Rajahmundry and Hello to Kolkata

April 27, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you are having a nice weekend. Yesterday for my day off I had a very special day in Rajahmundry. I drove here this morning with Prasad and started a day of tourism soon after I arrived. photo 3I first had a very authentic lunch of Thali – a few different curries and rice that you eat with your hands. I asked the driver to bring me to a delicious lunch spot. There’s a choice. Veg or non veg? I chose vegetarian and was not disappointed. The restaurant was very informal and people just sit where there is room at the tables. It was so crowded and I really stuck out. I sat across from two men who taught me how to eat the meal. photo 2Daal first (I went for the last thing first, of course), using all five fingers (I was trying to be neat about it and only use my thumb and two fingers), mix in the daal on rice with pickles and ghee to get the real tastes. I look forward to more meals like that especially now that I know how to eat it properly.

After lunch I went on a short boat ride in the smelly river (once we got out into the open it wasn’t so bad) and then went to two temples that were pretty far away. photo 1I liked the second temple the best. The driver (I couldn’t pronounce his name) acted like a tour guide. He hardly spoke any English but we made it work. He was very happy to take pictures of me on my own camera in all the places, so I have a lot of pictures. And as you can see, he let me take one of him. On the way home. I learned how to pray and at the second temple. photo-1I did pretty well, and then gave some rupees to one of the religious men with my left hand and everyone was like NONONO and gave it back to me and I used my right hand. eek. I was also given a red smudge for my head. In the evening, we went to yet another temple where there was a lot of chanting. The driver seemed to be a very spiritual guy.

On the drive up to Rajahmundry and on the way to Kakinada, there’s a stop where you give a woman a bit of money and she puts an orange and red smudge on your car. Prasad got some on the front of his car and his steering wheel.

Today, I had three flights to get to Kolkata. photoI stopped in Hyderabad and in Mumbai. The arrival in Kolkata was easy. The driver from the hotel is Sambhu. In the car he was telling me all about the things that we passed and he pointed out a park for children. He said the water boating goes on there but I thought he said water boarding and it took a few minutes to figure it out. Ha. I didn’t explain my confusion and only laughed on the inside. The hotel is excellent. I have a special room for ladies that has a camera outside so you can see who is at the door, and the image shows up on the screen on the phone. Also, they have enough outlets that I can charge all my devices at once. I look forward to exploring the city tomorrow!

Love, Annie

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