Friday, December 23, 2011

India


You all are probably going to be crossing your fingers for me to get out of Goa so that you can read about monuments and cultures, but… gracious. It's India. What more needs to be said?

Indian women wear sarees that show their stomach, but cover their faces. Men wear turbans or those head-fitting caps or hair. You can see people in traditional clothing everywhere (which is awesome. Most other countries have become westernized and wear jeans and t-shirts.), mostly women. Men usually wear westernized clothes, probably because they have to fit in with the business world and for some reason people don't really take you seriously if you're not in a business suit.

Vendors are everywhere, and they always want to sell you something. The best thing is to give them the silent treatment. They'll still try to sell you mini Taj Mahals and ankle bracelets, but they don't hang around as they would if you pay attention to them.

People with strangely twisted arms and legs are around the train stations, crawling around from place to place. They don't beg (this means I haven't seen them), which is interesting, because people who look well-fed do.

Begging is a job here if you want it to be. It's best not to give people money— they'll just keep going to work. It's a bad idea to pay attention to beggars— if they get a reaction (positive or negative), they'll just keep working. If you really feel bad and give them anything, it should be food.

We actually had an interesting encounter when a man at the train station came up to us as we were eating hard-boiled eggs and sandwiches. He asked for food, and Mom offered him an egg. He shook his head. Mom offered him the sandwich. He shook his head. And then he asked for 10 rupees to go buy food. Obviously he wasn't very hungry.

People seem to be working all the time. When you go into a store, there is sometimes a man whose only job is to take your receipt and rip out a small piece of it. That's all his job entails. BUT… he gets paid for it, and he's not begging on the streets. The downside, of course, is that as the customer you're walking all over the store to pay for your groceries, or to order something.

English movies have subtitles in English and all the kiss scenes are removed. Even in music videos, they'll fix it so that you resee another part of the video during the kiss.

We saw a memorial for a Bollywood movie star who'd died this year in the airport. He was about eighty years old when he died, and had acted in 100+ movies. The thing is that they had this practically everywhere in the airport, with these cool facts about this actor. (And I wish I could remember his name). In America they don't even do this for Steve Jobs!

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