The return of the Great White Female
So I have been back in the land of curry and tea for about a month and have finally got around to updating my adoring fans – ha ha ha!!! As many now know I went home in April as a surprise for mom’s 60th birthday! She had no clue of my arrival, despite a few slip ups, and stood statuesque for a good 2-3 minutes when I appeared from the spare room asking if she has bought enough dessert for all of us. It was truly a great moment and one I will not forget in a hurry!
This momentous occasion took about a month to celebrate! The first phase took the family to the bush for a week, the second phase involved a ladies tea party and the last phase culminated in a birthday breakfast. Felt a bit like being in India all over again as they normally take a few days to celebrate significant events! Needless-to-say it was an awesome month but I came back here EXHAUSTED!
I was therefore incredibly grateful when upon negotiating passport control on the 4th of May, that the ever gleeful man behind the counter did not seem too perturbed by the fact that my passport was stamped with the words “no re-entry within 2 months of departure” alongside the date “1 April 2010”, as I did not feel like a fight. Guess the lack of diligence and complacence worked in my favour this time. SHEW! Was not looking forward to an evening in the Delhi local prison!
After sleeping for about a day, I soon started mentally processing my list of “The joys of being back” as the diversity that this country has to offer became all too apparent … all over again.
Firstly, when I went home it was balmy 25-30 degrees in Delhi but as I walked off the plane I soon realised that “spring” was over than summer had arrived, rude as ever! The temperature now varies between 38-45 degrees and as Rob describes it (so accurately) it feels like we are standing WAY too close to the braai! So, unsurprisingly I tend to stay indoors hugging the aircon and it appears I am not the only one as the streets are mostly baron between 9:00-17:00 most days. But as soon as the sun has set however the masses descend on the market. This is when I choose to shop and can’t help but notice how all the smells en route have intensified tenfold! The “wee spot”, the “creek” a few blocks away and even Sultan, the dog, all seem to cook in their own filth and just HONE! The maid, bless her, also now evidences the smells of summer! Speaking of our maid, I was super excited when I stumbled across Google translate and can now actually sort of have a conversation with her – gotta love modern technology!
One of the more surprising events of my first week back was being spat on by a passing car on my way home from gym! Yip, the dude literally stuck his head out the window and hurled a loogie on my shirt. Now, because I am the shy and retiring type I told him exactly what I thought of him. The dude washing the car next to me got such a fright I think he thought I was crapping on him! LOVELY welcome home and I have since learnt that road rage is not just reserved for vehicle drivers!
Now in desperate in for a shower, as a way to clean off and cool down (my mood as well as my body temp), my frustration doubled when I remembered that one is now only able to have a hot shower due to the water tank sitting in the blazing sun and thus producing only hot, not warm, hot water! In the winter, the shower was the only place to get warm but the reverse is sadly not true! Hence, hugging the aircon! Which we incidentally had to get serviced since it just stopped working – can’t imagine why since it is only used for 18 hours a day 😉 All this electrical overload naturally leads to many power failures, on average 3-6 times a day, at times at night – not cool, DEF not cool! Even the fridge has a summer setting … Eish!
Fortunately we have had a cold front for the last few weeks (25-30 degrees) which has brought with it lots of “fast air”. This is one of my favourite expressions now and was coined by Rob’s driver to describe all the wind!
Fresh foods (fruit, veggies, yoghurt etc) and water are now less freely available since the demand for it is so high and because our curry-munching counterparts do not really know or like to plan for non-routine events such as summer! As a result there is no contingency for the increase in public demand! Something similar to London in that as soon as it rains, the whole place collapses – COME ON! Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like we’re starving but it just means we cannot get everything we might want on the day we want it, so our menu is subsequent to what’s accessible at the market that day. Fortunately, and you’ll be surprised to hear this, I am SUPER organised so the water issue is not so much of an issue even though I am not a boer, “ek maak ‘n plan!”
On the rare weekends where the heat tends not to “trap” us indoors, where the continual terrorist threats are minimal and Robby is not working – we have started living the real ex-pat life! We, on occasion, head to a hotel that has a pool! Yes, yes it’s very “Rah Rah, Darling!” and I can just see you giggling but trust me you would be the third person in our tuk-tuk en route to the Continental in Vasant Vihar if you lived here!
Other than that it’s good to be back. I had missed the pigeons that roost on our air-conditioners, sadly the squirrel that used to live on our dining room windowsill has left for the summer apparently carrying his nest piece by piece, guess he’s a fan of camping! The General (landlord) and his wife seemed pleased to see me but I got the feeling that were mostly relieved since Rob now has a woman to look after him again. The Indian men have it made, they are never required to lift a finger – told Rob not to get too comfy with the idea of a “housewife”, since the title is VERY temporary and does not suit me!
I know the dude at our local general store was glad to see me because I actually buy groceries and therefore provide him business. This had not happened for a while since Robby tended to eat from the little red caravan at the dodgy side of the market and had not seen the inside of the Taste for some time.
So that is mostly that! It has been a challenge readjusting to India and its wacky ways but I am feeling more settled every day! We head up to Kashmir at the end of the month and look forward to space, greenery, mountains and fresh air! No doubt I will eventually get around to blogging about that trip! Until then look after you!
Lots more pics below…