Monday, October 8, 2012

18 again

As if the vaginal whitener weren't bad enough, now we have...the vaginal tightener.

18 again: "India's first, most advanced, femininity restoration cream which helps tighten the vagina, cures vaginal dryness, vagina inflammation, etc."

Because that's what women want. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I'm on my first work trip for my new-ish job this week, in Pokhara, Nepal! This is the view I get to wake up to in the mornings.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Wah wah.

My bathroom is grossing me out. This is one of the things that comes along with living in India. No matter what I do, no matter how much I clean, no matter if I move to a new apartment in large part because my old bathroom was gross, my bathroom will always, apparently, make me want to vom.

Allow me to paint a picture. When anyone in my house flushes their toilet, I can hear the water gurgling past the two nearly open drains in my floor. I don't know why I say nearly...they're gaping holes about 4 inches in diameter, barely covered by flimsy, moveable, metal grates. There is a smell associated with this. The open drain phenomenon isn't just at my house - from what I can tell it is the norm.

Recently that drain became a breeding ground for what I've identified as 'bathroom flies'. There are like 30 of these things floating around my shower every morning. Of course bathroom flies are only one of the species of bugs to have invaded my bathroom. There are ants, too. Lots of them. And, perhaps even more cringe-inducing than ants in a bathroom, these things:

(Apologies for the poor quality photo. But then would you really want a better one?)
It's like a worm inside a concrete shell. Apparently it's called a 'plaster bagworm'. So far I have seen four. If I see more...I don't know. I hope I don't.

Maybe this wouldn't matter that much if I had hot water, which for some unidentifiable reason, I do not. It would matter even less if I had any stable water supply, really. Instead, we run out every evening owing to some ongoing feud between residents of my flat and the maintenance guy. So half of the day my bathroom serves only as a damp breeding ground for numerous species of bugs.

I really shouldn't complain. Before I moved to India, I'd never even had my own bathroom, like I do now. This one has a Western style shower and ample counter space (not to mention hilarious wall tiles depicting pink dolphins frolicking in pink waves). And half of the time I'm at TB's, with a brand new, spa-like, bug-free bathroom. All in all, I could do worse. But sometimes a girl wants to throw a pity party. Thanks for indulging. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Cold Coffee

My latest obsession - Depaul's coffee. Apparently this cold coffee brand is a Delhi institution. It's bottled in central Delhi and then sold at the store there or in certain restaurants around the city. It probably wouldn't pass any safety inspections (bottle not sealed, cold chain unlikely), but omg it tastes so good I don't even care. 

p.s. A note about cold coffee: It's not iced coffee, it's not an iced latte, it's something altogether different and magical. It tastes like a milkshake and has the consistency of chocolate milk. You can get it at any coffee shop or restaurant in Delhi, not just Depaul's. I highly recommend trying it if you happen to be passing through.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Working from home

I'm working from home these days, which is a bit tricky for me. While I'm perfectly capable of completing most work-related tasks at home (e-mail, research, Excel magic), I simply cannot write. When I was writing my grad school application essays I had so much trouble writing at home that I snuck back into my undergrad library, three years after I graduated, in an effort to focus myself. Once I made it to grad school, I wrote papers at the library and coffee shops. Only once they all closed for the night would I move to my dining table, attention fueled by caffeine and the stress of impending deadlines.

It was crucial, then, that I find a good place to write in Delhi. When I'm at The Boy's apartment, I work in his home office, which is perfect. At my own place, though, I have yet to even purchase a suitable desk. And working in bed is never a good idea for someone who loves naps as much as I do.

As luck would have it, the market near my apartment is home to Spell & Bound, a delightful bookstore complete with a cafe. It reminds me of the bookstore in my hometown, an award-winning independent bookstore that I spend hours in on each visit home. At this little oasis in Delhi there's jazz playing softly in the background, delicious coffee to keep me going, and books to peruse when I need a break. I hope they don't mind if I become a permanent fixture. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Hindi Word Highlight: Janam Din

Translation: Birthday!

As in, happy janam din to my wonderful mother, the woman who inspired (demanded?) this blog.

I love you.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sometimes, when you live in India...

You pass camels in the street.

It's kind of like when you live in DC and see the presidential motorcade roll by.

You pretend it's no big thing - what, the motorcade? Whatevs. I see it all the time.

But secretly you're super excited.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Best. video. ever.

Turns out I was wrong. You can get another adult to show you what to do in the bathroom. Anything is possible on YouTube.

So in case you were wondering, here's how to use a squat toilet.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Taj Mahal: a closer look

What struck me most when I was visiting the Taj Mahal was the realization that, prior to my visit, I'd had no idea what it looked like up close.  Exploring the intricate details of the design turned out to be my favorite part of the Taj visit. 

Here are some of the most interesting photos from the day (full disclosure: a couple are from the Red Fort, down the road from the Taj, but the Red Fort was also built in part by same ruler who built the Taj Mahal).

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I finally visited the Taj Mahal.

It's big, it's pretty, it looks exactly like the pictures you've all seen.

Train ride to Agra 

You can't wear shoes when you're walking on the white marble parts of the structure. Foreigners get to wear these booties, which are included in the (outrageous) price of a foreigner's ticket. Indian citizens just have to take their shoes off and hope they're still there when they get back.

So many lines.

Such a good idea - it was so hot.

Fellow tourists


View from where we stopped for tea.

Agra train station

The end.

Monday, January 30, 2012

"I'm sick of Diwali"

Oh heeeeey. 

It has come to my attention that some people miss my blog. I miss my blog, too. So, I'm back.

We're just going to pretend I didn't disappear for a while, ok? The idea of three months worth of retrospective blog posts is too stressful. Instead, here are some highlights. During the last three months, I:
  • Went to the Taj Mahal (looks like all the pictures);
  • Experienced the Indian rail system (possibly as a stowaway – it’s unclear);
  • Held Thanksgiving for nearly 20 people and cooked my first turkey (I'm a grown up!);
  • Got a visa extension (thank god);
  • Went to several weddings (so much glamour, so much fun!);
  • Finally made food my coworkers liked (Christmas cookies. Genius.);
  • Went to Mumbai (love. it.);
  • Got a visit from one of my best friends (and now she’s gone and I’m sad);
  • Hired a cook (best decision I have ever made); and
  • Met a boy (right around Diwali. Correlation with my absence? Yes.)

From the first wedding I went to, with the boy :-) 

Thanksgiving! Turkey covered in butter for extra crispiness - moderately successful technique. 

Christmas cookies (with vanilla extract and Hershey's kisses flown in from the US)