03 November 2010

NaNo-Day Three (and other such musings)

First off (before I forget again), a big "hello, how are you" to my new followers. I see you over there. Thank you so much! I'll pay you a visit as soon as possible :)

Day three of this literary madness and I've got 5,000+ under my belt. Woohoo! Are they all genius? Not hardly, but they're words and words can be edited, words can be strengthened, tightened, filed down and built upon.

Needless to say, I'm excited.

So...butter tea. Yeah. I tried it. Around midnight Monday night. I boiled 6 cups of water, threw in one of those Lipton tea bags, let it boil for about 3 minutes. Then I dumped it in a large container, added 2 tablespoons of butter, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a 1/2 cup of milk. And we whisked vigorously. The instructions say to shake vigorously or put in a blender. Our blender (quite honestly) sucks so bad I don't trust it to blend tea so that was a pass. The shaking was much more amusing. You know those Tupperware pitchers with the lids that stay on due to suction? You push the button on the top, press the lid into the container and *poof* it stays. Like magic. Wrong. Not with boiling water. The steam creates pressure and soon as you start shaking, the top blows off! We didn't lose any limbs, but it was rather amusing.

It looks and smells and tastes like the liquid residue left over from oatmeal made with too much water. Complete with the butter and salt. The tea somehow disappears in all that shaking. It's I said yesterday, it's not as bad as salted laasi (is anything worse than that?) but it's bad.

Now that I've had it, however, just let 'em try and get a laugh out of this American when they offer me an "innocent" cup of butter tea on my first visit to Tibet. I'll already know what to expect. Who knows. It might be better with yak butter and milk. Or it could be a lot, lot worse!

We're moving into India now, a country I spent two weeks in, two years ago. A fascinating conundrum of a country, one that you can't wait to leave but long for and wonder when you'll get to go back. The sights, the sounds, the smells are NOTHING a Westerner can prepare for. The closest I've come is the Dekalb International Farmer's Market here just outside of Atlanta and it doesn't even hold a candle to the chaos and baffling wonder that is India.

When I think of India, I think of the color brown. I was in Delhi (not where tourists go) and everything was brown: the ground, the cars, the buildings, the sky. Even the sky. Especially the sky. The people. Oh, the gorgeous, gorgeous people. Their skin varying shades of caramel and coffee. The women, all stunning, riding side saddle on tiny dirt bikes, pink, orange and blue saris decorating them, making them stand out like fragile Christmas ornaments on an already dead tree.

The children. I could have adopted every one of them! I spent two weeks sitting in an orphanage, watching, enjoying, interacting with over 30 children, ranging in ages one to thirteen. Let's just say if my suitcase had been a little bit bigger I'd have two daughters.

The food. Oh my gosh the food. Smells like you've never experienced. Tastes that baffle your tongue (and stomach) and make you beg for more. Curry in everything (even the Kentucky Fried joke!). Chicken briyani that comes in a bag no bigger than the foil bags of a Chick-fil-A sandwich yet when you dump it out, it could feed an army (or one, fifteen year old Indian boy). Salted laasi (that must be experienced to be believed) and pickled water buffalo (yum. Water buffalo).

By far the most bizarre thing I had over there was this strange, curdled milk, rice and red onion dish. It tasted interesting. I have no idea how to explain it except to imagine curdled milk with rice and red onions. Or better yet, don't. They eat it to settle their stomachs during the heat of summer (I was there in May). Note: it does NOT settle a western stomach. Not at all. Not hardly. But it does give you a fabulous excuse to eat nothing but french fries for the next two days.

This post turned out to be a long one. I won't bother you further. Just know that I have a connection with this next, virtual location. My goal for this trip is to make naan. Garlic naan. The one recipe that sounds authentic says it takes two days to make. I'll do some more research. Oh how I miss that greasy, garlicky goodness.


foldingfields said...

So, I'm thinking butter tea might be a no-go, but so is LIPTON tea. Try using proper black tea next time. :)
Peshwari Naan is my favourite...yummy.
Huge high five for your 5,000 words and I'm glad you're finding time to eat in between writing.

Lydia Kang said...

I'd like some of that Naan please!
I tried butter tea at a Tibetan restaurant and thought it was weird. When you're used to your plain or sweet tea and you taste salt, it's strange. I bet I'd like it if I kept drinking it though. An acquired taste, I guess.
But I'm glad I tried it!

roxy said...

Enjoyed this interesting post, Jen. I love to take vicarious journeys into places as yet unexplored by me. Naan is yummy. That, I have eaten.

Jen Chandler said...

@folding fields: I'm not a fan of Lipton either, but it was the only black tea we had that wasn't flavored. I don't drink plain black tea that often, but I'll definitely look up the one you recommended! Thanks :)

@Lydia: My husband said the same thing, that butter tea could be an acquired taste. I'm thinking it might,but I'd have to sip it a long, long time to acquire it!

Brian Miller said...

haha. good on you for trying the tea...yep it was probably the lack of yak 5000, nice!

Susan R. Mills said...

Hmm... butter tea doesn't sound so good, but your NaNo progress is admirable! Good for you!

Mary Aalgaard said...

Hmm. I can smell the garlic from here. It takes courage to sample foreign food.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

Funny you should say that India reminds you of the colour brown. Most people think fo various colours, but to me, the single one colour I would associate with my country is brown!

Lin said...

The butter tea does not sound like something I'm gonna try anytime soon. Blech! Thanks for the warning.

Cynthia@RunningWithLetters said...

You've had time for 5,000 words and a hearty blog post? I'm impressed! I love your perspective on the words--not perfect, but able to be worked with--YES! That's the way it happens :)

And pickled water buffalo? Seriously??