Men and women hold hands with the same sex here. I like this. Not in a red and pink equality sign on facebook kind of like (which I do like, but that’s not what we’re talking about here). It isn’t a sign about a relationship or a soulful caress. It’s kind of a lazy, nonchalant, “let me hold your wrist for awhile, friend” thing. When it’s really hot it seems that it is easier to hold hands so that one can plod along the street without worry of locating your friend. Young men will even be holding hands with each other while hitting on chicks. We live in a very distant culture, very little touching and signs of affection, it’s nice to see a different approach. I like that friends hold hands here well into adulthood.
I also like getting scammed. Not kidding, I like it. Of course I hated it at first, but it is actually really funny at this point. I went to a fruit cart to buy some bananas and oranges and the vendor asked if I want grapes. I am on a strict foods-with-skin-I can-peel diet, so no grapes. I told him no grapes and he put them on the scale. I said “no, no! No Grapes” and motioned for him to take them off he bagged them up saying “you take grapes” and charged me far more than he would a local. I have since purchased a lot more fruit for half the price and I only got the fruit I wanted in other cases. That might sound like a shitty story, but it was really funny, even at the time. I’m seriously glad it happened because it’s pretty awesome/terrible that we both know the score and that he’s so willing to be an ass. These are the best stories to share with other travelers as well. One English “chap” I met told me about a carpet that he purchased thinking he was getting a good deal on, but ultimately he got WORKED over. Now, he’s stuck with a really heavy carpet that he can’t afford to ship home and doesn’t really have room in his luggage for it. It’s sitting in his room glaring at him as a reminder that he let his guard down. We were both laughing hysterically at this story. I’m not being sarcastic, I like that these shitty things are a daily occurrence. Of course there are many encounter with kind and helpful people, but it’s these kinds if stories that stick out.
I bought a SIM card from a friend of my driver in Jaipur, nothing any problem, and they both assured me that the SIM card would work anywhere in India and with any phone, they can put it in my iPhone if I want. -You’re not touching my goddam iPhone- I brought an old phone from the states we can use, “it works in Blackberry. It is activated tomorrow.”
Two days later, “It won’t work with this phone. I put it in iPhone”
Hell. No. The iPhone is off limits.
“You have to buy a phone in New Delhi then, the SIM card is working though.”
I get to New Delhi, buy a phone (for more than I should spend) aaaaaand, the SIM card only works in Rajasthan, which I will not be returning to.
I responded to the whole thing with a long, hearty laugh. Got me again. Still no phone to this date.
I also like chai. Yes, I will have a chai masala from your dirty street cart, thank you.
I like that I survived my first Indian train ride (no more driver “ok miss, what about my tip now?” “I’ll miss you too…”)
When I notice them, I like the animals. If you’re into animals, this place would be amazing. It seriously doesn’t really phase me anymore to see a camel, elephant, monkey, pig fighting with a dog, cow in traffic and on the gypsy hike I saw some sort of horse-pig (I don’t know what it is, animals are not my thing). I only care if it is an animal that wants to kill me; in which case, I will take note of it and go out of my way to avoid it. Also, I’m always surprised to see a cat. I probably have more cat pictures than anything else because I don’t see them very often and I picture them not taking guff from a-hole fruit vendors so I snap a picture whenever I can. I go back and delete them because I’m already walking a fine line between “free spirit” and “cat lady spinster.” While walking down the street, another tourist brought the majesty of the fact that the cows freely roam in the streets here to light for me again. I had noticed the cow, but my instinct was to wish that I had the means to honk at him so he stays in check and doesn’t eff with me. It was a fantastic moment coming back to the realization that this isn’t normal; that we are in a fantastic world where the cows control of the roads and traffic zips past without hesitation.
I like that Indians appear to be just as bad as I am at spelling the word “restaurant.”
I don’t like the ketchup. They keep giving me ketchup in hotels and touristy places because they think that’s what I will like; “English Curry” as I call it because the brits love that shit. They gave me a whole bowl of ketchup with a sandwich the other day. Just for the sake of blogger-reader interaction; go to your kitchen and pour about a cup of ketchup into a bowl, take nice long smell and imagine yourself here with me. Terrible, no?
Now look at these pictures and come back to the things I like about India.