Hyderabad, City of Pearls and famous for its good food. I’ve spent ten days in this city which were mainly focused on Shoot to Help work (visiting NGOs and working the reports) and on getting sick. The arrival was quite rough after the glacial bus ride, little lost in the big city full of people but we’ve eventually found our hotel, I still do not know how. The shocking thing about Hyderabad when arriving early in the morning is its late morning sleeping. Even the guy at the hotel was asleep and barely able to talk, exactly like the city where everything is closed until 10h30-11h am, the time people wake up and get to work. It was a very strange feeling walking in the streets with all the shops closed even at late morning.
Before visiting NGOs and to get a feel of the city, I’ve had the opportunity to walk around, seeing the famous sights such as the Charminar in the middle of the busy bazar and the Buddha Statue on the Lake. That’s how I’ve discovered that Hyderabad is a very very lively city with a lot of traffic and crossing the streets is an extreme sports in itself. Going to the lake I’ve also discovered that ooohhhh those giant birds flying around everywhere in late evening are not birds but in fact giant bats…hhmm
After that came the work with other amazing NGOs with Shoot to Help; Room to Read with whom we’ve had to opportunity to do many road trips in the country side to visit remote school libraries and Blue Cross of Hyderabad where we’ve discovered an incredible animal shelters and much more! Those visits also gave us the opportunity to go around the city in many vehicles including riding behind on a scooter in the traffic with the nice ladies of Blue Cross, not even afraid! We’ve also had the opportunity to visit yet another dog shelter in the middle of the city, People for Animal with the amazing Manpreeth, thank you all!
As usual in India so far, there was a festival going on in the city while I was there; Pungal where everyone drew rongali, complex chalk mosaic in front of their houses and flew kites while shooting fireworks, a lot of action that I could not fully enjoy because that was the time I’ve been the sickest since the beginning of the trip but good thing is, it made me discovered that medication is a lot easier and cheaper here than in Quebec, I can now be sick again without ruining myself, yay!
The one thing that makes laugh the most about Hyderabad is wondering what the Suhail Hotel staff must have been thinking about Vince and I. It’s not a touristic place, in fact we’ve only seen 4 other westerners in 10 days and I’m pretty sure that most people do not spend all this time visiting the city. The guy actually seemed kind of shocked when we told him we’d stay that long. We were also sometimes spending entire days working on reports and photos in the room and people from NGOs were taking us by car in the morning and bringing us back later in the day, not usual tourist stuff! We spent so much time that we had our daily routine; lunch at the same restaurant, followed by a chai at our favorite chai place until dinner at the other favorite restaurant followed by a lassi (yoghurt milk). At the end, the lassi guy saw us from far away and just started preparing them without us even asking.
Leaving Hyderabad after these physically and mentally intense days was to be a little break from India, to have a glimpse of Bangkok and to visit Myanmar as a tourist and for one NGO but hey if you read my blog you know I’ve already spoken about Myanmar! The airport was a real mess and nightmare to leave from but at least we got a very touching phone call while in the taxi; Pravallika, from Blue Cross, called us and spoke to us both to thank us and wish a good rest of the trip. Oh how we needed that, thank you!