Monday, March 31, 2008


Just had to let you know that I have transformed a UFO into a FO!*

Introducing.... Greeners!

These are in honor of my oldest daughter' school, Evergreen State College and yes, that color is pretty accurate.

Sock Madness, round two starts soon -so more sock knitting will be coming up!

* non-knitter translations...
UFO: UnFinished Object
FO: Finished Object

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Goan Goals Gone

Well, Friday was a bit of a wash (ha ha), but we were hoping for an improved Saturday. We started off by deciding to take a walk after breakfast since it was nice out. We started out down the beach and enjoyed exploring some of the sites along the way. It really is a lovely beach, even for us spoiled Californians.

We did notice that the skies were darkening as we walked on though. Anna and I decided to turn around at one point while Bryan wanted to walk on a bit further. We soon realized that we had turned around just in time, for as we got back to the hotel it started to rain. Pour. Pelt. We got wet. But nowhere near as wet as Bryan did. It eased up a little bit and we retreated to the hotel room to dry off and get ready for our outing! Yes, It was Saturday and time for Ingo's Saturday Night Bazaar. I suspect that any tour book on Goa will say something about it...

"... firmly established on the tourist agenda that Saturday night means Ingo’s. ..."

"...Ingo's saturday night bazaar has come a long way to be a jewel in the crown ... The best tourist market of Goa."

"Every Saturday after the sun goes down People make there way to the Mother of all Indian night Markets"

This is going to be so cool! I had been saving up my shopping all week for this! So we called the driver who we had used on Thursday and headed North.

This is what a lot of the sites of Goa looked like for me...

On the way there I did want to stop by a place I had found listed in the Rough Guide to Goa book, Sangolda. Sangolda is a shop housed in an 200 year old Palacio and it contained the most beautiful furniture, housewares and artifacts that I have seen in India, all priced accordingly. Wow. But check this out:

This is a quilt that they had hanging in one of the corridors.

Pretty cool huh?

Well, look closer...

That isn't fabric. It is stitchery. Embroidery. Are we impressed? I sure was.

Okay, back to the plan. Ingo's here we come. We fought our way through the Saturday night traffic. It isn't nearly as bad as Bangalore, but being that it was Holi, the crowds (highly colored ones at times) were out in force and it felt like a big party scene. Which Goa has a bit of a reputation for. But, back to Ingo's we finally get through and.... it is empty. closed. not there.

So... we tried another market. Ditto. We were never really able to get clear as to whether it was the fact that it was Holi, or the night before Easter, or just the continuing rain, but there were no markets open.


So, our driver felt sort of bad and took us to see Baga Beach.

Glad we weren't staying here!

So, the tally so far. We left the hotel at about 3:45pm, it is now about 6:30 and we have seen one shop and a very crowded beach. Perhaps we should just try to find a nice restaurant to have dinner at. Well, our driver pipes up that he knows a nice restaurant and so we start to head South. It really is a long trek, but we enjoy the scenery buzzing by outside the window and 1 1/2 hours later we get to the road the restaurant is on and .... it is blocked. We can't get through.

At this point I am starting to think that someone has it out for us. But our driver turns the car around and after a momentary pause, during which he is seen to be drumming his fingers on his lips and muttering "hmmmm", he says he knows of another place. He drives us, drops us off and we proceed to enjoy one of the best meals I have eaten on any vacation. Goan cuisine, with fresh fish (this restaurant has their own boat) is absolutely divine.

Believe it or not, it was all worth it.

Easter Sunday was spent enjoying a last bit of Goan fresh air before we returned to Bangalore.

Now we are "home", although it is a bit strange because now that we are back I realize that it doesn't quite feel like home yet, but regardless the cats were very happy to see us!

Someday I hope to return to Goa again, although I think we will not go during Easter week next time!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Good Goan Friday

So, where were we- Thursday, we went to see some temples and went shopping in Panjim. Right.

So guess what we did on Friday? We went on the tour that was organized by the hotel. We were supposed to go to the old churches in Old Goa, but because it was Good Friday (this would be the day following Maundy Thursday) the church was not open for visitors. So..... we went to see some temples and went shopping in Panjim. Sound familiar? yeah. We were not pleased, but by the time we heard this we were already captive on the bus so we had to go along for the ride. We arrived at the first stop, which was the second temple that we had viewed the day before. Since we didn't want to go into the temple again we instead walked up the road to where all of the little sales stands are and got something to drink and snack on. While doing so there was a young man who ...well see for yourself.

It is a strange (to us anyway) behavior that many Indians seem to have the need to take photos or video us, I can only assume it is because we are not Indian. While we are generally good sports about it, my daughter does not always appreciate the attention. Unfortunately, I think when I took a photo of him taking a photo of us, I only encouraged him and his group of friends. They were very friendly, I think. Chatting away in Hindi, I couldn't understand what they were saying to each other- but I am pretty sure it was Hindi. Well, we walked on and found a shady spot to sit and soon we found ourselves surrounded by a group of giggling Indian girls wanting to have their picture taken with us. Bryan got a shot as well.

OK. We're done now. Can we go yet?

So, back on the bus we proceeded towards Old Goa and drove by a cool looking site that obviously had the ruins of an old building, I think our "guide" (I am being very generous to use that term) said that it was one of the original churches of Goa. Cool! We get to stop there and check it out... wait we are still driving... are we looking for parking? Nope. We aren't stopping. Instead a few minutes later we arrive at a "Handicraft Emporium". Here we can get out and shop and use the toilet.
Rug loom at Handicraft Emporium

Well, they do have some very nice things here, but I am hesitant to buy much because we are going to go to the night market in North Goa tomorrow. It is supposed to be very cool and have the best things. Plus this place is really expensive thank you very much. So, back on the bus and we continue driving into Panjim where we stop at a parking area where there are some shops that sell cashews and feni. Our "guide" says that we can get out here and buy some of these things. Well, fine- we did want to pick some up so we oblige. Once we finish we head back to the bus and are told that we can now walk to the boat tour. This is supposed to be an optional add-on to our tour, but I think they are feeling bad about how lame this tour really is and so they decide to foot the bill for our boat trip.

So, the boat. What can I say. If you ever go on a vacation that is near a large body of water you will come across this sort of thing. Boat, music, drinks, food (sometimes), and entertainment. The boat leaves the dock, the drinking and the entertainment begin, and then at a later point the boat returns to the dock. Raise your hand if you have encountered some variation of this-

Yeah- us too.

So, in keeping with the spirit of the day the boat left the dock and then had to return right away as the DJ had forgotten his bag that had all of the music. So we set out a second time and things got hopping with some Hindi pop and an invitation for all of the children to take to the stage and dance.

As I think I have mentioned before, Indians love to dance (so do I) and they love music (so do I) and they love to do it with others at ear splitting noise levels (yup- me too!). So, the kids grabbed the stage and got the party started (Anna took a pass). Then it was time for the couples, although most couples seemed unwilling to admit they were couples, but Bryan and I decided to get into the act and we went up on stage to join the one other couple that had copped to it and so we were a couple of couples. Once the music started and we began dancing, Bryan and I doing our best impersonation of Bollywood style boogie, more couples joined us- maybe so they wouldn't have to watch us making fools of ourselves. Well, the gods were well pleased and we were soon being pelted with a blessing of rain. But our dancing was so enthusiastic that the rain came down harder and harder! (it doesn't seem to sprinkle much in India) Our audience fled downstairs (I swear it wasn't our dancing) and we all... kept dancing! We were having fun! Well, finally the DJ said that we needed to go downstairs and once the music stopped we really had no choice. So we followed the other dripping dancers to the lower level where there were no chairs, just lots of people standing around, dripping. It was raining for quite a while and we tried to make do with looking at the scenery passing to either side of the boat. The skies really were something!

Soon the rain slowed down enough that the DJ, prodded by a group of enthusiastic (and possibly inebriated) young men, started up the music again.

I should add here that there were a couple of ethnic dance performances thrown in here, Goan harvest dances and such performed by four brave locals, but we would be kidding ourselves if we said that was the real show. We were the show thank you very much! I even got my dear teenage daughter to join me on stage in the end. I think, it is possible, perhaps, that she might have even enjoyed herself (and so did I!)

"Hare Raam, Hare Raam..."

Well, the show did have to come to an end and so we returned to the dock and returned to our bus and drove for about one hour so that we could return to our hotel. What a day.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Goa, Goa, gone...

Tuesday (3/18): Time to go to Goa! It is an amazingly short distance, well- I am still getting used to the distances here in India, not being familiar with kilometers and being somewhat disoriented by how long it takes to get anywhere in Bangalore, but Goa is a short, barely 1 hour flight away. So we arrived, got settled into our “villa” (they had upgraded us from our two rooms we had booked) and settled in for some relaxation and downtime.

Wednesday (3/19): I should know better. We spent the day relaxing by the pool because Anna had a lot of studying to do (she has mid-terms next week!) Now sometimes, occasionally, once in a while, I over-estimate my body’s ability to absorb the sun’s rays. I really do tan fairly easily, but I sometimes forget that I don’t spend a lot of time in the sun these days. So- I think you can guess the rest. Yes- I resemble a lobster. You know it’s bad when you are applying blush to the non sunburned areas so that they blend more. I think I will recuperate fairly quickly, but at the moment?- Not pleasant.

Thursday (3/20): today we wanted to get out a little. (we won't mention that I was wholly incapable of "lounging by the pool") So we hired a taxi for the day and headed to Sahakari Spice Farm. This was about a 45 minute drive from where we were staying and they grow… spices; vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, etc.... We took a tour and learned about all of the spices that they cultivate as well as medicinal uses for most of them. It was actually pretty interesting. We also saw how they harvest some of the fruits that are up high in the trees.

Best left to professionals

One courageous visitor even gave it a go himself. Suffice it to say that he showed how hard it really is. I did learn something new as well. See this...

These are cashews! The cashew is the little part at the end and the rest is what they call the "apple". They use it to make Cashew Feni, one of the local alcohols- they also make a palm feni and a coconut feni. We tried a bit, it is quite warming.

After the spice farm we asked to visit a couple of the Hindu temples in the area. We were interested in seeing them because they are a bit different from most Hindu temples.

Shri Mahalasa Temple

Goa is mostly a Catholic state and was a Portuguese colony for many years. So these temples are said to have architectural influences from the Christian buildings in the state. I really can't make a good comparison myself as we have only visited the ISKCON temple in Bangalore which is a very modern style of architecture. Still, they were interesting to see.

Then we paid our respects to the Christian God by visiting the Bom Jesus Basilica in Panjim.

Now if you are paying attention you will notice that we were doing all of this on Maundy Thursday. So, basilica closed. Fine, we had actually had a little bit of a hard time finding a driver for the day because they all go to church for big Maundy Thursday services. That’s okay, we saw a bit and then headed in to Panjim itself to have a bit of a look around.

Tomorrow I will tell you about the rest of our stay and the little misadventures we had!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Zombie Socks

Zombie Socks
Originally uploaded by SnidKnits

Well, I am finished with the round one socks!!!!!!

Took a little longer than I had hoped, but I am definitely "out of training"!
Last night my hands ached, I couldn't focus my eyes anymore and all day I just felt like my speed was not up to par. Woke up this morning, warmed up my still aching hands and finished them off. Very nice pattern and a fun knit!

I estimate that each sock took approximately 12 hours to knit.
I am pretty sure that I made it to Round Two. Now it will start getting tougher!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Sock Madness-Zombie Sock #1

Zombie Sock #1
Originally uploaded by SnidKnits
So the pattern for these socks was inspired by zombies. I really should be watching Shaun of the Dead while knitting these! But, I am done with the first sock and I should be able to finish the second one without any problem tomorrow. Great pattern!

Now, I am off to bed.

(all sorts of thunder and lightning and then rain outside! Just like a Summer storm in the Midwest! Cool!!!)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Creative Post? Well...

Okay, this one is for the knitters!

I know, I know... I have been absent. Actually I have been sick. Attacked by the Indian version of a flu. Dang- it kicked my butt. I was sick in bed for four days. I cannot even begin to explain how frustrating that is to me. I HATE laying in bed. Drives me nuts. But, I am finally starting to feel better on day 6, just in time for Sock Madness! Yup. In about 24 hours Sock Madness starts and I will be knitting with a frenzied pace. Just incase you have no idea what I am talking about I will give you the quick rundown. Sock Madness is a speed knitting competition in which we are grouped into divisions, we knit a pair of socks and the first ones done move on to the next round. And believe it or not it is more fun than you can possibly imagine. I wrote a little poem about it last year- but you'll just have to re-read it as I don't have time to get too creative right now... :)

My sock yarn awaits...

One of the reasons I was so frustrated being sick was that I was really hoping to get some other things done in the last week. Let me show you. I bought this:

And this:

to make some....

Can you guess? Yup. Curtains. I particularly wanted to get them finished before those late nights of Sock Madness start up, but it looks like the first round will have to be done without them... sigh.

Well, hopefully I will get the first pair of socks done real quick and then I can get the curtains done... before we go to Goa. Geez.

Okay, one more thing, check out this yellow lace weight yarn I bought down near Commercial street. For comparisons sake, it is laying next to a FULL skein of Socks That Rock. That's a lot of yardage there isn't it. I asked the clerk how many meters/yards there were and he just looked at me and said "no meters, weight." It is acrylic, but doesn't feel too bad for the cost. It was about 80 Rupees.

That's just shy of $2.00 US. I think I can play around with it some...

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Random Daily Adventures

I just don't have it in me to do much with the creative writing at present. I have been in a bit of a downer mood the last couple of days... felling a bit lonely for home as well as being a bit bored. The creativity is coming though and I hope to have a more interesting post in a couple of days, but in the meantime I do have some sights I would like to share with you...

So as you travel around town, sometimes you are just struck by how different things are. There are the signs:

Observance of one of India's major religions:

That would be watching cricket...

Everyday sources for traffic problems:

Leak on Vittal Mallya Road

And then there is the shopping, I always spot something different that catches my eye...

You know you've got market share:

Vegetarian China...

A different kind of green beans:

Those would be coffee beans!

I also found a local store that carries absolutely everything that I have been driving all over the city to find. Everything. A few blocks away. It is one of those stores that you walk by and don't take much notice of because it looks small from the outside. I should have been clued in by the quantity of people that are usually in the area though. The store is MUCH larger than it looks, has every imaginable thing, including the ever elusive vanilla extract (or "essence" as they call it here). They even have lettuce and basil! (I can in no way communicate how incredibly exciting this is!) I took some shots in the second floor so that you can get a sense of what I am talking about...

Looking left

Looking right

I really wish I had discovered this store sooner. I will chalk it up to newcomer blindness.

And finally some sights from around the neighborhood...



Heading home...