Saturday, September 8, 2007

Visiting Raymond, Kris and Anja

Today I rode southeast into the old city to visit Raymond's Tomb and Kris 'n Anja, two women I've met via the IndiaMike web site. Here's the GPS track:

View Larger Map

and photos:

Sept 8

It was a great day to be out - slight breeze, sunny but not hot. The distance was such that I took a more direct route than I usually do, but I still found time for a few photos and detours. This sign illustrates nicely one of the symbols I see all the time around Hyderabad:

The "Swastik" is a Hindu good-luck sign, associated with the elephant-headed god Ganesha. It long predates its more sinister association with the Nazis.

This unusual structure is (was?) a Sikh gurudwara (temple).

One on of the side streets I took I found myself surrounded by musical instrument stores. On a whim I stopped into one and asked about penny whistles; I was told "no whistles. You want flute?" Evidently I did. Here's what I got for Rs. 50:

Yea - I can make music! It's actually a pretty decent whistle, though the usual cross-fingering for a flatted 7th doesn't work well at all. It claims to be in "C".

I soon crossed the river (the Musi) and came to the huge farm goods market in the old city. These are onions; there were just mountains of onions.

The air near these hot peppers was semi-toxic; my throat burned as I breathed the air near them.

From the market I pedaled south and uphill to Raymond's Tomb, where I took these shots.

What I couldn't capture adequately with the camera was the views, which were lovely, and the general peacefulness of the site.

Leaving Raymond to enjoy his rest, I biked toward Kris 'n Anja's apartment, not far away. I "met" (virtually) Anja through postings on IndiaMike, a fantastic Indian travel web site. They both work at LEPRA, an NGO that works with people affected by leprosy. They have a terrific apartment on the 5th floor of "TNR's Royal Palace". It has two bedrooms, a balcony with a great view of Hyderabad, cozy kitchen, and it seems quiet. Sigh...

We sat and chatted away the afternoon. Kris and Anja have been here for nearly a year, and are leaving to go back to London next weekend. They gifted me with their Indian Railways train schedule and the local bus route map, both appreciated. Suddenly I realized that there wasn't much daylight left. I've always been careful not to be out on my bike after dark. I don't have a headlight, and even if I did, probably a quarter of the other vehicles on the road don't, either, so it's always seemed insane to ride at night. I hurriedly excused myself and blasted down the road as quickly as I dared. By the time I reached the beginning of Road #1 in Banjara Hills it was deep twilight, and it pretty much full nighttime when I arrived at my front gate. Whew!

Tomorrow I hope to try for the Paigah Tombs in about the same neck of the woods.

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