Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pillow menu

Yesterday was even crazier than most days here, and ended with us flying to Jaipur late at night, missing dinner, and laden with about 40kg extra luggage: just-dyed linen.

The hotel was truly terrible. (I'm writing this from our new hotel, which is a thousand times better. And what you have to understand is the weirdness that is Indian hotels. We are staying in 3- and 4-star hotels, not the backpackers' lodges you must be envisioning by my descriptions. Indian hotels often look incredibly impressive on the outside, but on the inside, nothing really works right.)

The floors and walls were mildewy and squishy, everything was musty-smelling, some brilliant designer had put walls of painted wood in the shower, the halls were as dimly lit as a stage set for a vampire movie, the a/c didn't work, the ventilation fan didn't work, there was no hot water at the sink... We changed rooms three times before giving up and just staying in one of them. The best adjective I can think of is lugubrious. Closest noun might be mausoleum.

...Made more bizarre by the pounding music blasting from the discotheque, ubiquitous and indescribably annoying, in Indian hotels.

...And this was all after standing around in the lobby for half an hour after midnight while six or seven different desk clerks tried to tell us our reservations didn't exist, and after waiting eons for our luggage to be transferred upstairs (when you ask for a service, the response is usually [say with Indian accent]: "Yes, sir, I am just sending my colleague now," i.e., I don't feel like doing it, so I'll go see who I can pass the buck on to.

So it was around one a.m. when we finally grumpily spread out all the still-damp cloth haphazardly around the room.

The only good part about the hotel was the Pillow Menu.

Five different pillow choices!...

I read off the selections to The Husband, and he decided he must try several of them, but especially this one:

I ordered them, and they arrived about 20 minutes later.

(Above: The Husband checks out the Chamber Pillow. He was to declare it worthy only of a torture chamber.)

It didn't even occur to us until later how weird all that draped cloth must have looked to the employee who came to deliver the pillows. Perhaps he thought we were preparing for some sort of denim orgy.


Who misses her animolecules?

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Monday, November 22, 2010

At the dyers' center

Here are some random photos from the Weavers' and Dyers' Center, where we are spending most of our time while in Hyderabad.

The photo below is of real indigo on linen, dyed via millenia-old fermentation method.

High school students sometimes come to this government-run center for vocational courses. That's Sunita hard at work on a sort of batik. She's an adorable girl, the boldest amongst her fellow students (the first--and only--one to work up the courage to talk to me, the foreigner). I thought she was about eleven years old and she's actually seventeen.

Above: this is natural flax (linen) hand-woven for us, and on which we are experimenting with natural dyes for SLOWCOLOR, our burgeoning business. (Not to worry, I won't plug the biz too often here.) The fabric in the photo is dripping wet, having just come out of its myrobalan (plant mordant) bath.


Only another week or so until I can see my fuzzbuckets again...

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Saturday, November 20, 2010


All three of these photos were taken on the same street here in Hyderabad in the same few minutes.

There are no camels in Hyderabad. This was a weird sight for everyone (there's a dog on the left of the picture that pretty much went nuts). We were told later that the camel had been brought from Rajasthan for a wedding... be eaten. (Perhaps as Palette Signature, or to be served with Loose Prawns.)
Poor thing.

Sad little urban tree.

Yesterday, before we managed to extricate ourselves from that lousy hotel, we had to endure breakfast, in which the idlis (Indian breakfast staple) were too salty to eat, the milk had gone sour, the cereal had been manufactured several decades ago, and our desperate words "juice" and "fruit" received only the blankest of looks.

Moreover, in my opinion, life is hard enough without having to listen to minor-key Muzak during breakfast. I'm just sayin'.

I went back to the room and ate a chocolate bar for breakfast.

We changed back to our original hotel (they had been booked up for that night that we had to change) and were put in a room near some kind of hotel-staff service area. I asked the manager if it would be noisy, and was told: "Madam [that's what they call you here, like it or not], I am one hundred percent certain that you will not find it noisy." How do you know?, I asked him. "Because I have never received a complaint from that room."

Well... The manager has now received his first complaint.

We are now packing up to change rooms. We've had to completely repack every single day on this trip. Sigh...


And now for something completely different, a video from home...

In which our (little) hero must extricate himself from the bottom of a heavy kitty pile.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Room service

Well, my shampoo spilled into my luggage and all over my clothes, some batteries were stolen from another bag sometime between luggage check-in in Denver and baggage claim in Hyderabad, and when I went to put on my brand-new mail-order excellent anti-pollution respirator mask, it was while we were hurriedly transferring from one vehicle to another, and that happy shiny mask was lost to the streets before it ever even met my face, perhaps even now residing in the belly of some poor itinerant bovine.

And we've had a couple of very rough days, working like crazy and without much sleep. Then we had to switch hotels this morning and this new one is...well... It's called Casa Luxurio, now not-so-fondly known by us as Casa Misfunctio, or sometimes Dysfunctio. We've occupied the hotel room only a few hours now, and these are the things that have not worked so far (mind you, we opted to pay extra and are in what is called the Luxury Room): the shower, the TV, the lights, the toilet, the a/c, the internet, and the mini fridge. At one point we had four guys standing around trying to figure out why the internet cable thingie in the wall wasn't working.

Maybe we should've been warned by the hotel's motto, which is Expect an Experience!

Fortunately, much-needed comic relief was provided by the room service menu. I couldn't believe it when The Husband handed it to me. It looks like every teacher's nightmare of a term paper. The thing is about twenty pages long, single-spaced, with a hundred thousand items listed on it. I asked for translations on some of the things, and The Husband said he had no idea, so he got on the phone with room service, and spent quite a long time, leisurely flipping pages and inquiring about many things. Then he couldn't decide what to get, and settled back on the bed again and called back to discuss some more possibilities. And then a third time.


Sure am missing my animolecules. Here's some photos so you don't have to miss them.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Back to India

(Artists, check out the awesome reflected light on her face!)

Tomorrow it's back to India, for round 2 of work for the natural-clothing company that we're starting. I bought an anti-pollution mask with a charcoal filter to try wearing in traffic this time. I should probably wear it non-stop rather than just in traffic, but I get claustrophobic, so I'll do the best I can with it.

So I guess "y'all" will have to wait a couple of weeks to see the last two white paintings, and then I'll put 'em together and photograph that (still not sure in what configuration[s] they'll go).


I am going to miss my animolecules so bad...not to mention I hate missing out on some of the time that Gadjo will be little (I just love it when they're kittens and you can carry them with one hand, and scoop them up as they go running by). He's going to be gigantic in two weeks. The other day he went in for his first vaccinations and got weighed again, and in a week he had increased 30% in size. Not kidding. The vet was astonished. I think he's going to be really long and tall and have really long legs.

I'm going to be so homesick. Sigh.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

White 6

Number 6 of 8. Oil and cold wax on museum panel, 6" x 6".


Note the teeth holes in that cardboard.


In Jaipur, India.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

White 5

Number 5 of 8. Oil and cold wax on museum panel, 6" x 6".


Goofball in the laundry basket.
And little monkey curled up on the couch. He looks like a baby panda there.

Gadjo is growing at about an inch a day...or at least it seems that way.

Gadjo is a very confident, self-possessed kitten. When he's not being all attitudinal about what he wants or doesn't want, he can be very sweet.


In the state of Bihar, India.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

White 4...and a sleepy monkey

Number 4 of 8. Oil and cold wax on museum panel, 6" x 6".


And who is a very sleepy monkey?

Kittens are so funny in that they have only an on/off switch, no modes in between. Gadjo is either being a holy terror perpetual motion machine, or else he's sound asleep and whines if you disturb him (which you just always want to do, because he's so irresistibly adorable while asleep).

Doesn't he just look like a little lima bean? (Or, I suppose, a cute, furry fetus.)


I love the abstract images one can find anywhere there are old materials. This is a wall in Jaipur, India.

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