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Posts Tagged ‘Hiranandani’

Three essential qualities to look for in a “shopping arena” are: low prices, decent quality, and nice atmosphere. Hiranandani and South Bombay encompass all of these qualities and more. I have had more fun shopping in India than I’ve ever had at any American mall, outlet, or department store. We have stopped into a few malls here and there, and trust me, India has plenty of malls, but none of them have satisfied me quite like the alleyways in Hiranandani or the vendors that line Colaba Causeway in South Bombay (SoBo).

These “shopping arenas” are nothing like what I’m used to back home. There are no elevators, escalators, long lines, or bustling parking lots. Here in India, all you have to do is take a step in the right direction and you’re in shopping paradise!

There’s a nice mall in Hiranandani with decent prices, but once we ventured across the street and into some alleys behind the larger buildings and stores, we found ourselves amongst clothing and shoes averaging only 250 rupees (that’s about 5 USD). The venders are set up along both sides of the alleyways and there are also small walk-in stores to explore. As we make our way through this miniature maze, we’re buying shoes at this stand and pants at that stand, making it out without even spending twenty US dollars.

Now if you think the alleyways in Hiranandani sound amazing, Colaba Causeway would blow you away. This street in SoBo is like one long strip mall, but with no stores to go in and out of because everything you could possibly want is right there on the sidewalk for you – and yes, the vendors line both sides of the sidewalk. It truly is as awesome as it sounds.

This “shopping arena” literally comes out of nowhere, but once you reach it and realize how much clothing, souvenirs, and jewelry there is to conquer, it feels like you have just gotten the wind knocked out of you. Before buying anything, most of us took a walk down the street to see what these vendors had to offer. Then it was time to haggle. We were ready to stand our ground and not get ripped off just because we were tourists!

Without a doubt, haggling for the best and lowest prices possible was what made this shopping experience so much fun. I was able to convince a man to sell me two scarves for 500 rupees when he originally asked for 950. Every purchase I made felt like a quality purchase and I don’t always feel that way when I go shopping back home. At both locations, someone will always be calling you ma’am and asking you to just look at the products they have to offer. They consistently make you feel good about what you are buying and usually end up giving in to whatever price you are willing to pay!  Their smiles and eagerness tempt you to buy more, making their day that much better.

It’s such a blast shopping here in India that I may buy gifts for everyone I know just so I have a reason to shop! Every purchase I make here is completely worth it to me because I would not be able to find any of these items in the US. Besides, who knows when I’ll be shopping along the streets of India again!

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It’s officially been two weeks. I hit the point a few days ago where I started getting a little homesick. I’m not homesick in the traditional sense. I’m more just craving America in every way, shape, and form.

At first it was an adventure experimenting with Hindi, but its starting to get tougher and tougher to understand people and for people to understand me. Communicating with auto drivers is nearly impossible. I do know a few select directional phrases, but they often don’t help because I have no idea where I’m going.  About 25% of my meals here consist of food I didn’t order. I usually just suck it up and eat the mistaken order because of how hard it is to switch.

The other day a group of us sat in a circle discussing the first foods we were going to have when we got back. I love Indian food, but there are certain foods that I need in order to maintain sanity. The thing I miss the most is meat.

In America, my diet consists of mainly beef and chicken. There is an abundance of chicken here, but beef is lacking. The only place I have seen some form of beef was at Chili’s, but even then you had to specify that you wanted beef in your burger and the people that ordered it said it didn’t taste like beef at all. As I sit here typing this all I want is a BLT sandwich. I tried ordering one from Subway the first week we were here, but they swapped the bacon with either ham or Canadian bacon. Regardless, it didn’t quench my desire for that crunchy, greasy, fat-riddled meat.

Everything I eat, even things as simple as a PB&J sandwich have a distinct Indian taste. It could be an extra spice or something. But then, a few nights ago, someone had the great idea of heading to Papa John’s in Hiranandani. I ordered a large cheese pizza, and have been chomping on the leftovers for pretty much every meal since. I finally found something in this crazy, amazing city that stops my desire for the comfort and ease of communication that getting back to the U.S. will give me.

I feel like I should clarify something. This post isn’t saying I am ready to go home, or even want to. All I am saying in this post is that I got over the hump that I knew from the start I would hit. Now to get back to reality. Namaste.

 

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