We arrived in India with the sunrise (the Hyderabad airport is dazzling at 5 am, with rows of palm trees and an open-air arrivals terminal) and drove into the city where we've been staying with Nikilesh's aunt and uncle these first couple days. It's been a welcome mix of family visits, tourism, and Milana prep work- all followed by my nodding off around 8 pm. It's been a steady 100 degrees, but so far it hasn't stopped us from having a few adventures in the colorful bustle that is Hyderabad.
The whole city seems to be under construction, and people are either rushing about or taking a nap in any spot of shade they can find. The streets are a riot- cars, motorbikes, and bright yellow 3-wheelers called autos (the taxis of Hyderbad) fight for road space, and everyone is horn-trigger-happy even on suburban roads.
Yesterday, Nik and I ventured out to Golconda Fort worth googling- it's seen an impressive amount of emperors and successive sieges. We left on one of the quintessential Indian city buses, complete with people hanging doors and windows, hopping off and on as they please, and an angry bus driver shouting at everyone (think freshman year frat parties in terms of mutual sweatiness).
An hour later, we alighted at Charminar to wander the Bazaar- yes, a bazaar. Just the name made it worthwhile, but the bangle market and endless mango carts pushed me over the edge. I'm in love. Screw air conditioning, and give me a crowded city street to explore. Hyderbad is a beautiful melding of the traditional and urban. Women in sarees and burqas bear the streets on motorbikes, and modern movie star homes are neighbor to slum-like huts and trash heaps.
Of course, I'm loving the food- every meal is a feast of curries, mangos, rotis...and finally the freedom to eat with my hands!
More on the Milana work in my next post- but we're making progress, I promise, and hopefully we'll be in the villages by Thursday!