Saturday, January 10, 2009

Trip to Pune - part 1

Hubby and me visited India during the new year holidays. We were in India from December 28, 2008 to January 06, 2009. We visited my relatives in Pune, Chandigarh, and Delhi. First, we visited my parents in Pune. In this post I will write about the first four days of our trip to Pune.
Pune is the second largest city in the state of Maharashtra in western India, around 160 kilometers southeast of the state capital, Mumbai. It is also the eighth largest city in India.

Map of India indicating the location of Pune

27th December
It snowed heavily with very strong winds in Akita prefecture of Japan in the morning of 27th December 2008. We took a flight from Akita airport to Haneda airport that morning and fortunately, inspite of the bad weather, the flight was not cancelled. We were in Haneda airport by 1 pm, and reached the already reserved hotel in Akihabara, the electric town of Japan, at about 2 pm. From 2 pm to 9 pm, we purchased a lots of gifts and presents for relatives and friends in India, and were very tired by the time we returned back to the hotel. The hotel interior was very nice and we could relax after a day of hectic shopping!

Hotel room in Akihabara

28th December
From Tokyo railway station, hubby and me took Narita Express and reached Narita International Airport in Tokyo by about 8 in the morning. We travelled by Japan Airlines and our flight to Delhi, India was at 11 am. So we bought a few more things to be taken to India before checking in. It took about 9 hours to reach Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. We used an airport bus to reach the domestic terminal in Delhi. Hubby was pleasantly surprised to see a McDonald's shop in the domestic terminal. He was hungry and ate a burger. Our flight to Pune was at 9.15 pm. We travelled by Kingfisher airlines and their services were superb. We reached Pune at about 11.15 pm. But just prior to landing the pilot noticed a rabbit in the middle of the runway and had to abruptly go up. It was very scary. The plane circled the airport for about half an hour and finally the runway was cleared for landing. By the time, we picked up our luggage and came out of the airport, it was already 12.15 am. My parents were waiting outside the airport to receive us. My parents live very near the airport and we reached home within 10 minutes of car ride. My mother had cooked dinner for us, so we had our dinner and went to hotel brookside to spend the night. The hotel is a four star hotel and is within two minutes walking distance from my parents home. It was hubby's second trip to India and we thought that it would be better for him to acclimatize and adapt to Indian weather/culture by staying intially for two days in the hotel, and then moving in with my parents. The entire day was spend in travelling. After reaching the hotel, we slept immediately as we were very tired after all the travelling.

29th December
We went to my parents home in the morning and had breakfast. It was very tasty as I was eating my mother's cooked food after a long time. After that my father, my hubby, and me went to a government tax office in Pune, where I had some work. Hubby, being a Japanese, was very amused by the bureaucracy of the Indian governmental office. For going to the goverment office, we hired a three wheeler called auto-rickshaw. Auto-rickshaw is a major mode of transport in Pune and hubby enjoyed travelling by it a lot.

Hubby posing in front of an auto-rickshaw

While returning back home, we purchased some cold drinks from an Indian snack shop. During his previous trip to India, Hubby liked a snack called 'samosa' (a fried triangular pastry stuffed with potatoes and onion) which is usually served with salted green chillies deep-fried in oil. While purchasing the cold drink, hubby asked the shop owner to give him free fried-green chillies along with the cold drinks. We did not want to buy any 'samosa' that time. The shop owner was probably shocked that a foreigner was asking for free fried-green chillies. Well, hubby got a lot of them! After returning home, hubby ate those green chillies along with cold drinks and he really enjoyed it!

Hubby enjoying deep-fried green chillies

Soon it was time to have lunch. After lunch, I ate a Maharashtrian sweet-dish speciality called 'shrikhand'. It was too sweet for my parents and hubby, so I ate all of it!

Hubby having lunch at home

I ate the entire 'shrikhand' pack at a time

After lunch, we all chatted a lot for almost four hours. Then it was time to eat dinner. My mother cooked delicious fish curry and we ate a lot. Hubby and me returned back to the hotel at about 10 pm.

Hubby sleeping in the hotel room

30th December
We checked out of the hotel in the morning and moved in with my parents for the rest of our stay in Pune. Before checking out, hubby took a few photos of the hotel. The interior of the hotel was very nice. It took some time for hubby to get used to the concept of 'ground floor'. In the elevator, he always pressed wrong floor number :) But it was fun.

Outside view of the hotel

Hotel lobby

Elevator indicating 'ground floor'

My parents bought a few clothes as present for hubby in a shop near our home. Also, I gave two pairs of clothes to a tailor for stitching Indian dress called 'salwar kameez'. My older brother and his wife presented me with the cloth for the dress. In the afternoon, my parents and we went to two famous shopping zone streets called 'Laxmi Road' and 'M. G. Road' to do shopping. We bought a lot of presents for our relatives and friends in Japan. In addition, hubby presented my parents with a pair of gold rings and a gold chain ornaments from a famous jewellery shop called 'Ashtekar Jewellers'. The rings and the chain looked so cute.
Hubby presented a pair of gold rings and gold chain to my parents

By evening, we all were very tired and had dinner in a posh chinese restaurant called 'Mainland China'. The restaurant served authentic cuisine from the major provinces of China. Although my hubby and me enjoyed the dinner very much, various Chinese sauces were probably a bit strong for my parents. It was a nice day and hubby and me stayed in my parents home for the night.

Front view of the restaurant 'Mainland China'

My father and mother eating dinner in the restaurant

Hubby having dinner in the restaurant

31st December
As soon as hubby woke up in the morning, he had a delicious breakfast. I was rather tired and felt a bit sick so I skipped the breakfast.

Hubby having breakfast at home

Unfortunately, in recent years, the air-pollution in Pune has increased at an alarming rate. The air is very dusty, and the roads are traffic-choked with lot of noise and fuel pollution. We all moved around in such dusty conditions for almost seven hours on 30th of December. So the next day I got severe dust allergy. All others were fine. Hubby was very amused to see an Indian getting sick due to her own hometown's pollution.

I fell sick due to dust allergy and took rest at home

I stayed back home in the morning and afternoon of 31st December. Hubby went with my father to a bank and a vegetable shop. They also went to a very small traditional shop to purchase some eggs and bread.

Small traditional shop selling eggs, snacks, bread, cigarettes, etc.

Hubby took a lot of photos of our home. Here are the photos of the Hindu temple that we have at home.

Hindu temple at home

Also, we all took many photos together for keepsake.

Me, father, and mother chatting

Hubby posing with father

Hubby posing with my mother and father

Father and mother

Father, mother, hubby, and me

In the evening, we all went to a nearby park where hubby and me strolled and my parents chatted with their friends. It was nice to see many senior citizens having a close circle of friends who enquired about each other's well being.

The park

Me in the park

My parents chatting with their friends in the park

Father with his friends

Later we visited a few temples near our home.

Me praying in front of various Hindu Gods

While returning back home, hubby bought many 'samosas' from a snack shop and we all relished them at home.
Hubby eating 'samosa'

My mother cooked dinner of fish, eggs, vegetables, rice, and salad. We all ate a lot! After that we watched television for a while and at exactly 12 in the night, we wished everyone a happy and prosperous new year and retired for the night. My parents kept receiving a lot of phone calls from their friends and relatives wishing them a Happy new year!
Hubby and me were really enjoying our stay in Pune. Last year we had done a lot of sight-seeing in Pune. So this year, hubby enjoyed seeing the day to day life of my parents in Pune. I will write about the next few days of our Pune trip in the next post.


Ashish said...

is samosa a pastry?

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Ha ha....
Well, a salted pastry! That is the closest that I could think of.

Gonzalez Lewis said...

WOW (impressed look). Your version looks so yummy.

Here I bought a sauce pack for mapo tofu so as to skip all the seasonings! and i will try this friday after work.