Time with Anna!

What a blessing to be able to see Anna (and Sam!) here…in India! Having coffee at Barista or dinner at Ploof transports us all from the rough, relentless harshness of life here to a “metro-anywhere” feeling – we could be anywhere in the world (and not Delhi ;). It’s so wonderful to be able to see Anna doing some of her favorite things: having coffee, eating chocolate cake, buying shoes, or dressing us up in Saris. It’s so hard to imagine that bright flashy smile not coming out as it does so often when we live in SF; I’m glad it is coming out this week. What a treat!

(it’s still weird to be shooting the breeze withher & Sam in Choko La, the yummy cafe in Basant Lok, and look around & see women in Sari’s and remember, “hey, we’re in India!”)

Purism’s for the birds

As you probably know, I’m not a real pharma, drug kinda gal. But can I just hear some hallelujahs for whoever invented Cipro? If you haven’t traveled to a developing country, let’s just say that Cipro and the like are indispensible for those of us lucky enough to get the “traveler’s friend” while partaking in the local cuisine.

Hallelujah for Cipro!

they say India is a land of contrasts….

…and we saw one that won’t read in the guidebooks. It was the contrast between dinner at Anil’s home (Anil is the owner of the tour agency we used), and the dinner at the home of our fearless and faithful driver, Asif.

When Asif extended us an invitation we were surprised, as we suspected he was a man of very simple means (an assumption proven to be true). Then Anil called to extend his invitation to us too (we were feeling quite popular). Not wishing to offend his boss, Asif asked us what we wanted to do. We wanted to go to Asif’s, and we also wanted to honor Anil’s request…so we did both. Dinner, Part One was held at Anil’s gated home on the outskirts of Jaipur. The exchange was cordial, the food (as always) tasty, and the ambiance….a bit stiff. It was 10pm by the time we made it back into the Old City center for Dinner, Part Two at Asif’s home. There, we were met by his two boys, Sajid (16) and Samer (13) and his smiling, petite, beautiful wife Zarin (which Asif proudly told us means “shining” in Arabic). She had handmade us rotis, a chicken curry for Sue and a veg paneer for me.

The entire time, Zarin and Asif giggled with one another, and I was taken aback by the wink Samer slipped in to me when nobody was looking (I concluded that “Samer” must translate into “rascal” ;). The joy and warmth emanated so richly from this SINGLE room (no bathroom, let alone working kitchen) that the power outage and stench from the animals in the street faded to the background. How many proverbs talk about how it is better to be with little and have peace in the home, than have much and strife? Asif is a blessed man.