Tuesday, Ganesh met me in the morning and took me to buy a cell phone. He took me to a place where he knew the owner’s brother, so he would give me a good deal and wouldn’t ask questions. For some reason buying a phone here as a Westerner they ask all kinds of questions and get immigration involved. I ended up paying around $125 US for the phone, but its a nice one. I was hoping for a smart phone, but those ran anywhere from $500-750 US. I thought they may be cheaper there, but no. I had to provide them with a copy of my passport and copy of the electric bill for where I am staying. They also needed passport photos of me, which I got around the corner in a very hot photo studio. 50rs for 8 photos.
I wanted to explore the city, so I hailed an auto and told him to go to the one place I know, Charminar. It is a large structure built in the 16th century to honor Allah for curing the city of black plague. Of course, it was about as far across the city as I could get. The cost for Indians to go up, 5rs. For foreigners? 100rs. Rippoff. hehe. I went up and took some photos (and HD Video!!!! 🙂 ) then walked around the area for a while, taking back streets and alleys. It is a largely Muslim area, but as I walked the 4.5km up toward Hussain Sagar (lake), it progressively got more Hindu influence. I was planning on walking all the way to the lake, but it was 6pm and I needed to be back at the apartment by 7 to go to dinner with Ty and Gorgene.
I took a lot of portraits along the way. India is unlike anywhere else I have been in that the people ASK me to take pictures of them. I have to turn people down. Walking down the street, being the only Westerner that they’ve seen in some time, I get a lot of attention. People wave, yell, and smile. Its a very enjoyable time for me, I love the people here.