slivka.com > Trips > India 2011 > Sat Apr-23

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Sat Apr-23 Jayabheri, Chutneys, Chowmahalla Palace, Kangan Restaurant
Ben got 6.5 hours of sleep (11:00 a.m. to 5:30 a.m.) -- a new high for this trip. He spent a few hours typing up trip notes and catching up on a little email before a light breakfast at the hotel.

Raj picked Ben up and they drove over to the home he is renting. It is in a very secure enclave (gates, tall electrified fence, guards) of 65 homes that was built 4 years ago by real estate developer Jayabheri. Homes were initially sold at US$250K, but now sell for over US$1M. Construction quality in India is below that of the US (I suspect it would drive the Japanese mad) -- many little fit and finish problems. One exception is the walls -- the house is built out of CMU and the plaster coat on the interior walls is of very high quality (you cannot see the CMU joints). No central air conditioning: each room with A/C has a high-mounted air handler that connects to its own compressor on the roof. First and second floor windows have metal bars (on the inside) for additional security. And there is a safe inside for valuables -- due to the number of household staff. One modern touch is roof top solar hot water heaters -- Raj said that the electic water heater has seldom kicked in because it is so reliably sunny and hot in Hyderabad. Also typical for India, immediately adjacent to this development is a plot of land with piles of rubble and grazing water buffaloes.

After a quick stop at HyperCity so that Ben could buy an SD USB card reader, we went to the Westin Hyderabad to pick up Ian and we went on to lunch at Chutneys. The dosa Ben ordered was easily 3.5 feet in diameter...even with help from Raj and Ian, Ben did not finish it. The MLA pesarattu (a thick, crisp crepe) filled with a mixture of potatoes, purple onions, and green onions were sinfully good!

We dropped Raj off and then continued on to Chowmahalla Palace where Ian and Ben spent an hour roaming around the grounds and exploring the exhibits. The main ballroom is enormous and hung with huge chandeliers.

Ben and Ian spent a few hours shopping for presents for Ben to bring home, then headed back to the Westin Hyderabad and had a lovely dinner at the Kangan Restaurant there, complete with a bottle of 2010 Sula Vineyards Chenin Blanc, bottled in November, 2010. At 2200 Rupees (about US$48.00), it was just OK. The finish was a bit odd, not flawed, but a bit metallic.

Ben went to bed around midnight.

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