Wednesday, December 30, 2009

In love...

We just got back from a little trip to Rajastan, visiting Jaipur and Agra. Everyone goes to Agra to see the Agra Fort (photos to come) and the Taj Mahal. I knew the Taj Mahal was a beautiful building, but I thought I'd seen enough photos to not be too impressed in person. Boy was I wrong! It's an amazingly beautiful building and definitely worth a trip to Agra to see it. Seeing it is like falling in love, you can't believe it's for real. We arrived really early in the morning to avoid all the crowds. It was a hazy morning, but as the sun warmed, the haze wore off a bit and we got to see the Taj in all is splendor.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Rainy Taxi

Apparently, outside of the monsoon season, it's not supposed to rain in Delhi. So hearing the rain come down late the other night, I was surprised. And, in the morning it continued. I took a taxi on an errand and this is what it looked like:

No windshield wipers! Pretty scary, but we made it there in one piece. The rain stopped by mid-morning and for the first time in a long while, I saw the beautiful blue sky. No smoky, hazy winter-polluted grayness, just blue. It didn't last long, but it was much appreciated. I think the rain threw everyone off that day. Our curtains were supposed to be delivered and installed that afternoon, but "due to the bad weather", I was told over the phone, they would be coming the next day...oh, well, but it makes my wonder what happens during the monsoon.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Well, hello there...

A typical Sunday at home when suddenly I hear Dorian screaming, "ELEPHANT, ELEPHANT!" And, just across the street there's the elephant. Am I surprised? Being in Delhi and having seen elephants, cows, horses, goats and camels on the street, not so much. It's a birthday party and our nice neighbor invited us to join in the fun. All the kids loved watching the elephant and feeding her bananas. The camel was relaxing here, while the elephant got all the attention. But, later, the kids wanted to ride the camel and not the elephant. Dorian didn't ride either, as much as I begged him to ride with me.

The bouncy castle was a big hit and seems a staple at Delhi birthday parties.
I'm used to simple birthdays, like a play date with some cake. But, here it's a whole different level...what will we do for Dorian's birthday? Will he ask me for an elephant? Is it too much for a four-year old? Questions I never ever thought I'd be asking myself...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Business Cards

As I've mentioned before, we get a steady stream of vendors stopping by the house to sell their wares. I have a fairly nice stack of various business cards. The most common are for people selling woven baskets, mats, outdoor furniture and chicks. Chicks are window blinds, which I guess might be short for chicken, but I've never heard anyone refer to them as chicken. And, now I'm wondering why...must ask the all-knowing Raju. In any case, this made me laugh:

Saturday, December 5, 2009


You know how sometimes things don't always work exactly as you'd like them to? Well, I find that most of our outlets work only when plugs are in like this:

Scary, no?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Man of the house...

As soon as I found out we were moving to New Delhi, I started trying to find out as much as I could about anything having to do with New Delhi and India. I read fiction and nonfiction, contacted friends who had been to India, did research online and read blogs. While I realize that everyone's experience is their own, it was interesting to know about their different perspectives. At times I was overwhelmed with all the information I was getting and realized that it's hard to imagine something you've never experienced. I was full of anticipation upon arrival and, quite frankly, expected the worst. We have been more than pleasantly surprised and, although it's only been just over three months, we are very happy here. Of course, some things are more challenging, but we try not to get hung up on what's different or what could be improved i.e. the continually leaky faucet in our bathroom or no hot water in the boys' bathroom. One thing that we were very unsure of in moving here was the fact that people, in general, have house staff. When we moved into our apartment, we quickly realized we needed someone to deal with the endless stream of people knocking at our door, but also primarily to go to the market and clean. Admittedly, going to the market is something I could do myself, but it's not always a place I want to take Arthur. It can be dusty, dirty and hot. I could also clean the house myself, but New Delhi is a very dusty city and the house needs to be thoroughly cleaned everyday, especially for a little baby who's crawling all over. So, we hired Raju. He told us he does everything and he does. He cleans, goes the the market, irons and cooks dinner most nights. And he does more...two weeks ago I bought some chicken at our local market, not only was one of the chickens past its prime, I was grossly overcharged. The next day, he went to the store, worked his magic and came back with some good fresh meat. He also had some not-so nice words for a man who sold me a broken bamboo mat. Raju looks out for us and I appreciate it. On Monday, however, I realized how truly luckly we are to have him working in our house. I ate something I shouldn't have (stupid me had a drink with ice) and I paid the price...for two days. When Raju came to work on Monday, he saw how sick I was and new exactly what I needed--dal, rice and yogurt. Okay, not exactly the combination I was thinking of as my stomach cramped, but he made it so I ate it and, amazingly, it helped. When he finished cooking that afternoon, he spent time with the boys (which is not part of his job) and held Arthur so I could help Dorian with his dinner. Raju, already helps us so much on an almost daily basis, I was so touched that he would step in and help me when I needed it most. Thank you Raju!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Happy (Thanksgiving) Day

Yesterday was Thanksgiving and it's my favorite holiday. Unfortunately, Xavier was in Sri Lanka on business and Dorian's school doesn't celebrate it so I was at a loss of what to do. I didn't feel like make a huge Thanksgiving meal for just Dorian and I, honestly, right now I'm just too tired for that but, I did decide to keep Dorian home from school anyway. After all, Thanksgiving is about spending time with the ones you love. So, in the morning we traced our hands and made turkeys:

Then we made some brownies, it's not apple pie but we had fun:

Just before noon, two of my favorite people in the world came to see us...Susy and Dave, our first visitors! We stopped by the market to get picnic supplies, then spend a wonderfully fun afternoon at Lodi Garden:

They were only here for two short days, but we enjoyed every minute of being with them and Dorian treated them to a special show:

Dave joined in:

To finish off a great day, we had a pasta dinner with Susy's fabulous homemade pesto and some Indian wine. I'm so thankful for our fun day and for our great friends who brought us happiness and laughter for Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

House Monkey

Over the past few days, we've noticed that winter is quickly approaching. Chilly mornings and cold nights. We have been spoiled, living in tropical climates for the past five years, and our boys do not really know what winter is. Dorian once saw a bit of melting snow on a trip to Connecticut in March 2008, but for him snow and ice are where the penguins live. Our apartment does not have heat. We just bought four radiators (on wheels!) that will be in the bedrooms and anywhere else we like since they are very conveniently mobile. While I miss the warm climate and ocean view, it is nice to have a change of season. Dorian doesn't seem to mind it either. He found his own way of staying warm:

I bought the costume for Halloween two years ago and it was way too big for Dorian. When the boxes arrived here I couldn't find it and thought it was lost. Now it fits him perfectly and, yes, he is using his tail as a microphone. I wonder what our neighborhood monkey would think of that?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Off the beaten track...

This morning the babysitter came to watch Arthur so I could run some errands. My first task was to go to see the travel agent who is planning a little trip for us next month. I am very excited at the thought of exploring outside Delhi. But, after my outing today, I realize how much of this huge city I have not yet seen. The travel agency was in a part of town that I have driven by many times but never visited. A busy road runs by and the market area is bordered by high-end shops, but as the taxi drove further and further off the main road, I felt like I was seeing another side of Delhi. The street narrowed, shops spilled out on the the road, people, cows, cars and rickshaws mingled.

I got out of the taxi and tried to find the street number, but one thing I have learned here is that not everything follows a logical, or numerical, order. The number I wanted was a number on the main road but it was actually around the corner and back a bit. Luckily, there were some nice people to point me in the right direction. Along the way, I saw some interesting things.

Hiding behind the motorcycles, baby cows...

My morning adventures continued when I went to the address the babysitter gave me for a tailor of women's clothing. Background: I brought some clothes to wear, but in my terrible, tired and confused post-birth-moving-around-the-world mind, the things I packed do not go with each other and I have nothing for an evening out. So, I met a really nice lady who showed me several catalogues that I could choose from both Indian and Western styles, then she hopped in the taxi with me to go to yet another, but nearby, market so I could pick out fabric. Very exciting. So to start with, I will have one cocktail dress and one Indian-style outfit (long tunic with fitted pants). They will be ready at the beginning of next week. I can't wait! The woman in blue in the photo below is the one nice who is making my clothes and she totally took charge in the fabric shop.

Today, was a good day. I explored and feel like I accomplished some things.

Monday, November 16, 2009


One of the things I love about living here is that you never know what you'll see. On Sunday I took Dorian to his classmate's birthday party and we were greeted by the above horse and carriage. Nice welcome wagon. On the way to the party, from our taxi window we saw an elephant moving a tree. On the way back from the party, we passed a drummer on the side of the busy road encircled by dancing women. People all around going about their business as normal. Here, we're learning to expect the unexpected.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


As I have mentioned before, we are slowly getting settled here. After being in our apartment for two and a half months, we bought a tv and our satellite was installed today. Two "engineers" from the satellite company came to install the dish and set things up. They were pretty rapid about attaching the satellite dish to the side of our building but then there were some technical details with the actual connection. Xavier ended up on the phone for about an hour trying to work things out with the company while...

Well, the two engineers enjoyed a bit of tv with Dorian, for about an hour. I took this photo pretending to be taking a photo of Arthur, I'm oh-so stealth.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rainy Day

It's a rainy day here in Delhi. I thought this photo, taken the other day, would brighten things up a bit. Hope your day is sunny, where ever you may be.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fire with fire...

First of all, sorry for the very blurry image. I was trying to be stealth. Secondly, things are done differently here. The man pictured above is fixing one of our hot water heaters that has not worked since we moved in. It is the one to the boys' bathroom. They have never had a hot bath in our new home. This makes me sad. But, Dorian is enjoying his "big boy" showers and Arthur, well poor baby, just doesn't enjoy bathtime at all. So, as I said , he's fixing the water heater. Apparently the problem was (if I understood correctly) bugs or possibly wasps. I was asked for some bug spray, which was all used up, so I came back empty-handed. The man wasn't bothered and he proceeded to light a piece of paper on fire and put it in the water heater. Hmm...I always thought it was dangerous to light things, especially home appliances, on fire. Silly me. It did drive the bugs/wasps out. Thank goodness it wasn't our gas line that was bug infested...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cough, Cough...

I don't know what happened last night, but this morning we woke up to this:

No, it's not smoke or fog, it's hazy pollution. Remember that headline I posted the other day about Indian cities being so environmentally friendly? This air doesn't look too friendly to me. But, we had a date with some other families at Lodi Garden for a picnic. I wasn't so sure we should really go, but we did and this is what we saw:

This is what it normally looks like:

We found the families, stayed just long enough to chat a bit and eat...and, Arthur enjoyed his first bite of watermelon:

He looks a bit confused, but trust me he really liked it. Oh and I'm going to seriously look into buying a few air purifiers for the house.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Choice...

One of the things I love about visiting/living in other countries is seeing signs, labels, ads, basically any written word. There are lots of different ways to say something and the more places we visit the more we see it is true. What I really love are those words or phrases that make you go "hmmm...". Dorian got a new stool/step today, I asked our housekeeper to pick one up at the market so I did not have the pleasure to pick this one out. But, I would have definitely chosen this one solely for the label.

Dorian was so pleased with his new step that he wanted me to take a picture of him with his papa penguin.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Say what?

I know I'm new to Delhi, but I really don't see how this could be true. I'd really like to see the study they mention and I'd like to know if the people that worked on the study ever visited Delhi on a day like today. This morning you could have cut the thick, brown air with a knife.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


New Delhi is full of firsts for us and this weekend was no exception--the boys' first Halloween. It's the first time we live in a place where we can dress up, trick or treat and go to a Halloween party, which is exactly what we did. One of our good friends organized trick or treating in her neighborhood and was nice enough to invite us along. She also got us into a huge Halloween party--and for that we are so grateful!! So, here are some photos from the weekend.

Dorian really wanted to be a cowboy but he was wearing pretty much what he wears almost everyday--his boots, cowboy belt and jeans. By the end of the weekend festivities, and after seeing all the other kids dressed up, he now understands and is already excited for next Halloween and all the costume possibilities. Arthur was a cowboy, too.

This is my favorite, Dorian got a packet of digestive pills. Is that a trick or a treat?

The next day, at the party, Dorian wanted to be a train engineer i.e. wear his Thomas hat.

Arthur had no choice, he was king.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mail Box

We asked our landlord for a mail box. This is what he installed this evening:

I really hope it's big enough. At least now all our neighbors will know us by name...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Delhi Zoo

Since Dorian's on school vacation this week, we decided to go to the zoo this morning. It was interesting, a great place to walk around and not too crowded. Here are some highlights from our time there:

Cages are optional. Seriously, this guy just climbed out of his enclosure and was walking around. We saw about four others, too.

That's his enclosure. See how the low fence runs along the crumbling wall that dips to the perfect level for jumping over...

I love this sign.

Okay, why? Does this make you want to drink the water?

This zoo has great trash bins!

Another great sign.

We got to see a white tiger!

Maybe next time I'll include more animal photos.