Golconda Fort and Laundry Detergent

Today I went on a outing with Jann, and her 10 year old daughter Natasha.  We visted Golconda fort, which was built in the late 15th century, and is very cool.

Natasha is a really cute girl.  She reminds me of Sophie in alot of ways.  She is smart as a whip, extremely articulate, and loves to read.  We had many long conversations about Harry Potter during the car ride.  This was Natasha’s third visit to Golconda, so she was very familiar with the tour and had lots of interesting stories and facts to share.

The fort is a huge stone structure, designed by Persians and built by slaves.  The acoustics are amazing, and were used as a security measure.  At the gate  a guard can clap, and alert a watchman over a kilometer away on the side of a cliff of who has come to visit.

We also saw a crazy weight in the slaves quarters.  If a slave could lift it with one hand, he was promoted to the rank of solider.  Natasha and I threw our combined weight into it, and it didn’t budge.

Natasha and I unsuccessfully try to upgrade our rank

My favorite room in the fort was the queen’s bathroom.  It had a really advanced water system that included sewage removal, drinking water and even hot water.  Additionally the walls have intricately carved patterns in them, with holes ranging from the size of a marble to the size of my fist.  Once upon a time, these holes were filled with jewels and an light from oil lamp would reflect through them and illuminate the room.  I’m thinking about implementing a similar lighting design back at guest house one.

After touring the fort, we went to Q-mart which is my own personal oasis in the desert.  Jann was apologetic to take me on her errands with her, but when I saw Q-mart I literally almost cried.  It is a very nice grocery store (the Whole Foods of India, if you will) and had American imports!  I was able to purchase a small box of oreos, cheese, flour, Honey bunches of oats and (wait for it) Tide!!

Prior to this I’ve been washing my clothes with this sketchy little soap bar that I bought here in Kukatpally.   The women here have been trying to teach me how to scrub my clothes with the aforementioned bar, and then smack them on a rock. I’m not sure what role this plays in the cleaning process, but they are very insistant about that step. Then the clothes are rinsed in a bucket, and smacked on the rock again. I’m convinced this is not effectively cleaning anything, but rather decreasing the lifespan of my jeans (maybe its a bad attitude, but my heart is just not in the smacking).  Additionally, sitting out in the hot sun fully dressed, throwing wet shirts around is really just causing the clothes I am wearing to get more dirty.  So in order to have net laundry gain, I have to clean more clothes than I am wearing–which doesn’t always happen.  Clearly, I have been failing miserably at laundry, and I was just about to run out of clothes.  Chorus of angels! Hallelulia! Tide has come to deliver me!

After grocery shopping we went back to Jann’s house to meet up with her husband Dayrl and go to dinner.  Their flat is in a very beautiful compound with lush gardens and millions of flowers.  We hailed an auto (yess! I love the autos!) and rattled our way over to the new cineplex, which they tell me is THE hotspot in town.

The four of us had dinner at TGIFridays which is the place to see, and be seen in Hyderabad (not kidding).  Dayrl told me that people came from all over the city to see the escalator when the complex first opened last year. Dayrl and Jann are a very intellectual couple, so I can see where Natasha gets it from.  We discussed Indian politics, books we’re reading, HIV, and Lebron James.  Dinner came, and  I had a chicken sandwich and french fries.

It was quite possibly the best meal of my life.