Thursday, 2 November 2017

Buy now or cry later

Shopping in India can be a crazy experience!! It's probably the nearest I get to understanding how a magpie feels - I want everything shiny and colourful. There are shops that sell every single kind of stainless steel cooking implement you can imagine

and shops full of such colourful, shiny tat which here, in the UK I wouldn't even look at. Somehow in India it's all so very appealing! There's such a fine line between buying unusual and fun things as gifts or for the house and ending up with a suitcase full of rubbish...

The advice I'd give? Take it slowly, don't be rushed in to too much tat and buy fewer - but better - things. And when it comes to haggling... I'm actually hopeless! It's complicated, the whole haggling issue. I was once in a shop in Istanbul with my husband. He was doing a brilliant price of haggling on the price of some cushions and I piped up and said that the price was unfair. Much too cheap!! So I'm probably not the best one to advise on this one. Some shops have fixed prices, the street vendors and markets expect a haggle but it's not always the done thing. If I love something I'm happy to pay the price if met with a tough bargain - and I always regret it if I don't buy something I loved!

And then there are the shops with the interesting or amusing names and signs. I particularly loved this one selling country drugs...

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Holy Cow!

I've just spent a week in India immersing myself in the colours and the culture. The beauty, chaos and contradictions of the country always surprise. This time I went from Chennai to Pondicherry and my next few blogs will be sharing my photographs with you. Enjoy!

The cow is sacred to most Hindus, they honour her and thank her for the milk, cream, yogurt, cheese, butter, ice cream, ghee and dung that she provides. 

Her nature is represented by the goddess Kamadhenu, the mother of all cows. They wander freely everywhere, they have free reign and there are huge penalties if you hit one whilst driving. You have to keep your wits about you at all times as they cross the road at a leisurely pace, whether it’s a dual carriageway or a country lane. In the state of Gujurat it is illegal to slaughter a cow and is now punishable with life imprisonment.

They eat the food littered by markets and bins and this means, of course, that they often eat the litter too, plastic and detritus thrown on the street. One of the many contradictions that is India.