...and getting caught in the rain. You'd love Delhi.
Eating Indian food alone has been an adventure. I never quite know what to do with everything in front of me. Yesterday for lunch I tried Sagar restaurant in the Defence Colony. I believe it's supposed to be 'South Indian' cuisine. I sat down and asked the waiter, "Whatsa vada?" He had a hard time explaining it to me but I ordered it anyway along with a dosa masala which I've also never had. Oh, and a mango milk shake. Mmm. Anyway, out comes two metal bowls of some sort of sauces and a metal cup of water (they love metal plates and cups here). Then the vada arrived. They looked like doughnuts! Why didn't he just say so? I cut into it and dipped it into the coconut sauce. Definitely not sweet like a doughnut. More spicy and maybe a hint of onion. The other sauce was brothy like a spicy vegetable soup. I dipped the vada in that, too. Then the guy brought two more metal bowls of sauce and the dosa masala soon after. A dosa is pretty much an Indian crepe. Except it's not sweet but rather spicy. (it's like they've taken western desserts- doughnuts and crepes- and added a bunch of spices to play jokes on your tongue's expectations) Overall, pretty good light lunch. Though I've already acquired a taste for Indian in the past.
Oh, I forgot to mention the pre and post meal customs I've encountered at Punjabi by Nature and Anand Restaurant (where I had some tandoori chicken and biryani tonight). They brought out an appetizer 'salad' of sliced onions with a spicy powder or sauce on top and a wedge of lime. If you like raw onions, it's not too bad. Though I only eat a few bites to keep the mosquitoes from kissing me. After the meal, you might get a plate of fennel seed, sometimes sugar coated or mixed with rock sugar. This is used as a breath freshener. I kind of dig it. (Fennel has a bit of a licorice flavor due to a compound called anethole that they both contain) At PbN, they also brought out bowls of water to wash our fingers as much of the dining involves using your hands. (at Anand, I used wipes I keep in my pocket)
Last night, I also met up with Manash's cousin Ankush and his girlfriend. We got caught in a bit of rain but it did seem to cool down the city a little. Over some bottles of Kingfisher, we had some good discussions about child development, Indian cinema, cultural differences within the country, and why I should have spent more time here. Time is really flying. I took my brother's advice and decided to just relax for a couple of days in Delhi. I've tried catching up on a million emails. Sorry if I haven't replied.
I finally managed to escape the apartment and go shoe shopping for Valentina at Dilli Haat (not very interesting to me as the only thing I bought was a Maaza mango drink). I jumped into an autorickshaw [video below] and went to Janpath market where I finally found the shoes but instead of buying them, I talked to an Indian merchant for an hour. He tried to convince me that I should visit Kashmir instead of Manali and make use of his houseboat. If only there was more time, Shaki. Hmm, why do I keep talking to locals and eating chicken immediately afterwards? That's three countries in a row.
Man, I'm rambling now. At least you're all ready for a nap now. Night!