Monday, February 17, 2014

Begging Day, Shopping Day or the Day of Hail....the full story

Initially the thought was that Saturday would be a fairly relaxing, free and easy day.  I think when you are new to India it is impossible for this to be the case unless you just relax in your hotel.  The sights and sounds, foods and number of shops all make for a very full and long day.  Saturday was a wonderful day, full of new and fun adventures, but as we really didn't finish the day until 10pm, it felt very long as well!!

Of course I started off with a very delicious breakfast - the hotel breakfast buffet is just TOO good!
After Breakfast many of us decided to take a walk to get shopping money and visit the tailor so that the boys could order custom western suits and shirts as well as mens traditional shirts called kurtas.  There were so many different types of material as well as womens wear such as sarees and punjabi suits.  We even watched as some gentleman were hand embroidering and bedazzling some of the items.
The men run the shops, perform the tailoring, embroidering, modeling and sales.
We spent an hour in the tailor shop helping the men on our team finalize their orders.  While waiting and also grabbing money from the ATM I snapped a few photos of from the streets:

Who needs Cross Fit?

Egg Delivery
We then continued our journey down the streets of Ludhiana where we came upon a Levi's chain store that was offering a 50% discount.  As people were trying on and buying some new Levi apparel we saw an elephant cross in front of the store!!  We ran out and took a short ride on our new friend Lakshmi the elephant goddess who worked for her food and the food of her caretakers.  I was a little worried at first that maybe we were supporting her abuse, but as I understand the elephants are actually very well cared for.  She was a sweet elephant who gave all of us a thrill.
First Cristian, my colleague from Romania, climbed aboard and then it was my turn.  It was quite an experience climbing an you can see she is not small!

Lakshmi's caretakers

 We paid the Elephant caretakers 500 rupees, unfortunately once we pulled out our money we were accosted by many others on the street wanting our rupees.  We were able to escape the crowd and we caught an 'auto' to FabIndia, one of my favorite stores in Ludhiana!!  I couldn't escape without buying a few things, so on this visit I bought earnings which I had planned to give away, but now I love too much, so I think I have to go back and buy more so that I have some to give away!

Dymitro - the German, Russian, Ukranian (Dimitri or Dymitri....many ways to spell your name!!), Peter - the Hungarian, Alessandra - the Italian, Anneliese - a fellow American all grabbed another auto and headed to the market where we found Bombay creations AND my new favorite restaurant Laat Saab.

At Bombay creations Annaliese was looking for a saree and the rest of us were just there for the experience and of course some hot chai!  Wow, is it an experience shopping for sarees in India!!  It is again all men doing all of the work, including the modeling!!  You point at something that catches your eye and they start pulling sarees or punjabi suits out and unraveling them so that you can see the fabric in all of its glory.  Once you like something they will try it on one of their live models, then if you like it on them, you can try it on yourself.  Once you pick out your outfit you can have them custom tailor it for you and then deliver to your hotel.  So as I mentioned it was going to be only us watching Anneliese purchase her saree (and boy she found a beautiful one) but Alessandra and I both ended up with beautiful punjabi suits as well!  We plan to wear these outfits for the bachelor and birthday party we are having later as well as a potential wedding we may be invited to and we may also get to wear it again for our final presentation, can't wait!  A custom tailored, hand embroidered 3 piece suit, with delivery to the hotel in 4 days was less than $50!
The owner of Bombay creations with me, Anneliese and Alessandra

Our Saree model - this is not the one Annaliese purchased
After 2 hours at this amazing shop we had worked up an appetite and headed to a late lunch.  On our walk to find lunch look at what we saw:
Chai Walla - 4 hot cups for 30 rupees

Fixing the power line!

A closer peak of the work being done
We then found Laat Saab for an amazing lunch!!  It was quite funny though as a very tall Indian man came up to me and asked me "you would like a samosa?' in a British accent!!  I was definitely not expecting that and almost didn't understand what he said because I was prepared to hear an Indian accent or maybe even Hindi or Punjabi words to come out of his mouth!  It just so happens that this man who was Indian, but born in Kenya and now lives in England was in town helping his family open their new restaurant.  We had delicious samosas and the best Dosa in town thus far!

Enjoying Chole Bhature

The best Dosa in town!

After lunch we rushed back to the hotel for a quick rest before heading back out.  In the hour we were in the hotel it started to hail!  The hail was so bad it covered cars and made the roads icy for a few minutes...definitely not something I was expecting to experience in India!

We ended the evening buying beautiful scarves at a shop called Aksana!  I unfortunately do not have pictures of this, but they were beautiful and very reasonable.  Our team bought so many scarves that I think we made the shop very happy!  We ended the evening at a reasonable hour as Sunday was the all day journey to Amritsar and the Wagah Border.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the ongoing photos and comments, I am really enjoying them and it looks like you are having an amazing experience! We have found an Indian restaurant that serves good Dosas in Norwalk....they were Ruth';s favorite when we visited India. Keep blogging!! :-)