Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Like all good things...

This little trip of ours has come to an end. C and I have declared it "our best vacation yet". In the past 36 hours I took 5 {yes FIVE} different planes as I hopped my way across the globe and back to Boston. I still have a few more posts to share and some work to finish up in Boston, then it's on to a year of new places and adventures!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Hyderabad --> GOA!

We left behind the busy streets of Hyderabad with its::

{happy bikers}
{kit-kats by the pound!}
{after school traffic ~ 4 boys and a grandpa on the bike!}
{bike traffic}
{and flower deliveries}

For the beaches of GOA!!

The daily traffic has slowed dramatically and now consists of::
{dogs and marigolds}
{pineapple delivery}
{decorated stairwells}
{and happy swimmers}

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Our first day out in the city we visited Charminar. The monument was built in 1591 to commemorate the end a plague epidemic that struck the city. Like many of the buildings in Hyderabad, it beautifully combines Islamic and Hindi architecture and symbols. If you break the name into two pieces, Char = four in Hindi and minar = spire in Arabic. The photo below shows decorations using the lotus flower and Sanskrit writing:: Above the large archways, there are three floors. On the first is a walkway that allows you to look out each of the four sides of the old city. While we were there, many groups of Indian visitors would be sitting in the walkway relaxing and visiting with each other. The second and third floors are now closed, but used to house a school and mosque.
The area below Charminar is a constant hive of activity. This is the location of Lad Bazaar, famous for its bangle market. In addition to bangles, there are shops and stalls selling saris, jewelry, henna, fruit, and haleem {more on haleem later}.
Unfortunately I don't have any pictures from in the thick of the bazaars. As Calder said, I walked around the whole evening with "the eyes of a deer in the headlights". There was so much to take in as we navigated the streets that were crammed with people, scooters, auto rickshaws, and animals. Needless to say, the activity and excitement left little room for taking pictures! Although, after looking at these pictures, I realized that the bazaars don't look nearly as hectic from above as they felt from below!

Lucky for us {or me}, every once in a while we would stumble into an alley that was quiet. It gave us a moment to breath, and if we were lucky presented us with something that we wouldn't see on the main streets. One alley in particular was a real treat. First we came upon this room of bangle makers::Because these alleys weren't part of the bazaar, or retail areas, the people in the alley were surprised yet happy to see us. In particular, the bangle maker on the left asked us many questions about where we were from, how we got there, how long we were staying, etc.

Then, a few more feet down the alley we came upon this room of men sewing the embellishments on sari fabric:: Finally, we were moving to quickly for me to take a picture, but there were other men in the alley sewing large mattresses that are placed on the floor for sleeping and sitting.

After a few hours navigating the streets we were starving. Calder had visited India before and was excited for the chance to eat more Thali plates. For how busy the markets were, there were relatively few restaurants, so we had to scrap our plans for Thali and eat whatever was available and unlikely to make us sick. As we were about to learn, the city of Hyderabad LOVES haleem. It seemed to be the only cooked food we could get in the area.

Being the adventurous eaters that we are, we ordered some not knowing what it was. When the haleem arrived, we received a bowl full of grey, slimy, chunky, snotty, chewy food. Wikipedia kindly refers to it has having a "paste-like" consistency. Mine was "sweet", Calder's was "salty". A few bites were enough to get the feel for it {the "feel" being that this was a food one had to be raised on to love}, but we were hungry and didn't want to leave the food uneaten, so knew we should eat a few more bites.... our conversation consisted of trying to figure out what ingredients were put into the pot at the beginning of the day. Calder was sure that it was made from all meat, which really turned my stomach ~ how did they turn "meat" into snotty sweet slime? So, we downed a few more bites, I gagged just once, and then we were on our way.

Back at the hotel, we did some research and found out that haleem is not all meat. Its base is wheat, and we think it's the wheat's gluten that creates the paste. So, if you ever travel in India, and come across haleem, consider yourself warned.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ride through Hyderabad

Hyderabad is a city in transition. The city had 20,000 people in 1900, but growth in IT industries has resulted in a growth to over 6.3 million today. With this population growth, the city has expanded geographically. We're staying in "Hitech City", which is {obviously} a new section of the city, so really getting a feel for the real Hyderabad required going deep into the old city. Here are a few pictures from the ride. There's no particular theme, just a sample of the sites from our auto rickshaw {pictured above}.

{Schools and School Children}


Notice the chickens in this next shot. Along this these guys, we also saw many cows, goats, and a camel walking the streets yesterday!

And finally, some happy faces in the traffic::

Next up some pictures from our stroll through the maze of alleyways!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


As I approached this hydrangea bush the other day, the buzz of bees was unmistakable. They were jumping from one open flower to the next collecting pollen. And when I uploaded the pictures, I realized that I had a perfect shot of the hydrangea's transition from closed to open buds in this next photo. The flower on the left is still closed while the one on the right is open and ready for business.

Inside, we've been working away crocheting some flowers for the big day.
We want to use these to create garland for hanging around the farm. Just a little something here and there to add a bit of color. These particular flowers are from Soozs' daisy chain necklace pattern.
This is my second crocheting adventure {after the afghan}, and it's going swimmingly! To keep things interesting, we want flowers of varying size, color, pattern, etc. While playing around with this pattern and my small repritoire of stitches, I came up with a simple way to make a larger version of the daisy, but I'll save those details for another post.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

R & R

Whoa, with a two week break like that you'd think I went to India... but no, it's just been beyond crazy around here. Fortunately, I took a small break from the crazy for the annual trip to the beach. Unfortunately, it's been such a busy time for the whole Schu clan that we traveled in shifts and didn't all make it to the beach at one time, but there's always next year! {A man and his shovel}

Lucky for us, the weather was perfect. For Sarah and I, that meant napping and reading on the beach until the evening sun painted long shadows across the sand.

When not on the beach, we were in a boat, either sailing, fishing or kayaking. I can tell that this summer's been a whirlwind based upon how rarely I'm able to grab my camera, but luckily I remembered it for one of our big fishing adventures. The catch of the year was flounder, and Sarah hooked one right away! Unfortunately he wasn't a keeper, so he was released unharmed.

The day's trip involved rescuing one of pop's crab traps that was pulled into the channel by the strong tides {an adventure that required a "plan" and a steady boat}.
The trap had been in the water for over a week, and it was prime mating season for the crabs, so most of our catch was pregnant females that aren't kept. Along with all of those ladies was a spider crab. These are slow moving scavengers that won't hurt you with their pinch. As you can tell from this guy, they can build up quite a bit of algae and barnacles on their shells, helping them to blend in to the benthic environment and avoid predation.

Looks like this spider crab found a kindred soul::

And this, my friends, is what happens when you decide to end your adventure during low tide::

All this mud must be good for your feet, right?
The big India trip starts on Tuesday, and I'm guessing that traveling halfway around the globe will leave more time for blogging than the past two weeks did. Lucky for you that means some sneak peaks as we travel!