Mar. 1st, 2011

pictor: (Default)
Today was awesome.

First of all...definitely no longer sick. Good start.

Work, whatever. After work, we went to Laxmi rd. This is the heart of the market, the busiest shopping centre (and when I say that, think street market, not mall) in Pune. Anytime we told someone we were going...they started laughing. They thought we'd be scared by the crush of people, but personally I loved it. It was vibrant, noisy, smelly (good and bad, incense and perfumes mixed with car exhaust and garbage), and alive!

Let me say first of all that in India, you can't rent a car. You can rent a car, and a driver. The driver drives you everywhere, waits for you, and drives you back, along with any in between stops. If you are going somewhere overnight, he'll sleep in the car. This last point is not one we have tested, and honestly, it would riddle me with guilt to push this service relationship that far, but during the day, I am happy to have his help. Now, the point of that is that today, he went beyond the call. He parked the van in a parking lot, and then personally guided us around Laxmi rd. He translated, he negotiated, he found little stores down back alleys, no more than 5 feet wide with cool little trinkets and stuff to buy as gifts, and he also facilitated a custom clothes purchase for me.

There is one large size men's clothing store full of various fancy Indian formal outfits. They had one (1) outfit in my size, though they promised they could make any of them to order and ship it to Canada. The one in my size though, was actually fairly nice, a blue on blue pattern that is elegant without being overdone. The problem was the pants. Of all things, they wouldn't fit over my calves (wait was never an issue, indian pants are made huge, and you drawstring them closed). No problem, our driver translated and helped me negotiate a custom pair of pants at no extra charge, ready by Thursday. I paid 50% up front, got my receipt, and I will be back in 2 days to pick up my new outfit and pants. Whole outfit, 6000 rupees (~$130). Still no luck on the hat or shoes front, but I am getting used to that.

That man is getting a good tip before I fly out on Saturday.

For supper I had a burger. Oh yes I did. Indian food every day is all well and good, but honestly, sometimes you want a burger and some fries. It was quite a decent burger too, even if they understood "No pickle" as "No garnish of any kind", but on request, the requisite tomato and onion did show up.

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