We arrived in Bangalore nine days ago. Since then we’ve been sleep deprived, overwhelmed, and are trying to quickly acclimate to our new life. All things considered, the adjustment has been about what we expected and we're doing well here in Bangalore. I haven’t blogged as often as I thought about it, so enjoy these random paragraphs. They reflect our time thus far.
On Sunday or Monday we stopped by the front desk of our serviced apartment and someone told Bryan that he resembled Mark Zuckerburg. I could not contain my laughter and Bryan’s response was simply, “Well, we are both white guys.” I’ll let you be the judge!
Our grocery experience:
We went to a large grocery store our third day here. It was our first true “day in the life” experience besides going to work and was much different than any grocery store in the US! The supermarket was large enough that it sold a hair straightener in addition to groceries. I think that was the most exciting purchase for me. Unlike my shopping experiences at home, I did not make a list for two reasons:
1). I wasn’t sure what I would find and
2). Our apartment came stocked with only pepper, so we had a lot of things to buy!
Thankfully the store sold some familiar things like canned tuna, pasta sauce, peanut butter, and cereal. That is where the familiarity ended. We spent a good amount of time reading ingredient labels (which really only works if you are familiar with said ingredients), picking out the things we knew we could eat like rice and lentils, and made a quick trip through the produce aisle which had a few familiar things and many unfamiliar things.
Meat is not consumed as much in India as it is in the States either because of religion or poverty. The beef was purple. The pork was in an entirely different section of the store separate from everything else. Bryan checked out that section while I was paying and reported that we likely won’t buy any pork while here. I did not expect the eggs to be refrigerated (and they were not) but they had all expired well beyond their expiration dates so we passed those up too. We purchased four boneless skinless chicken breasts. The two we had were good J.
The trip was an expensive one and left me feeling underwhelmed. Once in the safety of our car I told Bryan that I never wanted to go there again. Since then, we’ve researched and learned that we will have better luck if we go to specific stores for their specific offering such as the bakery, meat market, etc.
Tonight we went to a different grocery store with a plan and better expectations. The grocery store is called Gourmet Food World and it offered a lot of foods we see in the states that may not be found in other local grocery stores. This time my list was full of mostly traditional spices, lentils, rice, and a few fruits and vegetables but the traditional items were not available. I stocked up on what I could and Bryan and I managed to fill the cart with nuts, chips, beer, and wine. We asked our driver to take us to a butcher and he drove through some terrible traffic only to find the butcher closed for the evening.
I think I'll have to get used to going to MANY different stores and until we get everything I'll try to make a meal out of what we have. To date that means me making some very bland, bad meals. OTnight after we ate leftovers I asked Bryan what else he wanted and he replied, "I don't know, maybe ground up glass" and we both had a good laugh. Unfortunately that is about as good as anything I've made thus far. Hopefully tomorrow night my fried rice will turn out ok! I think I have *most* of the ingredients for that :).
Saturday we did some exploring around our hotel. There are a few points worth mentioning:
1. It is hard to find things because few streets have signs.
2. It is hard to take in the surroundings because you have to look down at where you are stepping at all times. The sidewalks are not a guarantee and often are missing sections, uneven, or move when you step on them.
3. We are cautious which streets we will cross (which really means only one-ways or small side streets) so our exploring was limited by our inability to cross a major street. (See This video to get a better understanding of why we are cautious to cross any street.)
Without a map and street signs we did not find what we sent out to find, but we did find a shopping mall, our church, and some horribly offensive smells. The mix of smells is to be expected and thankfully none of the really bad ones stuck around. There are a lot of flower shops that smell great, so that was a nice “treat.”
Recipes coming soon (I hope!)
I spent a considerable amount of time in the last seven days trying to find traditional Indian recipes I could make in our apartment. With any luck, I’ll be able to post pictures and recipes soon! If not, there will have to be some major change so we can eat decent, nutritious food. Wish me luck!