18 July 2013

Shop til you drop

Today was a shopping day! Tammy and I started out at Fab India. Fab India is a chain, started by a man from Hartford, CO, that one can find throughout the country. Fab India is operated like a cooperative, the clothing manufacturers own part of the company and everything is locally produced in each area. The clothes are high quality and we had fun shopping. I bought a complete outfit (dress and leggings) and Tammy bought two really cute shirts. I also bought a nice necklace.

Then we went to a spice market. This spice shop is the 'best in Varanasi'. It was fun - the owner took time to make sure we got exactly what we needed and the best quality of it. Having just cooked with Malika yesterday, we knew some of the spices we wanted that could not be as easily or inexpensively found at home. As we discussed our wishes with the owner, a man came around to give us a cup of sweet, milky chai tea. It was some of the best chai I've had. We bought saffron, dried mango powder, gram masala and asafoetida. Plus we sampled a nut that resembled popcorn AND we tried pan. The owner's son was very friendly and helped translate our questions and comments. It was so much fun and we were able to get a lot of great spices for cooking all this delectable food we've been eating.

Afterwards we went to a perfume shop. Tammy wanted to get some Sandalwood and I hoped they would have some tea tree oil. As it was, the owner had a lot of difficulty with English and everything was written in Hindi. We did manage to communicate our wishes. Tammy got 5g of Sandalwood and also ended up purchasing 5g of Jasmine. They didn't have any tea tree oil, so I didn't get anything.

Our shopping experiences were an adventure and the stores were unique. Each one was in an ally, a small box out of many. We had to wonder how it was that people find them so easily and know that these are the ones to go to. Our homestay had recommended both of them to us and our Tuk-Tuk driver had guided us there. Without them, we would not have had such a successful shopping trip.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Varanasi, India

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