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Martin and Sandhya, met in Hyderabad (#20).

“I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen?”

On Sunday, March 9, I spent the first half of the day YouTubing in my hotel room. This is a legit condition for introverts: must recharge by being alone.

After I recharged, I researched some places to visit in the city and set up an agenda. Off to Birla Mandir, a famous Hindi temple.

Got to the place 10 minutes before it opened. As a crowd stood outside its gates, I asked a couple of folks if I was at the right place. Martin and Sandhya confirmed this, and we started talking.

Martin is German and has been in Hyderabad for about half a year. He’s 27 years old, speaks fluent German, studied English in college, and was working as a German-American transcriber.

On the other hand, Sandhya is 25 years old and is working in the HR department of an India company. She is Indian, speaks Telugu and English, and has an MBA.

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I asked I could join them, perhaps learn a few things about the temple. It turned out to be a great experience: shoes off, no electronics, and a lot of visitors. The temple was all white, built completely in marble, and stood on top of a hill. It was a decent climb up stairs to reach this place.

This temple really reminded me of Bei Hai Park in Beijing, which was one of the emperor’s vacation spots (or something like that). We had a great 360 view of the city… except I couldn’t see the entire city. I could see buildings up to the horizon and beyond, and this was with clear skies and little pollution. Cities like this need another name, like megacity or something.

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I was starving afterward, so we drank coconut juice and ate the inner soft shell. Sandhya then took us to the famous Eat Street, a restaurant center located next to the large Hussain Sagar lake. The lake is manmade, very hard to believe.

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This place felt a tiny bit like Santa Monica Pier in the middle of summer. We ate panipuri (literally translates to bread water), which is a common street snack: fried crisp filled with flavored water and some beans/starch. We also ate some naan and vegetable dish.

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Afterward, we called it a day and shared an auto back to our respective locations.

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The two are wondrous folks. Very friendly, welcomed me into the city with open arms.

Martin and Sandhya have been met, but I wonder, how many people have I looked at all my life and never seen?

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