June 15, 2018
Well, this morning at breakfast I met up with three members of the GEEO group. One of the women had been in the Morocco group last year. The other woman is from Kentucky, and is traveling with her 20-something son who works in DC for a non-profit education organization.
We all decided to go out and see the town, even though there is a Delhi severe pollution air quality alert urging everyone to stay inside. (I am sitting here picking out toxic black boogers…not lying either…google it)
So we went shopping in the market area. It costs us 100 INR ( $1.50) to get us each a tuk-tuk there. I had my own tuk-tuk, while the others shared.
Anyway we walked all over the indoor swap meet type of market located under ground… like in an under ground bunker area. I was not allowed to take pictures there. Go figure. But I forgot and took one with my phone.
But it was out of the sun, incense filled the air to mask the smell of other things.
We came across one shop, and I knew that the two women were looking for higher quality scarves so I guided them in. Wow! What a great place to shop at. Money was spent. We were all happy with our purchases.
Then we were guided to another place to shop at Delhi Haat Cottage Emporium which is a 4 floor building chucked full of handmade items.
Guru, the guy sitting on the floor, demonstrated to us how the carpets were made and proceeded to roll out these beautiful creations out of silk and yak wool. Gorgeous. He really did a great job presenting the information. I feel bad for not getting a 3 x 5 carpet for $250… might even get it lower.
But upstairs was a different matter. Beautifully painted art on old pieces of government paper. Very interesting listening to the guy selling them. He is an artist and his whole family for generations are artists. He showed me a large 3 x 3 carving done out of camel bone with a painting in the middle. His grandfather had done this. Anyway, one of the women bought several paintings. The paint is made out of ground up minerals. Gorgeous. As he was focused on selling the paintings, I discovered the one I wanted. OF COURSE it is expensive! I have a good eye. Anyway, I talk with the guy and tell him that I, too am an artist. He nods his head, but I proceed to pull out my art supplies and show him my book of paintings- no where even close to the detailed paintings he does, but hey, I am legit.
So… he and I knock some money off the painting I want… you have got to bargain! And I am the owner of a picture of women bathing.
Which leads him into bringing out Karma Sutra paintings! Oh geesh… I flash back to China and the pirated porno DVDs that the owner thought my friend might be interested in due to her being an exotic foreigner- she was from Mexico.
My face blushes. I squirm at the erotic pictures and tell him that this isn’t the same type of art that the women bathing attracted me to. Thankfully the erotic pictures were slid back into the brown paper bag.
It is time for food. We take a tuk-tuk to McDonald’s for 10 INR (.15) which I negotiated.
McDonald’s is wonderful! I explain to the group that it is safe to eat the food and drink the sodas with ice as the quality has to be on par with US corporate standards and that if they ever got lost they could always go to a US business, like McDonald’s, as they have to have a manager on the premises at all times who speaks English. They were unaware of this.
McDonald’s in India doesn’t offer beef burgers due to religious reasons. You can have chicken or vegie burgers. I went with the Mcveggie which tasted great! Chickpeas and carrots…yum! And of course I had to try out the Popcorn chocolate McFlurry. Mmm.
Now it is time to get a tuk-tuk to go back to the hotel. We hail the tuk-tuk, negotiate the 100 INR (1.50) price and get in. The guy turns around as we start off and smiles, “200!” He yells at me. No! 100 I yell back. He shakes his head and tries the scam I have read about, saying something about the broken meter. I firmly say 100, as I look him directly in the eye. And then tell the woman with me to get out. She does. He panics. He yells”ok! Ok!” And her son says from the other tuk tuk-tuk for mom to get back in as they are leaving and the traffic is honking. So we get back in. And the guy renegades on the deal.
(Take out the negative word that I called the smug guy in my mind)
I chew him out up one end and down the other as he is proceeding to drive even worse than usual. Going out of his way to swerve off the road, get up close to cars just about to hit them. I told him that he was a bad man who betrayed his honor.
He and I went back and forth the entire way much to his and the other driver’s amusement. He even flirted with me. “You are Pakastani… you are hard” he says. No…just a tough, sassy California woman I told him.
The woman from Kentucky, I hope I didn’t scare her with my boldness and mouthy attitude. I know… I know…we are arguing over 1.50…but it was the principal of the matter. And the guy was a very whacky driver. I told him that if he was getting 200, he better make this ride interesting.
He did. The woman with me paid him 200 for the entertainment she told him. He laughed and I looked at him and told him to have a good day. I thought he was going to hug and kiss me!
Karma…it will come back on him.