Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Namaste from INDIA!

Namaste from Kerala, southern India!!

We are on a vacation, celebrating my 50th birthday (which actually doesn't come until mid-June, but it never hurts to celebrate early, eh??).  We have never been to India before and have been amazed at the sights, sounds, tastes, and colors that surround us here.  We traveled through a few northern cities and have now come down south to finish out the holiday.

One thing we love to do when traveling is, you guessed it, SEE THE LOCAL GROCERY STORE!!  Here in India we have been fortunate to see some MARKETS, which are absolutely amazing.  We even went to one, Crawford Market, where they MAKE SPICES.  By that, I mean they take the spice blends that the women bring (yes, it seemed to be all women ordering them), roast them, then GRIND THEM into the types of spices you and I would expect to see in a jar on a Trader Joe's shelf.  I was fascinated and could have easily stayed at that stall for hours observing and smelling.  Heaven!

Spices, having just been roasted, now resting on a burlap bag in the sun waiting for their turn to be ground

A long queue of spices on a Sunday at the spice market, all waiting to be ground

A grinder!  These large pistons slam down very loudly onto the spices, grinding them very finely
Most people here seem to shop at markets, but I also wanted to see an Indian GROCERY STORE.  Locals never understand my desire to check out the groceries, but I really think it is a great way to learn something about a culture!!  What cookies do they eat??  What drinks?  What CONDIMENTS???  There is a lot to learn in a grocery store!!

So we popped into one in Mumbai.  Let's just say, it was NOT a Trader Joe's :).

First off, no air conditioning.  And this is the HOT season here, record highs actually.

Secondly, they have STATUES in their grocery store.  See, here is a Ghandi one!!!!!  Isn't it great?  I have never seen anything like THAT at a TJ's.

Look, a Ghandi bust in aisle 1! 
Thirdly, the sample lady was giving out WHOLE CARTONS of Greek yogurt, not little cups of it.  Oooh-la-la!!  They also took our photo after we tasted it.  David did a funny face where he was spitting some of the yogurt out as if it tasted super disgusting.  I bet they don't use THAT in their marketing campaign.

Fourthly, the snack food section had FAIRY LIGHTS over it!!!  You know the ones, the fancy twinkling Christmas lights!!!  Cuz nothing says EAT SOME CHIPS like FAIRY LIGHTS!  It was pretty fabulous.

Snacks and fairy lights, a great combination!
We were glad we persevered and figured out where the heck the hidden grocery story was.  We crossed some crazy Mumbai streets, dodging traffic, to get there, but it was worth it.

We didn't buy a bottle of "Thums Up" soda  but we probably should have, eh?


  1. Thanks for sharing pictures and details from your trip! The holiday lights make it look especially festive!! And enjoy your birthday <3

    1. THANKS!!! And don't you think Americans would buy MORE CHIPS if the snack food section had holiday lights??? I know I would!

  2. You should have tried Thums Up. It was introduced in 1977 after the Govt of India told Coca-Cola to leave the Indian market. Other distinctly Indian drinks are Limca (lime flavor) and Gold Spot (orange flavor). The taste of the three drinks is noticeably different from that of Coke/Pepsi, Sprite/7-Up and Fanta.

    1. RATS - I wish we would have tried it! But that gives us a good excuse to go back...

      Ironically, the label said it is made by Coca-Cola (looks like they acquired it in 1993).

      Next time we will get one! But we need to find a COLD one, this one was super hot due to H O T weather and hot grocery store :).

    2. Yes, Thums Up was acquired by Coca-Cola after the economic liberalization programs were launched in the early 90's.

      Even if it is too late for you to buy it in India, you can still get it in Indian grocery stores back here in the US. You will be paying higher prices however (about 4X what it would have cost in India)..