August 16, 2006

Pity the poor mangosteen

Filed under: India — Chris @ 7:28 pm

Either (1) the mangosteens I bought the other day were not the best of the batch, (2) those damn ants got in there and ruined them, or (3) they don’t take well to refrigeration (although it stuns and/or kills the ants). Mangosteen, my exalted queen! Why have you forsaken me?


August 15, 2006


Filed under: India — Chris @ 8:05 am

My hand has healed to the point where I can make use of it in most normal situations. There’s still some swelling, which pushes my knuckle out of whack, and it still hurts if pressed, squeezed, or twisted.

Which brings me to handshaking. I suppose I am a bit of a handshaking pedant, feeling that a handshake which is neither too limp nor too firm (the Goldilocks shake) is an essential aspect of good character. The predicament of having a fractured hand without a cast puts me in something of a characterological double bind.

My strategy at first was to simply offer my hand and pray that my shaking partner was not one of those confounded knuckle grinders. This usually did not turn out well.

Then I tried offering my left hand. This is awkward.

Another course is to hold up my hand and declare, “I am injured,” thereby excusing myself from the shake. This is lame.

Putting my comfort ahead of my reputation, I have stumbled across a foolproof strategy. As the hands come together, I conspire to make sure that only my fingers end up in the other party’s palm. The result is the ultimate in a weak handshake—the action is essentially equivalent to offering up my hand to be kissed.

Well, it has proven to be an effective anti-knuckle-crunching prophylactic. And nobody has kicked my ass yet.

Photo by liz_dalton via Flickr.


Filed under: India — Chris @ 6:43 am

I’m sitting in bed, eating a mangosteen*, when I look down and my bowl is absolutely crawling with ants. “Huh. That’s fast work,” I thought. “Where did those ants come from?” Then I looked at my hand. And the fruit. Which were both covered in ants. Ack!

This might explain why only 2 of the 6 fruits in that batch were edible.

* Yes, mangosteen**. Which is not a kind of mango.

** Wikipedia says, “Mangosteen juice is a dye which can be almost impossible to remove from fabric (the reason why they are banned from some hotels in countries where they are available).” My bedsheets can attest to this fact.

August 14, 2006


Filed under: India — Chris @ 7:20 pm

Gilbird came over tonight with two bottles of beer, sent courtesy of Lepakshi. Thanks, Lepakshi! 40 more bottles like that and we’ll be in the ballpark!

* I apologize for this unimaginative, generic title. This could have been the title of every single post I’ve done in the last 3 months…

[UPDATE 8/19/2006] Beer actually sent courtesy of my line of credit.

Jack Daniel’s

Filed under: India — Chris @ 7:09 am

On July 4, 2006, Jonathan gave me the present of 1 liter of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey. Unlike some brands of liquor, which are franchised to Indian distillers and sold for Rs 400-500, Jack Daniel’s is imported from the US and costs more than Rs 3000.

Over the course of the next few weeks, no more than 5 shots of whiskey were poured. When we left for Delhi and points North on July 21, 2006, the bottle was more than 3/4 full.

When we arrived back in Bangalore on August 3, 2006, as I briefly mentioned, the whiskey was almost entirely gone. And to the extent that the contents had been diluted in the fashion of a homeopathic remedy, it was just plain gone.

The only people who had been in the guest house in those two weeks were two other MSR employees (who are moderate of habit and, in fact, teetotallers) and the household help.

Since I hadn’t actually paid for the whiskey, I felt awkard about complaining. But at the same time, the housekeepers absolutely should not be drinking my liquor. So I complained to the appropriate persons in the lab.

Two days later, on August 7, 2006, I was informed that the culprit had been identified, had confessed, and would be made to pay. “Tomorrow.”

Six days later, on August 13, 2006, the new housekeeper, Gilbird, informed me that the accused had “left the state” and was now denying that he ever drank the whiskey. “He cleaned the toilet and made the bed only. On his mother he swears.”

Today, August 14, 2006, Gilbird, his manager Lepakshi, and the accused housecleaner knocked on my door at 10:00 AM. (Was the accused extradicted or had he given himself up? I don’t know.) Lepakshi told me this was the boy who stole my whiskey, but he claims now to not have stolen it (and again with the toilet and the bed and the mother), and what did I want to say about that?


[UPDATE 8/15/2006] Two bottles of beer appear.

[UPDATE 8/19/2006] And are billed to my account. Word is that a resolution is pending… “Tomorrow”?

[UPDATE 9/4/2006] A bottle of Johnnie Walker appears. Close enough.

Shivanasamudra & Somnathpur

Filed under: India — Chris @ 7:07 am

New photo set.

Day Trippin’

Filed under: India — Chris @ 7:00 am

The good parts:

A really good breakfast at Kamat’s on Mysore Road. Maybe the best meal I’ve had since Haridwar.

The falls:
The Falls

The temple:
Somnathpur temple, side

The hysterical laughing on the car ride home.

The bad parts:

The potholes:

The Qualis:
The Qualis

The 3 or 4 hours driving over potholes in the Qualis.

August 8, 2006

What is your good name, sir?

Filed under: India — Chris @ 6:18 pm

I really don’t understand where this question comes from. I guess it’s a clumsy translation of the local formalities. My answer is always “Christopher” (which inevitably comes back as “Mr. Christopher”), since “Chris” can easily become “Krishna” and “Conway” is just a waste of everybody’s time. People here know the name “Christopher” the same way Americans know… Um… Are there any Indian names that Americans know? “Vijay”? “Ravi”? (Stupid Americans.)

August 6, 2006

I’m Sick

Filed under: India — Chris @ 7:34 am

Damn it. Felt on the verge of something all day yesterday and today I’ve woken up with a wicked sore throat.

Funny thing is I’ve been taking Cipro for unrelated stomach problems*, so either this is a viral infection or I’ve been breeding super-bacteria in my throat.

Another funny thing is that I’m realizing Hilleary was kind of lucky to get sick while we were traveling, because we could just call room service and ask for lemon or ginger tea. Whereas I’m about to go to the supermarket to go buy lemons and ginger and assemble a tea myself in the guest house kitchen. I think there’s a knife in there somewhere…

I’m also going to the pharmacist to see if he will sell me anything like the Halls Defense lozenges that H and I swear by at times like these and to replenish my stock of ibuprofen, the only over-the-counter medication that I don’t have a 200 or 300% overstock of**.

* It’s a sign of the times that, after two days of the shits, I am only declaring myself sick now that my throat is sore.

** I have a gross oversupply of diarrhea and gas medicine, which I haven’t taken at all, and Benedryl and loratadine, which I have taken only rarely. I don’t have any cold medicine (e.g., Dayquil, Nyquil), which is now on Hilleary’s “don’t leave home without it” list. I went to the pharmacist in Jodhpur with a list of the active ingredients in Dayquil, which led to some rummaging in the back and the production of two dusty bottles of “expectorant”. When we went to the hospital, H was prescribed 6 different medicines at once, which were (I have the receipt right here): Zifi LBX, Dilosyn, Zyrtec D, Sporlac, Flexon, and Pantop-D. Dayquil, people! It’s good stuff!

August 5, 2006

Airport Blues

Filed under: India — Chris @ 8:46 pm

Hilleary reports that, after we spent twenty minutes going from the curb to the terminal entrance and parted, it took her another two hours to reach her departure gate. (I’m not sure how bad the queues were inside the terminal or how much line-cutting this figure incorporates, but H can get pretty feisty when she’s stressed out.) World Class Airport!

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