Sunday, June 24, 2007

Guest Houses and a shoulder bag

This morning I went biking in the drizzle to check out guest houses and get a shoulder bag. I'll flesh this out later, but for now:

[Yet another thunderstorm in progress; we already had one power cut just as I was about to upload the GPS track.]

OK, here's the full story.

I awoke this morning to the same sort of overcast, breezy weather as yesterday. After fiddling with the laundry (most of which is still not dry) and checking email, I decided I couldn't stand another day trapped in the house, so onto the bike and out the door.

I had in mind two goals: check out some of the guest houses on Road #14, and try once again to find a workable shoulder bag so I don't have to walk around with a backpack all the time.

As always, routing was an issue. I really prefer to stay off the major roads as much as possible, but sometimes it can be remarkably difficult to find a path between to points, even when the map claims that a connection exists. I decided to take another stab at finding a connection between roads #13 and #10 - which the map claims is possible - over the stream that flows into Guntla Cheruvu.

I never would have found it if not for the kindness of a passerby who noticed me looking puzzled and asked where I was trying to go. He lead me on a well-traveled dirt path behind a row of small houses (gathering very curious looks all the while...) to the crossing, which is, in fact, a substantial concrete bridge.

Once over the stream I had no trouble (well, no real trouble) finding my way to Road #10 and my usual air-for-tires stop. From there it was easy to get to Road #14, and the guest houses.

I visited this area on an earlier ride, and my first stop was at Zion Guest House, which I checked out briefly in May.

This visit confirmed my first impression that this would be a nice place to stay. All rooms have A/C, and are Rs. 1300 per night (single occupancy) or 1600 (double occupancy). There were no rooms available today, and the place evidently books up regularly. Contact information:
phone numbers: 2354 5848, 2354 1958, 2360 0305, 3090 7482

The next stop (moving east on Road #14) was Lucky Guest House.

I was not impressed. The fellow who met me at the door seemed very suspicious, wanting to know why I wanted the room, if any one would be with me and the relationship is between us, and on and on. I could not see a room. The rates were Rs. 400 per night (non A/C) or 750 (A/C). I won't be back.

The last stop was at Kuna's Guest House.

The people there were very friendly, and they were willing to show me a room even though they hadn't cleaned it yet from the prior night. The place seemed clean and quiet. Rooms are Rs. 750 per night; all are air conditioned. Contact information:

Mr. Veeranna/ Mr. Shastry
Phone numbers 2355 2940/41/42, 6515 7912

I kept an eye out for other guest houses, without effect.

Practically across the street from Kuna's is Spice Touch. I've eaten there twice: once for Sunday brunch on afternoon bike trip, and for dinner on a weeknight. The brunch was very successful; the veg thali was delicious and the service outstanding. The evening dinner was less successful; service was so-so, and the meal wasn't memorable.

I decided to use this trip to capture some restaurant images, so I next headed toward Road #3 (via back streets, of course). While wandering about I came across this marvelous sign.

Confusion notwithstanding, I did eventually get to the corner that is home to Silver Spoon and Southern Spice.

Southern Spice is one of my regular evening dinner stops. The special vegetarian thali is delicious and (as is typical for thalis) a real bargain. If you're hungry, a thali is your ticket; they generally include seconds on anything you particularly like.

Across the street from Southern Spice is Silver Spoon.

Haranadh and I ate there on a weekend afternoon during my 2006 trip. The food wasn't memorable; perhaps I should give it another try on this trip.

From here I headed toward Panjagutta. When I went shopping with Preethi she suggested I check out stores in the alleys near Hyderabad Central, and she mentioned in particular Kashmir Cottage Emporium. So - I pedaled over and stopped in (luckily they are open Sundays). I finally got a shoulder bag - not exactly what I want, but way better than nothing.

I then meandered back to Chutneys for brunch. On a street near Kashmir Cottage Emporium I came across this shop, with its great example of Indian signage.

Ah, dear, sweet Chutneys - I'm pretty sure that it's now my favorite restaurant in the world. Katy will no doubt wonder, "What about Judy's?!?" Well, Judy's is a great place as a special treat; Chutneys I can enjoy day in, day out.

As usual, Chutneys was crowded and I had to wait. While hanging around outside, this funeral procession passed, on the way to the graveyard across the street from Chutneys.

Back inside, I documented my meal with pictures of both the menu and the food. (Somehow I came away with no pictures of the outside. Oh, well.)

My first course was masala dosa. Clockwise from 9 o'clock:

  • masala dosa, served on a banana leaf
  • fresh lime soda with salt
  • water
  • curd (yogurt)
  • a bunch of chutneys
  • sambar

My second course was the house specialty - steamed dosa. I started before I took the picture...

Then home (via Kashmir Emporium: Feroz is still not back from Kashmir!). A pleasant, if occasionally damp, ride.

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