to top that off, the cops brush it off as if it were nothing. I would be ashamed to call myself an Indian gentleman if I were one.

Ok you all, India is fun and I am skinny and tired but I have a week to go sooo I'm strapping on the courage to do this alone again...I really dont like traveling alone...maybe if I am lucky, Karenji will be waiting for me at the Y in Delhi!!!!! Did you hear that Karenji?

More later from Delhi, in the meanwhile miss you all especially Logo, Lime, the Idiot, and my Little Rita of course!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Jamuary 3rd Already?

Hi everyone!
We are still in Goa but head to the airport in a couple hours and back to Bangalore. We are sticky and dirty and tanned and ready for some A/C!
I dont have any glasses so.....I will post more later....all I can say is, Goa rocks! Hope you are all well.
We are partied out but must still party a little with Mahesh tonight in Bangalore! It's a must!
Laters, betas!