My new goal is to try every one of the mysterious green leaves sold by the guy with the veggie cart. We had methi (right) with lamb early last week and palak (not in this picture) with dhal last night.
It seems a little pedestrian to write about beer in my Fulbright blog but I have to say, I really love beer. Qualify that, I love good beer. On Saturday Tim and I took his bike and went out in search of a micro-brewery that he'd learned about. The poor kids had a make-up day at school but I needed a break from the drudge of the computer so we decided to run some needed errands then go in search of the pub which was located in a neighborhood we'd never been to.
Om Beach, Karnataka
The last leg of our Deepavali trip took us westward to the coast where I got to stick my toes into the Arabian Sea for the very first time. Just the sound of it: "Arabian Sea," "Malabar Coast," sounds hopelessly romantic and adventurous. Well, it didn't really involve too much adventure, but it sure was beautiful!
After 2 nights in Hampi it was a pretty easy 3-hour drive North to Badami where we immediately went up to the sandstone caves carved in the 6th Century and dedicated to an array of deities/religions from Shiva and Vishnu to Jain prophets. Each of the 6 main caves is entirely carved out of the parent rock with the pillars left connected on both ends. Very cool.
We started our five night Diwali trip in Hampi. We were going to go by train but with four tickets, once I started doing the calculations, it wasn't that much more to rent a car for the entire trip (way less than for 1st class on a train, probably less than for 2nd class as well) and we'd get to see a lot more of the in-between places that way. The drive from Bangalore was 5 or 6 hours and not too bad as far as India drives go
Hampi was eerily amazing. The main ruins on the tourist path were spectacular but just that: spectacular tourist ruins. When we started walking around we realized that the entire landscape was dotted with the remains of the city that once stood there. I saw it described as (in its heyday) larger than Rome and more beautiful than Lisboa and after a couple days there it's easy to imagine.
Diwali lamps for sale
Diwali is one of the most important holidays here in India. Like most holidays it seems to celebrate multiple things depending on where and who you are, but in general, it is the start of the Hindu new year and known as the Festival of Lights. Lights are sold everywhere, from little clay dishes for lighting homemade oil lamps to rice paper lanterns to twinkly lights on a strand to the bright pop of fireworks; everywhere. It's also a festival of giving and (although no where near the consumer insanity of Christmas in the US) it's a big shopping time.
From the 7th - 9th of November I made my first data-collection trip to the field. Since my last trip (end of Sept), I've been working with Siddappa Setty at ATREE to finalize a research plan that allows me to work in a site (MM Hills) 6 hours from home but still get to see my family (for awhile there I was thinking either no research, or take the kids out of school, or only see my family a few days a week). We've come up with a survey-based study to look at agricultural crops, trees, and use of forest for livestock and food items. I will come and go from MM Hills but the majority of the interviews will be conducted by Nagendra who is from BRT and has worked extensively with ATREE. Although I'd really like to be actually taking all the data myself, this seems like a good compromise between family and research and I think it will all turn out well.
Here are a few pictures from our travels with Glen, Sasha and Anita that didn't fit in the other topics
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