Friday, July 30, 2010

Some stories and observations

These are just a few things that prolly don't merit a whole post of their own. So I made one superpost.

Animals in the city

Stray dogs on the streets of Surat are probably about as common a sight as, I dunno, squirrels or something in the United States. But they are a lot more conspicuous. I mean, there are a hell of a lot of dogs here. They're all strays - I have seen only two domesticated dogs here the whole time - and nobody seems to be doing anything about them, so I can see why their breeding is so rampant. They are extremely well-adjusted to people, which they should be, living a country that is so inundated with population. A lot of them hobble around on injured legs (probably casualties of the psycho drivers) and this bugs me. I really hate it when animals are hurt. It's almost worse than when humans are hurt. I don't know how all of these thousands of dogs find enough food to keep them going.
I have also seen two camels here, one in the industrial district and one in Adajan, my district. These two are very far away from each other. The first one was quite a shock to me. The two that I have seen just lug carts with food goods along on the sides of the streets.
Also cows. In certain parts of Surat, as in the more quiet parts, you can see cows roaming the streets. I don't know if they are owned or domesticated at all. Obviously they aren't eaten, but they do drink cows milk over here. The cows seems all skin and bones to me, but it struck me that cows that we typically see might be unnaturally fat since they are raised primarily for slaughter.
And I saw a monkey. In the middle of a very busy street. It startled the crap out of me.

My First Bollywood Movie in Theaters

It was called Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai (with the two As, I don't know why). It wasn't exactly your classic Bollywood movie, as in it wasn't a romantic comedy and it only had two songs rather than the average 5 or 6. It also didn't have one of the 5 or 6 primary rotating lead actors and actresses, which is unusual.
It was a gangster epic set in 70s Mumbai about a mafia don/town hero who has a stunning rise to power only to brought down by his treacherous underling. For the most part I didn't have a huge idea what was going but you could figure it out. I can't speak to the dialogue and the acting, because I just don't know, but like the visuals and the directing were really impressive. If it weren't for the songs, it could have passed as an American movie in terms of the realism and the way that it was filmed. I thought it was a pretty enjoyable movie and I think I would have liked it a lot if I'd understood all of the dialogue. The audience was constantly whistling and cheering for the hero. At least this time I was prepared for the strange cinema behavior of Indian audiences.
Also it had some gorgeous leading ladies. I mean, these ladies were something else.

Ketchup with everything and salted soda
They like ketchup a bit too much in my opinion. The ask me if I want it on just about every non-vegetable food we eat. Bread and things like that mostly. A few days we a food that would probably be best described as a delicious variation on Ramen noodles (but it wasn't packaged or anything - they cooked it themselves), and Akshay smeared tons and tons of ketchup and spread all around our shared bowl. I'm not sure if I have ever been more skeptical of a food item in my entire life. But it was actually pretty good. I mean, this is not a practice I'm going to enact when I get home, and if anyone sees me putting ketchup where ketchup doesn't belong on my return, slap me. Nonetheless, I see why they like it. It wasn't so bad.
There's this soda shop that we frequent. The propietor is a nice guy who always makes a point of talking to me a bit in his fairly ragged English. I always appreciate the effort when folks do this. I got one soda on the recommendation of Pratik and another one on the recommendation of Akshay. Both claimed that their soda selections were sweet and cool. Not true. Akshay's was salted. Generously salted. It turns out that in addition to their strange ketchup tastes, they also put a large amount of salt on the top of their sodas. Now, I don't mean to be so dismissive, but this is a truly disgusting practice and I haven't the foggiest idea what about salted drinks tastes good to them.


  1. Ted, I thoroughly enjoyed this blog! I can't believe you saw a monkey in the middle of a street, I would freak out! Also I completely agree with the idea of salted doesn't sound the least bit pleasant. It sounds like you're having a good time! I can't wait to hear more.

  2. ted, you seriously keep cracking me up! their food and drinks do sound kinda disgusting, especially the salted soda...i think that the indian culture is just so different and foreign that nearly everything they do just seems funny to us. it's awesome, i'm a little jealous of you and how different your experience will be from the western world! hope you're doing well :]

  3. in brazil they also put ketchup and mustard on abnormal things! and its not like the heinz brand we have in the states, (i'm sure its different in inda too)its alot more watery and like...more slimy.