Thursday, August 2, 2012

Saturday Night Fever

It’s Saturday night. We are tired and hungry. It's been a long day, so we are ready to relax. We heard a rumor that liquor is available at the local Reliable grocery store. We walk to the nearest grocery store.  No booze—it’s like being in Hudsonville or Zeeland only with men in turbans and women in sarees.  We heard that a larger grocery store about a mile away had a glassed in area with beer, wine, and liquor, so Tim and I headed to the Phoenix Mall and Reliant Grocery Store.

By now it’s 9:00.  The streets are crowded. Dogs lounging, women in black from head to toe, women in jewel colored saris, men in turbans, men in crocheted skull caps for Ramadan, men and women with bright red hair to show that they have been on the Hajj, street vendors with mangoes, apples, and cantelopes. Horns honking. Traffic buzzing by. In some areas, garbage is piled high. The side walks are narrow, uneven, muddy in spots from the monsoon rains. It’s hard to keep up with Tim. I am used to walking on the right.  Tim reminds me that this country is like Ireland.  I need to walk like the people drive, on the left. The hot air is thick with humidity. The plastic shopping bag I carry over my shoulder is sticking to me.   

We reach the mall.  I walk through the lady’s security and Tim walks through the men’s security. The ladies searching my shopping bag say, “Thank you, maam.”  The mall music is uncomfortably loud. We walk straight to the grocery store.  In the very back is an area that is glassed in. The sign says that you must be 25 to enter. The area is filled with young men buying 2 or three cans of beer and snacks. There is a section of Indian wine, a section of international wine, a section with beer sold by the can or bottle.  No spirits.  Tim and I look over the Indian wine because it is more reasonably priced.  We decide on three bottles. We look at the cans of Kingfisher (the national beer) and decide on 4 cans. The total cost is $40. As we are making our purchase I look up, outside the glass, two men in turbans are staring at me.  “This could be the beginning of an AA program for me,” I muse.

After making our purchase, we decide to look for a place to eat.  All the restaurants that had been recommended were “coming soon.” We keep looking.  A food court is on the next floor.  It is every adult without children’s worse nightmare. Loud music, a play area where children are screaming, KFC, McDonald’s, Subway. My headache is starting to pound. Dear God get me out of here!

We find a place with biriani (rice with veggies) and chicken tikaa for $6, walk home through the streets with the constant honking noise.  Dodge buses, trucks, taxis, walk past a brightly lit plastic box (3’ x 2’) shrine to Ganesh and another god I don’t recognize. Ganesh is a bright plastic elephant covered with leas of bright flowers. We arrive home.  The biriani is spicy, the wine is like vinegar, but the music (Bach) is lovely, the air conditioning cool, and our toast to new adventures filled with hope.

1 comment:

  1. N. . .you are using your new writing techniques. . .I was there as I was reading with all my senses. . . I was a bit tense and the taste of your wine was definitely not close to my sangria! ( I'm sensing that your home on 11th is going to seem like a quiet sanctuary when you return. . .the boom boxes will be music to your ears!!) So glad it's an adventure, love your pictures!!