"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Poor, Poor Pablo

I gotta get outta this place,

If it’s the last thing I ever do….


After all that fussing, a couple minutes later I saw him dipping his head in his water cup to get wetter.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Day in the Life

Some days it’s best not to get out of bed:

1.      I had to.   I’m doing the mail route this week.   

It’s snowing.   By late morning the sky is clearing and by the time I finish the route, it’s a nice sunny day.

2.      I decide to wash the mud and dirt off the truck because when I’m loading and unloading mail, I get dirty.

3.      I carry an exceptionally heavy hose from the warm crawl space under the house and hook it up.   It l furnishes only a trickle of water.

4.      Get another hose from the crawl space, a much lighter hose even though it’s the same length.

5.      The alarm for the septic lift station starts screaming.   Shut the darn thing off and check lift station.   Everything looks okay, except the liquid level is too high.   Pump isn’t working apparently.

6.      Check all pump and control breakers.   Use a long weather-beaten pole to move floats.   Alarm screams.   Shut the damn thing off.   Pull mini-splinters from hands.

7.      Wash the truck.   It looks terrible.

8.      Wash the truck again, and wet wax it.   Looks better.

9.       Deal with the two hoses because it’s still freezing at night.

10.    Mess with the lift station again.  Call Dave to check it.

11.    Think about going litter picking.

12.    Decide I better not leave the septic tank full just in case.

13.    Get gas pump, suction hose, outlet hose.

14.    Pull cord to start pump.   It starts.   Nine!  Shut it off.

15.    Try to put suction hose into septic tank.   It’s too curly from being curled up in a bucket all  winter.   Force it down into septic tank with long pole.  Pull more mini-splinters from hands.

16.    Start pump.  Easy-peasy.  Shut it off.  Very nice.

17.    Hook outlet hose to pump and drag other end to leach field inspection tube.  Insert.

18.    Prime pump and hook up suction hose.   Won’t suck.

19.    Remember that pump will not pull suction if hose is too deep.

20.    Get a large bucket of water.

21.    I will put suction end in clean water until it pulls, turn off valve for outlet and hope suction  holds long enough to lower suction hose into tank.

22.    Figure out how to get curly suction hose into tank:  Zip tie suction hose to end of long pole.

23.    Get a zip tie from glove compartment of truck.

24.    Glove compartment of truck won’t close because it’s too full.   Move things around and close.

25.    Get things set up to zip tie hose to pole.   Can’t find the zip tie.

26.    Go back to truck and get another zip tie.   Glove box won’t close.

27.    Empty some things out and close it.

28.    Zip tie suction hose to long pole.   Everything’s ready.   Pull more mini-splinters.

29.    Pump won’t start.

30.    Say a bunch of really, really bad words and go in house.   I’m getting too old for this crap.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The India Journals, Ch. 32, A Luncheon at the Maharani's Palace

Ch. 32,  a Luncheon at the Maharani’s Palace

Atithi Devo Bhawah (Consider the guest as God)—from ancient Hindu scripture

When the Maharaja of Jaipur heard that Edward, Prince of Wales, was going to visit his city in 1853, he decided to roll out the red carpet, Indian style.   To wit:   He ordered the entire city painted the color of Indian hospitality—pink.  At the time Sawai Ram Singh ordered the redecorating, Jaipur was under the protection of Great Britain, so it is well that the Maharaja showed his hospitality so remarkably.   

And pink it remains today, by law.  Own a building within the old walled city and it must be pink.
Today, the Pink City is our destination.  We will have lunch at the Maharani’s City Palace.  Jaipur has grown far beyond the ramparts and fortified gates (all pink) of the old city, and our coach drives through the streets outside them until we arrive at one of the seven gates, which stands wide open to all.

This lady is eating breakfast.

As a street dog waits hopefully for a bite, I catch the lady's eye and motion with my fingers to my mouth and point at the dog, asking that she feed him.   She smiles and nods.   We drive on.

We drive along the gridded streets of this well-planned city which was founded in 1717, and acknowledged as the best planned city on the Indian subcontinent.  When we arrive near the City Palace, Dinesh gives us time to explore several of the museums on the grounds.

One of seven fortified gates into the old city.

Another gate.

I make a fast circle through the arts and crafts building, and go looking for the military armaments museum.   I wind up lost again, climb a narrow stairwell that reeks of urine and has suspicious stains in all the corners.   I was pretty sure this was moisture seeping from the cement or stone.

Eventually, I find the right place, wander through the exhibits, then go back to the courtyard to people watch.  

My ticket gives me entrance to the various museums.

The presence of these costumed men were arranged by Vantage, but they still wanted tips.

Made of colored rice and marigolds.

An elephant arrives.   Turns out, it’s for us.   The elephant and a group of musicians escort us to the palace gate where two ladies adorn us with necklaces. 

First, we assemble in a beautiful dining room where family portraits adorn the furniture.

Then, into the palace.

After a tour through part of the palace, we are escorted to the lawn where an elaborate luncheon is served.

Our path is lined with marigolds.

Detail of one of the tablecloths.

Appetizer, seafood "tots".

Appetizer, fried ground lamb with mint chutney.

Cold salads

Grilled fish with lemon butter sauce.

Roasedt potatoes

Mugh Shahi Korma--chicken in yoghurt with spices

Laal Maas--lamb curry

Methi Mungodi--small pasta with moong lentils

Sauteed veggies

Deewani Paneer--fresh cheese in sauce

Subz Biryani--rice with assorted veggies

Daal Hariyali--I'm not sure what this is.   Daal or dal means lentils, and hariyali means green, so perhaps this is lentils with spinach and somehow it turned red.

My very reasonable plate.

My plate with naan.

The monkeys kept us entertained until the groundsmen ran them off.

Strawberry mousse.

Gulab Jamun--This seems to be a favorite dessert, soaked in sweet syrup.   From Wikipedia:   It is made mainly from milk solids, traditionally from freshly curdled milk. In India, milk solids are prepared by heating milk over a low flame for a long time until most of the water content has evaporated. These milk solids, known as khoya in India and Pakistan, are kneaded into a dough, sometimes with a pinch of flour, and then shaped into small balls and deep fried at a low temperature of about 148 °C.[1] The balls are then soaked in a light sugary syrup flavored with green cardamom and rose water, kewra or saffron.[2] These days, gulab jamun mix is also commercially available. Gulab jamun is often served at weddings and birthday parties.

This is how I knew what I was eating.   Name cards at each chafing dish.

Black Forest cake--more frosting than cake, but good.

And live entertainment.

Tomorrow, we leave Jaipur for New Delhi.   We have a couple things to do first, though, not the least of which is facing the evil scale back in my hotel room.  

 I’ll miss this city.

A parked cow.

Note the potty-training.   No pants