Sunday, December 31, 2006

dec 31

hoooolllyyy shit. this past day has been over the top. let me tell you about ym bus ride to nainital....

i meet at the tourist office at 9pom as scheduled. someone was supposed to walk me to the bus. at 9:30, the guy shows up. he says "wait here, i have more people coming." i wait, and 3 frenchies show up. very nice people. he leads us down the road several bloicks and then proceeds to hail 2 rickshaws. the bus is now loading in old delhi, about 20 minutes away. so we race rickshaws over there, it was fun. then we stand outside and wait for the bus. the guy departs. after talking to some indians, we decide our bus is here. we all go get on this bus, and it is so full, people are stadning in the aisles overcorwding everything. i am thinking...hmmm..this is a NINE hour bus ride and these epople are going to stand the whole time??? apparently frenchies were wondering the same thing. so the bus takes off and then pulls onto the side of the road. some guy get son and tells some people to get off. they get off. he gets back on and tells us to get off. we get off. we get on another bus, a smaller bus. fine. we take off. we stop. we take off, we stop. this goes on until about 1am. the seats were so close together that i have bruises on my knees. the whole trip, which was supposed to take 9 hours from start to finish, ended up taking SIXTEEN hours. it sucked so bad, my body is aching and my neck is burning and i feel like shit.

the upside os that nainital is even more beautiful than i could have imagined. we are WAY the hell up here in the himalayas, and that is cool as hell! i mean, you would not believe this place! plus, there are monkeys! YAY! i saw a cat hissing at a monkey earlier whihc of course made me happy.

the little downside is that nainital is an indian tourist mecca. and today being new year's (which i didn't think they celebrated) this place is packed to the gills! unbelievable amounts of indian tourists. and the thing abou tthat is that this has jacked up hotel prices. what i would normally pay $5 for is going for $40!!!! i am not exaggerating! so i ended up with this crap hole room, whihc i am paying over $10 for. i will bve able to move tomorrow. at least it is very safe here, so no worries about that.

i am also not allowed to go to any of the festivities because only "familes" and "couples" are allowed. i was hoping to do something fun, but i guess it will just have to be fun with Jo! the couples thing made me feel sad...if jamie were here we could go disco-ing with indians together, but alone i am barred!

i am looking forward to being able to enjoy nainital without all the tourists. i will take a boat ride tomorrow and go for a hike around the city and check out this old mansion up the hill. i think for the rest of today i am just going to take it easy!

hope everyone has fun tonight! be safe!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

dec 30th


well, yesterday was an interesting day, had some small let downs.

i went to the train station to get a ticket to go to amritsar. i filled out my forms, waited in line, and finally after about an hour of waiting, discovered the train was full with a waiting list of 120 people. the lady told me there was no way. so...i turned around and left. pissed after struggling in line for nothing.

the thing about waiting in a "queue" (indian term for line) in india is that there are people who feel it is fine to break in line. there are others who know the truth, though. and when you wait in a line such as one at the train station, you leave NO ROOM between yourself and the next person in front of you. if there is room, someone will break in line. so waiting in line for an hour means you are totally squashed into the person in front of you, and the person behind you is squashing you as well. STILL peoiple find a way to break in line, believing their situation should demand faster attention than yours. there was a nun behind me, and figuring she would tell me the truth, you know, because of god and all, i asked her if these people were indeed breaking in line and she said yes.

furthermore, i was standing in the "ladies only" line. the sign clearly says "Gentlemen not welcome at this window". Ummm....the men feel they are indeed welcome, because they are the ones holding the money for their wives. several times during my wait the lady at the counter yelled at the men, pointed to the sign, and told them to get lost. they seemed shocked at this, how could their wife possibly be able to take care of this business without them? so annoying!

then i went ahead and went to the national museum, very excited to see the jewelry collection. the museum is in a very poor condition. it is very sad to see, because their lovely collection is going to suffer greatly if they do not do more to protect their art. (i am assuming this is because of financial difficulties.) maybe they are trying to do this, however, because the JEWELRY EXHIBIT WAS CLOSED!! there was no map available for finding my way around, but i figured out where the jewelry SHOULD be, and it was not there. i asked, and was told to come back in 2 months. SHIT! i was sad.

i did enjoy the textiles and the tribal exhibit, but i have no need to look at stone carvings in a museum when they are all over the place wherever i go. the other interesting thing was that the admission fee was rs10 for indians, and rs300 for foreigners. that's a big difference!

so i went shopping, since janpath shopping area was nearby. bought some kick ass western clothes. you can get fancy stuff there like they export to the $$ stores for about $5US. So i got some skirts and a dress, it was fun.

i was very tired and headachy because i did not eat lunch so i can back to the main bazaar where i am staying (paharganj) and ate a most delicious meal of paneer (indian cheese) and fried onions and green peppers. this is the 1st time i have found myself liking cooked green peppers. DELICIOUS! and i ordered this meal on the advice of the waiter guy. (meaning, he's sort of a waiter but also acts as the guy who stands out front and tries to solicit more business.)

i ran into several indians whom i met last time, and that was nice. they were happy to see me and it made me feel really good. we have nothing to say to each other, but yet we like each other because of our attitudes, i guess. i will have chai later today with the chai guy rajah who was so nice to me last time. he made me promise.

so...since i cannot go to amritsar, i looked up in the guidebook and picked this place called nainital. i figured what the hell, it doesn't matter where i go really, as long as i go somewhere different and nice. nainital is in the himalayas, about 2-3 hours from nepal the way we drive. it has a beautiful lake and a pine forest which is supposed to be lovely. it will be cold, about -1C or about 30degrees F. but who cares, it is only for 2 days. there is supposed to be a lovely british era pool bar where you can stay and safely have a beer or two and play some pool. it apparently is not to be missed, so it looks like i will celebrate the new year there. i like going places that still have evidence of the british occupation. the architecture is always so cool! so i am off tonight on an overnight bus. it takes nine hours, and the cost for the trip is about $5.50. can't beat that!

speaking of the brits, i ate breakfast with two jolly old men. they were very nice and we had some interesting chats about india. then at the end they start talking about how india was better off under british occupation! what the hell! i was like, yeah, and the blacks in the US were better off as slaves! at least they had a place to live, some food, and a job! jesus, i do not understand how the brits think this way. but we parted on good terms of course and they shook my hand and were sweet to me.

i am not so sure what is on the agenda today except to go buy something warm for my brief sojurn to nainital. i'll let you know tomorrow.

hope everyone is well there, and thanks for your emails and comments! keep 'em coming!

ps. i just googled "nainital, india"! check out the cool pics! looks awesome!

Friday, December 29, 2006

day 2


i successfully made it through my 1st day in india. slept almost all the way through the night! i did wake up early and read a bit, but went back to sleep until i was awoken by much coughing and hacking. i forgot that indians like to couch and hack and hack and hack in the mornings to clear their system. it is disgusting! and LOUD!

the other thing i forgot is how indians do not like to give change. they expect you to have the exact change. i do not know why this is. in america, the shop keepers feel it is their duty to keep change on hand. in india, they look at you like you are nuts if you do not have change. then they try to keep the change because they say they don't have any, but really they do! so i try to make sure i collect change and get it anywhere i can so when i do find one of the tricksters who wants to keep my chang ei can give in and give them small bills.

it's really fun meeting and talkin got other tourists. my chat over breakfast was about healthcare, taxes, and vaction time in australia, the UK, and the US. very interesting to hear how it all works in different places. when i told them i didn't have any health insurance they looked shocked and worried. (i actually did purchase trip health insurance, however, so stop worrying!)

i got some mehendi on my hands last night and it was super fun. looks really good this morning. this 18 yr old boy did it, but he looked like he was 12. very nice kids, it was fun hanging out with them talking a bit.

also exchanged a book for the new john irving book. last time i was here i read several john irving books, and he is a perfect writer for this kind of thing. not too heavy, a good story teller.

well, it is morning here, so i am off to the train station to buy a ticket to amritsar, the home of the golden temple. it is north, in the punjab, and i am excited to go see it. i also will see a border clsing ceremony, where they all dress up in full regalia and raise and lower the indian and pakistani flag. it is supposed to be a friendship ceremony between the 2 countries, and very cool and melodramatic. to i'll say hi to pakistan for everyone while i am there, too.

i will only be in amritsar for a day or two, so i can come back to delhi to welcome kora manheimer. she arrives on january 2nd!

til later,

Thursday, December 28, 2006

back in india

well, i tried earlier to write this blog, i got almost done and ....suddenly there was no power and i lost it all. good reminder for me about electricity here!

so. this is what's been happening: i got to charlotte only to find the lufthansa desk closed. hmm...then i found out that lufthansa doesn't fly on tuesdays from charlotte. then i find out that my flight had been the PREVIOUS day! my heart was beating fast. but the very nice man at the desk, muhommad, helped me out by getting me on the us air flight to canada. for some reason he apparently pulled some strings because the flight was already 30 seats over booked. not only did he get me on that flight, but it cut out one of my layovers and he also fixed my return flight for NO COST! it was supposed to cost me $200! he was great! and he told me if i got bored waiting that i could come back and chat with him. very funny!

so i waited about 6 hours in charlotte, got on the plane and sat next to a young guy going to iraq for the 2nd time. you KNOW i asked him all kinds of questions and it was very interesting. that flight was about 8 hours.

then in frankfurt, i waited abut 3 hours. the 1st person i talked to was from greenville, sc. he was very nice, going to croatia to buy an apartment he could stay in when he wasn't sailing around in his 43 foot sailboat. it was so funny to meet someone from right down the road when i was in the airport in europe!

then after much waiting in line and chaos, i got on one of the biggest planes i have ever seen, a double decker boeing 747-400. there were over 400 people on my flight. and i had the coolest seat mates! a young sikh who works in tech computer stuff in detroit and a contemporary multi-media artist from calcutta. her name is mithu and she is super cool! we had so much in common and it was really fun to find out abuot her life in the contemporary arts in india. she travels a lot as she applies for artist residencies all over the world. she only does installations, so she has to get funding for them from outside. she offered for me to come see her studio in delhi so i will take her up on that!

then a smooth exit from the plane, changed my money, had a taxi ride from the airport where we ran evey red light and had a few seemingly close calls due to passing on the right into incoming traffic. i also remembered while at the pre-pay taxi desk that indians do not like to give change. i do not get it! i had to say, look, i just got here and i need some small bills, so you HAVE to change out my 500 rupee note! he did it grudgingly.

got to the hotel to find they are under major construction. ripping out marble tiled walls with a hammer and chisle. redoing the electricity. i should move, but i like them. so i changed rooms this afternoon to a quieter room.

i had some poridge with fruit for breakfast, my favorite, and just now i had a thali for lunch. it was ok, but the dhal was too salty. i chatted it up over lunch with some very nice grown up israelis and a guy from venezuela. the guy from venezuela tried to get me to ride on his motorcycle with him up north, but i tactfully declined. he wasn' t hitting on me, just trying to find a traveler friend.

i went and met hema malani at the jewelry school. it was FANTASTIC!!!!! the principal is this german man, whom i immediately liked named thomas bhiel. the three of us chatted, trying to figure out what i could do for them, what i wanted to get from them, etc. it was so nice and open and intersting! then one of the teachers, a guy named robin who was in his early 20's, showed me around the facilities and showed me some of the work the students are doing. it was so freaking fun! robin was sweet as can be and so excited about his job! hema was beautiful and down to earth and friendly! thomas is the kind of man that demands respect, but is also loving and joking with his co-workers. he moved to india 8 years ago to take over the school, and he says he could never leave now. the school is getting remodeled right now, much due i believe to thomas and the energy he is putting into things. he wrote their textx and developed the curriculum. i liked him very, very much. we decided i will return on the 6th of january to give a lecture about differet types of jewelry to the faculty, many of whom are young. it will be a 3 hour talk, with lunch in the middle and i will show my powerpoint presentations. hopefully there will be lots of questions. thomas said there will be if a certain one of his faculty is there, and he laughed about it, so i am hoping this individual shows up. it was really fun to meet them all and see the school, their facility and tools! it seems like an awesome place, esp because everyone was down to earth and so genuine. they seemed to like me too, and i felt really happy about the meeting and i look forward to going back, though i have some computer work to do first to get ready, so i am hoping this internet facility i am in can support my powerpoints so i can rearrange some things.

i have had so much chai today i think i am running on pure caffeine and sugar. i know i am tired, but i don't think i could sleep. there are these leather belt things here that i like, that i liked last time and wished i had bought, so i think i will go shopping for one of those for my passport and money and stuff...they are kinda like purses and kinda like belts, but waaaaay cooler than fanny packs. really.

hope everyone is well!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

saturday dec 23

well, i am wrapping things up here at the house. got my bags packed, the house cleaned...i think i have everything in order, at least my list is almost all checked off. and i didn't cheat.

this year fro christmas i have made veryone one special present. i am more excited about giving these presents than i have been in a long time! i did give in a little bit and buy people some stuff, but i really feel good about what i have made for people! it will be fun to see if they all like everything on christmas!

tonight jamie and i are having a christmas dinner at his house for the two of us. i'm really excited about it! but it is a little bittersweet as well, because it will be our last night to spend together for a month, and i am going to miss him LOTS.

it's funny how since i am leaving my home for more than just a little while and i cannot come home and visit, i am feeling really emotional. for about a week now i have been on the verge of crying at things...sweet things, regular things, emotional things. i have a feeling that the flood gates are going to open soon. i am a person who tends to cry when emotions of any kind come up. (thanks, mom, for that crying gene!)

i spoke with hema malani from the jewelry school in india the other day via email. we have a date for the 28th of december, which is my 1st day in delhi. i will be tired, but excited, too, i am sure to be there and will probably have some energy from just being excited. i will call her then and we will meet up and talk! very exciting!

then on the 30th of december i am supposed to call my friend arnab chatterji, who i met on Myspace! we are going to go have coffee. it will be super interesting to meet arnab as well,because he is part of the new generation in india who is quickly becoming part of india's upper class due to all the tech/computer jobs over there.

so i am excited to have plans on meeting people! of course i'll let you know how it goes.

well, off to take shower!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

all for nothing

never mind.

i just got my passport in the mail!

ah, my heart is racing with relief!

i'm going to india in SIX days!

wednesday december 20, 2007


things here are shaping up nicely. i have been able to get all my work done, so now i can relax somewhat and finish up making christmas presents and cleaning the house and packing.

the only thing that has me quite anxious is that i have not yet received my passport back from the indian embassy. hopefully it will arrive today or tomorrow. then everything will be fine. i am so anxious about not getting it that part of me is worried i will not be able to go! i have this huge fear that it will arrive next tuesday afternoon, right after i am supposed to be getting on the plane. i have looked everywhere for the postal receipt so i can check and make sure it arrived at the indian embassy, but i cannot find it and it is driving me to insanity.

it is nice to know that all other important obligations have been taken care of, though.

but...what if i don't get to go?? i feel in one way that if i don't get to go then that is just how things are supposed to work out. but then again, i will lose all my money i paid for the plane ticket and i will feel like a total ass for not sending my passport off for the visa a few weeks earlier. i just have to have faith that things will work out appropriately and no matter what, everything will be ok. i just have to say to myself: i WILL be going, my passport WILL come. it is a test of my mental strength to just not freak the hell out.

y'all have a lovely day!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

thurs dec 14 2007

Thali: a variety of dishes that comes with naan, papadam, rice, daal, pickle, and yogurt. you can order it at almost any restaraunt, and it differs from place to place. this is my favorite thing to order, because you never know what you are going to get and it is fun to try out everyone's dishes. it is very cheap, about $1 us or rs40. ("rs" stands for "rupees", the indian currency.)

I spent most of the day yesterday getting ready for my trip, organizing my paperwork and money. not an easy job. i'm not complaining, though, as it all is going ot work out just fine. it's difficult to pay bills for 2 months ahed of time AND pay for all these craft fair booth fees.

several good things: the health dept said i can just drop in any time to get my 3rd hepatitis booster. the bad news about hat is that is costs $100. if anyone knows how to get it cheaper, holler! my travel agent actually called me back and told me i can change my return flight upon arrival in delhi. she said there should be no problem changing my ticket and that the fine would be $200, which was cheaper than i expected. so i will be changing my trip from 7 weeks to 4 1/2 weeks. better for me in lots of ways! i also found out that 2 of the craft fairs i have to withdraw from are going to send me my money back! phew!

even though i am really excited to get back to india and smell everything and just be in the midst of her insanity, i really am having a lovely time in my life here, and i am looking forward lots to everything that next year has to possibly offer. who knows what next year can bring? look at all that has happened this year! i know it sounds a little cheesy, but i am really excited about the future, immediate and not-so-immediate.

i had a talk this morning about 2006 the year in review. so many different things have happened, so many emotions about things, work advancements, boyfriend changes, family changes with mom and dad roomie, losing weight, lots of new jewelry and teaching experiences, watching friends fall in love...the way i feel is this: if i feel good where i am at in my life now, then the past year was a good one, no matter what happened. and i feel great about where i am at now, so this past year has been great.

and i'm thrilled ot be starting the year off in india. i wonder if there will be any western new year's celebrations in delhi. it will be interesting to see.

so, if anyone needs any last minute jewelry presents, please give me a call. i can meet up anytime and have lots of work to sell you that will make that woman in your life happy! ;)

off to trim my nosehairs....

Monday, December 11, 2006

monday december 11 2007

Yesterday i began to really get ready for my trip! i bought a backpack and some socks and undies to take with me. i have hd many recurring dreams over the years about packing to go to india and forgetting things. it is intersting to actually be packing and trying NOT to forget things. the good thing about this is that whatever i forget i can get when i am there. it was also fun to open up my closet and find things that i took with me last time sitting there ready to be packed again!

this weekend was very busy! the leather making workshop with cutler edwards was really successful! everyone made awesome things like dog collars, belts, and cuffs. cutler was awesome and did a great job teaching us. he even had a powerpoint presentation set uo for us to teach us about tanning and about the different kinds of leather.

thanks to all who came out for the studio sale, it was super successful for both me and molly! we had a great time visiting with folks, as well!

stephanie's party and lou anne's aprty were both successes as well! i saw some folks form high school and form college and that was really fun. lou anne's decorations kicked ass!

my main objective for today is to load up my ipod. anyone who has good suggestions for me on how to work this damn thing should certainly help me out!

also i tried to make an appt for my immunizations at the helth center only to find they have no appts available, so i am working on getting one at the infectious disease office. wish me luck. if i can't get an appt there i am not sure what i am going to do. i think i am pretty much covered except for my last hepatitis booster, but i am not sure. kinda sucks that the health dept is so booked, she said they are booked for over 4 weeks! shit!


Wednesday, December 6, 2006

studio sale on sat dec 9th

someone wrote and asked where the studio sale is...

it is at my studio, which is at 9 walnut, #1C. time: 5:30-8:30.

to get there, walk down walnut, which runs between broadway and lexington. walking towards lexington, the door is on the right. go into the door next to a new men's clothing store, walk down the hall, down the stairs, and the door is on the left. it will be open, so come on in!

both molly and i will have lots of jewelry and other items for sale at a wode variety of prices, so something will be affordable for you! like i said, if you just want to come visit, then please come on down and drink some wine with us!


Tuesday, December 5, 2006

December 5, 2007

well, this is my 1st blog! welcome, everyone! i hope you will enjoy my musings...

i just got home from a trip to new york city with my sweetheart, jamie. we had a wonderful time traveling together, walking around the city looking at people and hanging out with some old friends! we went to china town, the east village, the west village, little italy, harlem, the upper west side, the financial district, midtown, times square....we walked all over the place.

we had lunch with my uncle victor and his boyfriend giacomo on saturday. it was greta to see them and have them meet jamie! jamie noted that i probably got my decorating style from victor. those of you who have bee to his apartment know that he decorates in an over-the-top way. i love his colors, his sparkles, all his old ad items...he is an extremely creative person and i admire the confort he creates using all his stuff!

it was really fun to hang out with annie gwynne-vaughan and katy browning. we went out to red hook, brooklyn where annie lives and went to this old bar called sunny's. good times there watching the tranny bluegrass band.

jamie also got to meet kora, my friend since high school. it was lovley to see her and have breakfast at vaselka, one of our favorite diners in the east village. she was wearing a fancy new bra which was very attractive. kora and i will be meeting up somewhere in india, we are not sure where yet. it will be awesome to be with her over there!

we went to see the "bodies" exhibit at the south street seaport, which was very interesting. this exhibit shows real bodies in a preserved state. you get to see all the nerves and muscles and bones and blood vessels. it was really eye opening in some ways. the blood vessels were my favorite part, as they all looked like some kind of strange sea creatures floating in this clear fluid. couldn't help but wish mom was there to see it, too, as i know she would have enjoyed it.

jamie and i walked around times square one night and i was nice to just play the tourist and see all the lights and sounds and smells. no hurry, we just held hands and walked through the christmas throngs. it was nice and cold and i felt so good and happy being in nyc with him and seeing the tree at rockefeller center all lit up.

we stayed in this great hotel on 30th and 8th called the chelsea star. all the rooms are individually decorated and we got the coney island room. we had a shared bath down the hall which was really no problem, the shower was very nice. it was very comfortable and we spent some down time there just chilling watching some cheesy yet fun movies on hbo. that pic up above is of jamie in our room wearing his new blue snakeskin blouse.

now i am home, and i am mentally starting to get ready to go to india on december 26th. there is alot involved in that for me, as i have so much going on here that i have to process before i leave. both personally and for work.

this weekend i am having an open studio for christmas. it is on saturday from 5:30 until 8:30. come on out and buy some jewelry for your lovely ladies on your list or just come on over and rink some wine and hang out with us. stephanie and lou anne are both having parties afterwards so we'll be there then!