Monday, February 8, 2010

A day in India and I'm already overwhelmed.

We left at 8 p.m. Friday and arrived at 5 a.m. Sunday somewhat worse for wear, but that's International travel for ya. We spent hours packed like sardines with turbulence much of the way. It felt like months in a shipping container. Fortunately, we recovered from jet lag pretty quickly. Now it's Monday afternoon and I'm hanging out at the hotel while hubby is at work somewhere here in Bangalore. It's a good thing they sent a cab for him, because driving here is insane.

Yesterday, I saw a family of 5 on a motorcycle. Yep. Dad was driving and he had Junior in front of him. Behind him was his lovely wife wearing a full sari and riding sidesaddle. She held the middle boy on her lap and cradled an infant in her arms. I saw them take a corner like there was nothin' to it. Unreal!

There are so many little things that tell me I'm not in America any more. The five star hotel we're staying in would be considered "adequate" in the states. Maybe 3 stars. But the people are very hospitable and bend over backward to make you happy. That was until I got to the hotel's gift shop. Oh my.

I used to consider myself a champion bargain hunter. Now that bargaining is part of the deal, I'm completely out of my league. Just tell me what it costs and if it's on sale. That's all I want to know...but no. I'm expected to tell them what I want to pay for it! How the heck should I know what anything is worth? I don't want to insult anyone, but I don't want to be cheated out of my life savings on day one, either!

I found 3 things I really liked. I didn't let him sell me everything I looked at (even though he tried.) He had my things wrapped up before we even talked price. I'm SO not used to this method of "shopping." I went round and round with the guy as far as pricing. I showed him how much I had in my pocket and he wanted me to go back to my room for more. Fortunately, I didn't fall for that, and thank goodness I didn't have a credit card! I finally came away with the three items I wanted for the rupees I had on my person. I'm still not sure if I got taken to the cleaners or not.

I saw advertised a government store of local crafts with fixed prices! I never thought I'd be so grateful for the Saturn sales model. I think that will be my next stop. Maybe when I have a better idea of what things are worth over here, I'll try bargaining again.

Fortunately my hubby is the most wonderful man on the planet. He said not to worry about it. He could always take me to the ATM if I ran out of the cash I brought with me. "It's only $63 bucks," he said. Somehow that sounds much better than 3,000 rupees. "And if you really love the earrings, it's worth it." What a great guy.

So, I was just watching HSN on TV to get an idea on fair pricing...yes, the same kind of Home Shopping Network we have at home--just picture 2 beautiful Indian women talking about Indian jewelry in what I call "Hindish." It's a combination of Hindi and English. I understood only ever other word, but I knew exactly what they were saying.

This is a funny, funny and fascinating place. And, oh yes, I should mention that I've eaten some of the most wonderful concoctions, not knowing what most of it was. LOL. Fortunately, I have adventurous taste buds and an iron stomach.

1 comment:

Sherry said...

Awesome first day in the country, Ash.. Thanks for sharing with us.. Oh, and Thanks for sharing Angelo... What book did you say he was posing for.. (ssssiiigggghhhh)