Showing posts with label Gem Palace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gem Palace. Show all posts

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Ganesh in NY

Missing India, I dragged a friend today to Chennai Gardens, on 27th Street, for a veg meal of dosa, uttapam and a little halwah for dessert, Tamil Nadu style with almond and cardamom flavor.

Only in New York, it was kosher too. The neighborhood offers a tailor who will make jootis and a grocery with chai masala spices, rotis and packaged curries. Plus elephant-god Ganesh statues in brass for sale everywhere!

Even ABC Carpet & Home has gone Indian with a wall of Ganesh, remover of obstacles, in marble or wood, a floor-to-ceiling wall of fake-orange marigolds, stacks of hand-stitched Indian bed covers for $500 each and Indian jewelry (gemstones, gold and silver) at absolutely ridiculous prices.

I am thinking about Jaipur most. But I found a site where you can see its Rajasthani turbans, forts and even the Gem Palace in a Gem Palace video.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Namaste Jaipur

Found a modern, clean, family-run home-stay for two nights -- complete with man-servant who cooks breakfast and dinner, and just a five-minute, thrilling auto-rickshaw ride through the chaos into the old city. $25 per night inclusive. Family grilled me on my backround and told me theirs: educated, from Kashmir, son-in-law works for LG. I couldn't identify the strange animal noises during the night -- woke up at 6 a.m. with the call to prayer, stepped out onto my veranda, and saw there was a cow, a peacock and a puppy in the neighbor's yard -- she was cooking over an open fire. I love traveling in traffic that is completely chaotic and I am fascinated by all the small, ingenious vehicle-contraptions on the road. The kids at right waved and said "Hello, Hello, where are you from?" Adorable faces. Yesterday, I found the Gem Palace and tried on some very yellow gold -- Pappu, one of the three 50-something sons running the 150-year old business, invited me for a drink and downed three scotch-and-waters while stalling, as it turned out. When we retuned to the gold-and-gem shop, they had the bracelet I had described earlier, plucked from the warehouse. They even gave me a throat syrup and a vapor concoction for my cold and sent me home with their driver, even after I didn't buy. The operation is a maze of rooms with modern and traditional decor, wall painting and vats -- literally -- of semi-precious stones. An entire sack of Lapis Lazuli. Outside, begging women wait. Pappu says they make too much money and just don't want to work. Clearly they are beautiful; I have decided not to give on the street, but did to them because it was New Year's Day.