Wednesday, October 16, 2019

India: Part 14 - Hyderabad

After wrapping up my group tour in northern India, I hopped another plane to go south and see Tim and Nestor in their home base for a few days before heading home.

I landed in the evening and took an Uber from the airport, which was an odd experience. The Hyderabad airport is set up very well for Uber/Ola pickups, but with traffic jams coming into it, a lot of rides cancelled on me. I finally had a guy pick me up, and as we were leaving the airport property, he stopped the car and a few of his friends tried to jump into the car. I yelled at them and they left, and yes, I reported to Uber. I never felt completely unsafe, especially since I had a local cell phone, I was in contact and texting Tim the whole time, and Uber was tracking my ride. But still, not cool.

I had a delicious smoothie waiting for me at their house, since Tim and Nestor are stocked up with groceries. Nestor hits all the best grocery stores every week, and gets whatever he can find, as stock changes regularly. They do have to bleach their vegetables, which seems entirely too much work. But such is India.

They live in a nice apartment complex in the expat part of time. Four bedrooms and two living rooms and a few bathrooms and a massive entry hall thing. I had my own wing while staying there.

We took a special trip to Barbeque Nation in a mall - all you can eat grilled stuff and buffet. Definitely a special occasion spot for locals. We saw a couple birthday parties. Veg and non veg - food for everyone.

Make your own kulfi magic. I asked for a strawberry one, and then I told the guy to put chocolate sauce on it, and he looked at me like that was the weirdest thing ever  and asked me if that was good. Duh! Strawberries and chocolate are amazing. I guess that is not widely a thing in India....

The primary language of Hyderabad is Telugu, and a lot of the Telugu movies are produced here. Also known as Tollywood. Also, lots of people here don't wear shoes.

Tim and Nestor's nice place.

Cool pool, but I didn't go swimming.

On Sunday morning I attempted to go to church, because Hyderbad has a few LDS congregations, and I always enjoy attending church in other countries. They don't have much of the Utahness that otherwise bugs me. 

I took Ola to the church building, which was fenced in and had a security guard. I didn't really see anyone else around, even though it was 15-20 minutes before church started. I had a hunch that the  ONE day I am here it would be stake conference or something. English is not widely spoken  here as it is in northern India, but after some gestures, the security guard opened the building for me. 

I walked around the building for a bit and boom - there it is. The one day that I am in India.

Yay for church wifi being the same everywhere. I hopped on and found the Fern Hotel and headed outside to find another cab.

I waited around a bit because the cab couldn't find me, and the driver called but I couldn't communicate because he didn't speak English. Luckily, a couple minutes later four missionaries rolled up, and they were all American. I tagged along with them and took the metro to the meeting place.

Also at the hotel, a wedding. I wish I could have gone to that too.

Hotel church! I met a few people there, a couple from Utah, a few other foreign nationals, and a few locals. Church is done in English, because there are so many languages spoken here.

I ducked out a little early to meet back up with Tim and Nestor. Found this kid napping while riding around with his family.

We had lunch at the fancy Chuntey's. They have a good selection of thalis, which are sampler platters. You get a little of everything.

Then it was time to explore. We caught a ride towards the Charminar.

The Charminar is a very famous landmark in Hyderabad - both a mosque and a monument, built in 1591. It's also surrounded by lots of markets.

Tim and I went up lots of stairs and hung out with crowds of people. At one point a lady handed me her baby and wanted to take pictures of us.

Selfies with Tim.

More photos. It never stops.

Moving on from the Charminar we saw goat transport.

Walked a block or so away and wandered into the Chowmahalla Palace, where surprisingly Tim and Nestor had not been.

Construction started in the 18th century but took just over 100 years to finish it all.

This is pretty grand.

Definitely worth a visit. I'm glad we stumbled into it.

Headed back to homebase.

The nice thing about Hyderabad was just hanging out with movies and board games. Quite relaxing compared to being out in tourist mode, fighting crowds and hearing constant noise. Plus lots of time to talk and catch up on our lives since we only see each other every few years. It took us probably 3 hours to play one round of this board game, since it was so complicated. But I think it would be fun once you get the hang of it. Too bad I had to leave before that happened.

Prepping my local cell phone for pick up. It served me well. Trabug had sent it to my first hotel, and they sent a courier to pick it up at the apartment when I left.

Bye bye, Hyderabad!

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