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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Ahmedabad (not in Mumbai, so don't worry!)

First, thank you so much to everyone who wrote expressing concern for my group and my friends in Mumbai. Everyone is fine. My group was in Ahmedabad, which is in a different state than Mumbai, when the blasts happened; thanks to my mobile phone, I was able to get in touch with my closest friend in Mumbai, who had not left his office yet. As far as I know, the loved ones of my friends are okay as well. Let me share with you the piece of good news I have heard out of this - a friend with whom I have been speaking almost daily since arriving here told me that on his way home from work yetserday (Wednesday July 12, one day after the blasts), the streets were packed with people of all ages passing out tea and biscuits to commuters, that everyone was out on the street being kind, offering, helping.

Okay, on to less dramatic news. I'm enjoying Ahmedabad and Gujurat very much. Yesterday we drove north of the city to see some historic structures - and you know how much I love historic structures - and I was a very happy camper indeed. Two stepwells and an 11th-century temple, all of which were mindblowing. Simply beautiful. Of course my camera battery died at the first of the spots, so I haven't got many photos, but everyone else in the group does. Yesterday night I ate a yummy, if unbalanced, dinner of some kind of peppery hush puppy-type things from a street vendor (no idea of the name of the dish and my usual informant of all things Indian has not been able to help - darling Akshay, what say you?) and a chocolate orange sundae from an ice cream shop called Hapinezz. I figure if you can buy hapiness for only 55 rupees, life is pretty good, na? This morning we did a walking tour of old parts of this city - well, not very old, I guess, a couple hundred years - and witnessed the deity image being brought into a big Hindu temple in the morning, complete with bells and prayers and this amazing scent of jasmine coming from I have no idea where. And tonight there is an outing of 12 of us - plus Rajan of course - to go see Krrish (for those who are not in the know [shame on you!], this is India's big action movie of the summer, and the first real superhero-type movie, complete with Hong Kong action and wire work and all that).

And tomorrow...Mumbai! Is it wrong to fall to the ground and kiss it before I'm even out of the airport? Just try and stop me. And the very first moment I can get to the Gateway of India, I am going to run, twirl around with my arms outspread, and sing and dance. Even if it's raining.

(Bollywood-interested readers, hop over to BLB for special news.)


At 7:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


It's lovely to read your enthusiatic appreciation of your trip!

Your dinner was probably pani-puris, or some other form of "chaat" featuring puris - sev-puri and bhel-puri are other possibilities.

Have fun in Bombay! Sounds like you have it all planned out :-)

Bitterlemons from Bollywhat

At 10:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beth, thanks so much for all of your sensitive and fabulous stories about your adventure. I've been reading with a constant smile on my face!

So glad to hear you weren't effected by the latest events in Mumbai.

Make sure you come back to Champaign! We miss you.
By the way, your house looks great but it misses you too. -Jan

At 10:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So glad to know that you are safe, Beth - thanks for posting. I was wondering...but thought that you weren't in Mumbai. I've been enjoying your posts - reading about such an amazing experience you are having! L, Hoot


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