6.01.2009

Hectic Hyderabad

Kristen and I woke up this morning (Saturday) at 8:30 both not really knowing what to expect from the day. After the confusion the previous night we were both definitely excited and nervous at the same time. We slowly got ready and made our way downstairs at our hotel for our breakfast buffet. After a little bit of naan and roti, we were ready to go.

Pauline (Kristen’s former co-worker) picked us up in a hired car and we were soon on our way. Driving was exciting seeing all various storefronts and people. In addition the driving here is pretty intense. Bangkok driving was fairly wild but here in Hyderabad it’s a little crazier. However, there is a method to the madness and mostly everyone gets to where they are going in one piece. We almost didn’t make it however as our car overheated or had an electrical issue. After a few minutes of our driver messing with wires the car started up again and we were on our way once more.

Our first stop was the perfect introduction to Hyderabad and India for us. We went to the Salar Jung museum which is a huge collection of India and worldwide artifacts. There is quite a bit to see but it is a good way to get a feel for much of the artwork that exists here.

Afterwards we headed to Hyderbad’s most famous landmark, the Charminar. The Charminar is basically a tower with four points that was built as a thanks to God for stopping a epidemic short (perhaps we should build a shrine for the H1N1 virus). It’s a beautiful but insanely crowded area in the heart of the old city. Kristen and I both made the decision to go to the top and see the views. The way up was simple. Climb 50 steps and you’re there. The way down is a whole other matter. Go down 50 steps after waiting an hour in line. The latter wasn’t as much fun.

We then swung by the bangles market which was chaotic coupled with touts galore screaming and yelling at us. It was an enjoyable experience however crazy as it was.

Next, we had our first meal in India. Pauline took us to the Hyderabad House which is a chain of restaurants. We had the Hyderabadi specialty, Biryani as well as a paneer dish and some kabobs. The meal was delicious and a great intro to all the Indian food we will be eating in the future.

As dusk approached we headed over to another Hyderabad landmark, the Goldconda fort. This fort was built before Hyderabad existed and was a Muslim fort. Kristen and I had both never seen any Islamic architecture so it was very eye opening. We all made our way up to the top of the fort which was about a half hour climb and then made our way down to see the light show that both lit the fort beautifully and was very informative.

To cap the day off we got Chinese-Indian food, including my new favorite, Chicken Pakoras. They were quite amazing. Think flash fried chicken and curry spices.

After dinner, we made our way back to our hotel knowing that we had made it through our first day here in India. It was chaotic. It was a learning experience. It was amazing.

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