We began the day with BOTH of our alarm clocks going off at 6am…..we didn’t trust that we would wake up from only one clock. The morning did not get off to an auspicious start since we couldn’t figure out how to turn the water on so a shower was not in the cards. At 8:00am we walked down to Paul Billy’s house and were greeted by his wife, Shirley. She sent Thomas off to check on the water and then proceeded to fix us an excellent breakfast. She set out all of the normal American food…….cereal, bread, butter and jam, but more importantly to us, she made scrambled eggs and chipati bread. Chipati is a tortilla like bread made with wheat flour, oil and water and then rolled into thin circles and fried in a skillet). She warned us that the green things in the eggs were chilies and of course Michael had to try one…..whole. I think that his tongue is still sweating.
The street that we are living on is a mixture of homes and small stores. The first sounds that I heard this morning (at 6:00am) were of the shop just across the street opening up their store and stocking shelves. Most of the apartments have 3 stories and washing is hanging out on most of the levels. The street is busy with kids heading for school, people walking, bikes, scooters, “auto-rickshaws”, a fruit and vegetable vendors (I can hear one calling right now) and dogs. Early this morning there was a funny whooshing sound that I couldn’t figure out…… Michael told me that it was women out cleaning their porch and walks with a straw type broom. Maybe I will get to see this tomorrow.
In front of almost every home, there were designs chalking on the pavement . We asked about them and were told that they were drawn there to keep out evil and to also make the cows that pass feel welcomed. (Cows are considered sacred in the Hindu religion and are allowed to wander free)
We walked back to our host’s home to use the internet and spent a bit of time talking with Shirley. We heard a commotion outside and went out on the walkway to watch a group of about 20 men putting up a new electric pole. Ten were holding the bottom of the new pole, while another group of 10 pulled on a long rope that was attached to the top of the pole. Yet another group of 10 older men watched the process. It was fun to watch all of the women sitting out on their porches watching as well. After the pole was up, one man climbed on a bamboo ladder and sat on the cross bar while the others filled in the hole around the pole. While a few of the men finished wiring the new pole, the rest of them moved on to the next pole and started getting it ready to come down. They finished the second pole later in the afternoon.
Michael and I decided to venture out to see a bit of the area and walked down to some of the local shops. I had a look in a “Sweets” shop and didn’t recognize ANYTHING……it was all very different looking. I probably should have bought something, but decided to give it a miss for now. It was fun to walk thru the general store and try to figure out what everything was. We did decide that we want to buy some spices before we leave. We were going to go further on our walk, but realized that Paul Billy had arrived at his home so we went back to meet him.
We spent a couple of hours chatting with Paul Billy. He is very talkative and enjoyable to interact with. We spoke mostly about his ministry here in India. Shirley fixed an excellent lunch, complete with rice and a rich curry sauce, fried chicken legs (marinated in egg and Turmeric), and a spicy cabbage dish. Everything was served with fried Popodoms. Michael and I were given forks and knives, but Paul Billy ate Indian style….with his hands. I decided to join him and found it a very interesting experience.
After lunch Paul Billy left to pick up his kids so Michael and I took a stroll around the neighborhood. It was very interesting and yet slightly disconcerting to be out on our own. People tended to stare, but most seemed curious….not upset. We mostly looked and took photos, stopping in a couple of shops to see what they had. Each shop specialized in one thing, sweets, rice, tires, crunchy snacks, decorating stuff, cell phones, etc. There were also vendors moving up and down the street. The condition of the sidewalks were poor, with it ranging from dirt, to rocks, to rubble to concrete…..I am very thankful for the Chaco sandals!!!!
There was a lot of construction going on and it was interesting to see that they used wooden beams for scaffolding and also as supports for the ceilings that were being put up. It was a cool to see the intricate pattern of beams used. As far as the scaffolding goes, it looks extremely dangerous but Paul Billy said that it is very safe.
We also saw several beautiful flowering trees and one that had Jackfruit on it. They were interesting……large and shaped like an elongated bubble and rough on the outside. I have NO idea what it tastes like.
We returned to Paul Billy’s house at 5:00 and were greeted by his children……Jesudas is 10, Elsie is 8 and Joseph is 5. They are all very friendly and we have had a lot of fun conversations with them. At 6:00 we left with Paul Billy and the kids to go to a Bible Study group that meets every Friday evening. There were a group of about 15 adults and several kids already there when we arrived. The study started immediately with singing accompanied by guitar. The songs were ones that we knew and it was fun to think that we had now sung some of them on THREE continents!! The people were all very friendly and we are looking forward to seeing them again on Sunday.
After the study the hosts set out dishes of curry for everyone to eat. They fixed Michael’s and my plate for us and it was covered with a HUGE amount of curried rice and yogurt dahl. We were also told to sit at the table in the kitchen (a place of honor) while the others sat in the other room. However, the hosts stayed with us most of the time. We had only eaten a few bites when she brought out another dish of rice (with chicken this time) and proceeded to heap even more food onto our plates. The taste was wonderful, but the volume almost defeated us, but we knew that we had to eat all of it!!! All of the family kept asking if we wanted more!!! They then brought a small cup of custard with Mango and banana in it. AND, as we were finishing the first one, they handed us another one. THEN, when we thought we were finally through, the hostess brought out a big bunch or small bananas and handed us each one. I really wanted to just lie down and cradle my distended stomach!!!!
Paul Billy is a font of information and we learned a lot while we were driving with him. Bangalore has 8 million people and is steadily growing. The IT industry is funneling a great amount of money into the city. He pointed out white vans that were filled with people and told us that they were IT workers that were being transported to and from work at all hours of the day and night.
The traffic is amazing and the cars get really close together. Michael was sitting in front, and several times he stopped in mid sentence as he saw a car or scooter come REALLY close to his arm!!!! There are small vehicles called “Autos” that look like gas powered rickshaws. Paul Billy said that they were “Roller Coasters without the safety devices!!! There was one truck broken down in the middle of the street and they had put tree branches on the back of it to signify that people should go around.
We arrived back home and fell thankfully into bed.
So far, I have not had enough internet strength to download the photos, but will keep trying.