Today I lied, a lot. Likely not as much as our former PM but it was for the same reason, survival.
Hark back to the last post and the image of the woman working with the fish, I said I don’t know her story. I do now. He name is “Sally” and she is one member of a group of 5 very persistent young women who wanted to give me a henna tattoo and sell me some jewellery.
I wasn’t particularly harassed by them and was enjoying the banter. When they told me their names were Sally, Amy and Nikita I was having none of that and laughing demanded their real names. Not to be outdone, variously I was from Australia, Britain or Japan and my name was Bruce, James or Tomato. I managed to avoid a tattoo by saying my wife would love one but she is asleep. But they were persistent and I had to “promise” with a handshake to not talk to any of the other girls (despite them working together) and when I said “no promise” and shook there was much laughter and the claim that by shaking hands I had promised.
There was a temptation to take their photo as they were gorgeous and had great energy, but these women were skilled and persistent and it would have cost me a small fortune no doubt.
I made it very clear that I wasn’t going to buy anything but we were all laughing so they hung around me for a while. Perhaps they were still hopeful, perhaps they were enjoying the game.
I saw them make quite a few sales and watched them apply some tattoos and as I was leaving the beach I bumped into them also leaving, “Did you sell much?” I asked “nothing” was the reply :o)
The beach at sunset is an event that makes it worthwhile for the girls to work the crowd. It is the off season but still hundreds of people gather to take selfies as the sun sets.
I was trying to put my finger on what was odd. Was it that, according to someone I spoke to, swimming is forbidden? Paddling is fine but that wasn’t what was niggling me. Then I realised that it looked like a scene from a 1900’s beach. Even in the water women were all fully clothed, men mostly wore a singlet and long pants. Hardly anyone was showing any skin.
There was no sun worshipping, sitting on a towel, just relaxing or anything like that. Everyone was standing, or if they were in the water, sitting in the shallows. They seemed to be having fun, but it was vastly removed from the Aussie beach experience.
A few days ago, when we stopped for tea on the ferry trip, there was a bunch of men standing around watching 4 guys playing what looked like gin rummy. They all said hello and I thought it was time for a bit of risky fun. I took this photo of one guy’s hand and then went and showed the photo to one of the other players.
When they realised what I was up to they all laughed hard, except the cards holder, he was puzzled, but ended up laughing. I hope it wasn’t the state championship or something, why else would 10 blokes be watching 4 others play cards?
Coming up to 2 weeks here I though I would share some lessons learned.
- I brought one pair of shoes too many. I brought one pair of shoes. Sandals are more than enough.
- Despite dire warnings, I didn’t need the UV water purifier. Filtered water is available everywhere for about 40c a litre, this is because most Indians won’t drink the tap water either. Just a shame it is all in plastic bottles.
- Google maps is the best thing on the internet after porn. I have a local SIM and hardly use the phone, but those maps are fantastic.
- Allow plenty of time for everything. This is a holiday so I refuse to be in a hurry, but I allow 2 hours for something I expect to take 30 minutes e.g. get to the train station
- In addition to saying “yes” saying “hello” is good too. It leads to unexpected surprises.
- Your data management strategy (photos) will be modified as you go. It will be painful, it still may not be ideal.
- Tablets are good for consuming content, e.g reading emails or viewing web pages, but are pretty horrible if you want to create content or run a business.
- You won’t have all the electronic connectors and bits you need e.g. a USB card reader to upload photos, just buy them.
- Maybe it’s just me and is likely too much information, but you really don’t need to bring your own toilet paper. If most of the world can live without, so can you. There is a well established system already in place.
And of course, what would an Indian beach be without cricket.