Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Moving on up

I just got back from the train station with my ticket to Kolkata in my hands - yeah! I made peace with the beach at Puri. By enjoying it from my hotel balcony it was beautiful and I couldn't see any is quite a large fleet of fishing boats that cruise past the hotel in the morning and evening - it is fun to watch them as the sun rises & sets.

I spent quite a bit of time last night cruising Marine Drive (where all the Indian tourists hang out and stay in Hotels). It was a very interesting comparison between that and Western tourist areas. The shop keepers/vendors here are super chill and don't hassle anyone. I was able to walk by stores and look at what they had on offer in peace - something that would not happen in Goa for example. No one was begging - at least I have yet to meet anyone doing that in several trips there. Except for the ridiculous traffic and cleanliness, it reminded me of a busy day in Banff - okay that might be a stretch, but you know what I mean.

I think the shop keepers in other parts of India are missing the boat - I know I would have spent way more money by this point if I was able to shop in peace and browse without having to deal with a super aggressive salesman on me the second I show the slightest interest in anything. On many occasions I saw stuff that I might want, but then I figured I don't want to get into a hassle for something I may not really want. So I only ended up buying things when I was absolutely sure I wanted them - so they lost out on all the possible impulse purchases - which for me could be a!

I am leaving Puri Friday night so I only have two days left here. Not much of an issue since I am not actually doing a whole lot. After breakfast at the hotel I usually walk into town to use the internet for a while and then have lunch - followed by a well deserved nap and then some reading until dinner and then more reading until too exciting, but I am spending loads of time with my Dad - even if we don't actually speak to one in the same room is pretty good for us.

I forgot to mention that Gabriel Marquez's book Love in the Time of Cholera was excellent! I have managed to read 4 books since I have arrived in Puri and will probably polish off another 2 before I go. The book store owner is quite impressed with my reading speed. Now if only there was a way to make a ton of cash reading novels I would be all over it!

I had to laugh last night I was the only person eating in a small restaurant. I had 8 staff waiting on me in the dining room and that did not include the staff in the kitchen. Everyone had a job and would not do anything else. I couldn't finish everything and I asked to have the rest packed up. The 7 guys in the dining room said no problem, but the packing up guy had to go out so it would be a few then they sat down and started talking and playing cards until he returned. There was the big boss who did nothing, the door greeter, the guy who gives you a menu, the guy who takes your order and yells it at another guy who actually goes in the kitchen to yell it at them, the kid who runs out to get you a Sprite, the guy who turns on the fan when you say it is hot and the guy who packs up your must have a wicked union! Oh ya and my whole meal including appetizers, main course and a soda was Rs. 45 or about $1USD - yet I have been the lone diner in so many places like that and they seem to do okay - go figure????

I walk most of the time just to get some exercise, but last night I decided to take a bicycle rickshaw back to the hotel - wow do those guys work hard - especially up hill as they have no gears and can't shift down! I don't mind paying 200% the going rate to those guys - they earn it for sure.

I have been doing all my own laundry in my sink or in the shower as necessary. I knew my clothes were not sparkling clean, but they weren't super dirty and more importantly they did not smell! Well when I got to Puri my dad had some laundry detergent from home which I used - I had been using my bio-degradable body wash to do my clothes as well. Wow - I was quite shocked to see the water turn dark brown when I was my first two the time I was done it was virtually chocolate brown. I had to rinse everything twice to get the water semi-clean. Since I only have two shirts and two pairs of pants I wash something virtually everyday and after two detergent washes things are finally reasonably clean. My next trip like this I will definitely pack a bit of real detergent with me!

For you hockey fans I have been asking around and Indians generally are not bothered by the NHL am I frankly...multi-millionaire players fighting with multi-millionaire owners for how they split up the millions they make from pushing a black rubber puck around the ice???....sorry no sympathy at all!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

We miss you Vik! Thanks for the updates :)

Lair's birthday is Feb 22. Last year WE were in India for his birthday - now YOU'RE there!

We are having a party at the house this weekend - it'll be a shaker, wish you could be here with us!



PS - I have a cute little tummy, we're half way there!

February 18, 2005 at 2:53 PM  
Blogger Vik said...

Hey Melanie,

Give Lair a big hug for me and wish him a happy b-day!

I am glad everything is going so well for you guys - I am keeping my fingers crossed and sending jelly been lot's of good vibes!



February 21, 2005 at 5:18 AM  

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