Night one of sleep felt real good. I was surprised at how dark my room was-literally pitch black- the way I like it so my sleep mask really wasn’t necessary! The beds are very thin, stiff, and hard so I slept like a rock from 9pm to 1am. After a trip to the bathroom I slept until 6am and finally got out of bed at 7am.
The morning is grey and foggy, just like yesterday. It makes me wonder if there ever is a sunrise here in Hyderabad. As I roamed the halls I was happy to see I was not the only one awake. Other students read books and sat on the balcony of the house, a perfect time for quiet reflection and meditation. While I feel a touch of homesickness, it is mostly due to the fact that I am in a room with an empty bed. If my roommate does not come today I need to move in with another person! It is nice to have my own space but a space for two is awful lonely. I miss you my dearest Emmalee!
With another free day I was excited to meet more students and explore a little more. Little did I know that we would truly experience Hyderabad! A few of us decided to walk to the campus shopping center and ended up merging with a few other students! They were going to take a bus into Hyderabad to go to the zoo so we spontaneously joined, making us 11 total. Outside the main gates of the University we caught bus 216 heading to Koti, a “district” within Hyderabad. Then in Koti we caught bus 95 to get to the zoo. However, we were then informed that the zoo is closed on Mondays. I was excited for the chance to live in the moment (plus I wasn’t super excited about the zoo anyway 🙂 ). We got of the bus and went to plan B. Having seen a museum, we headed back in the direction we came. Soon we arrived at the Salar Jung Museum.
Salar Jung is a museum of art history and contains pieces that represent all parts of the world. It is also 1 of 3 National Museums in India. The place was hopping with Indian travelers who got in relatively cheap compared to the “non-Indian fare.” Clearly this was a place to see across India! Here are some of the galleries we saw:
– Ivory Carvings
– Iron & Bronzes (This was my favorite gallery! There were some beautiful tea sets, rose water containers, and even hookahs!)
– History of Calligraphy
– Arms & Armor
– Miniature paintings
– Eastern Porcelain
– Musical clock from Cook and Kelvey of England. (Every hour, a timekeeper emerges from the upper deck of the clock to strike a gong as many times as it is the hours of the day. People literally wait for each hour to arrive and crowd the seating area to see it dong.)
See more at the website: http://www.salarjungmuseum.in
By the time we left it was around 2pm and I was museumed out J We found a bus stop again and got back on bus 95 to Koli. But once we got dropped off at Koli we struggled to catch bus 216. Here are 11 Americans standing on the side of a frantically busy street waiting for the right bus. We stuck out like sore thumbs and everyone was noticing us, but it was different than the stares I received at the airport. Everyone smiled at us, waved, and laughed (probably at how pathetic we looked-haha). We finally realized we were not going to catch a bus in this location, so we began walking in the direction a kind man pointed us to. All along the way we were engulfed in the smells, sounds, colors, and sweat of Hyderabad. Some people welcomed us to India or took my hand to shake. In my new Indian outfit I felt like I was well respecting the culture and the environment. It is all so overwhelming in a sensory-overload, and we had no idea where we were walking, but we finally found the bus stop. Lesson learned; when a Hyderabadi person tells you something is right around the corner, the corner is much farther away than you expect. Anyhow, we climbed onto the already packed bus for an hour long ride back to campus. In this time I was able to do some reflection. This was another seemly stressful experience, yet I was so calm. I didn’t care that we didn’t know where we were going or that we walked and waited forever, or even that we were drenched in sweat. Similarly, we had no expectations to be anywhere. Therefore, why stress? We lived in the moment and I loved it! I wish I could explain the kind of depth and diversity of the city…but words are escaping me. Maybe after I get over this sensory overload I will be able to describe it better but it is one of those things you simply have to experience.
This leads me to some words on the bus system in response to the New Delhi bus affairs. Please know (father dear), that the Hyderabad bus system is SAFE! 🙂 Initially, I felt safe traveling in a group of men and women. But in riding the bus, I found that single Indian rode the bus all the time. Even school-girls rode the bus without an adult. There is also an unspoken norm that women sit at the front and men in the back. I felt very safe and welcome on the bus and will definitely continue to use it. However the buses are tricky in the fact that the routes are not posted anywhere. Therefore, the only direct way to find out which bus to take where is to ask someone.
Subsequently, it was a long day out which none of us were expecting. Hoping for a little rest before dinner and then see what the night has in store for New Years Eve!
Eat of the Day:
At the museum I ordered Dosa. It is basically a large crepe-like bread; very thin and pliable yet crispy. You rip off pieces and dip it into various sauces. I received a spicy orange chili sauce and a white yogurt dip. In doing some research I found that the batter is made of fermented rice and lentils. It is commonly served for breakfast or on the streets. Dosa can be filled and wrapped up and can be served with sweet or savory additions.
I also may have ingested some of the “fresh water” offered free before realizing it was from the tap. But so far so good!