That Time I Woke Up In India: I Start To Crack (8.11.2008)

Yes, it took about a day and a half for me to start writing expletives in my journal. How sad.

I had already spotted out a place in the Lonely Planet guidebook. Then I realized that I was on the opposite side of the circle, and that Connaught Place was far larger than I had imagined. So I decided to go to another place that was on the same block as I was, and was also in the Lonely Planet guide. I wasn’t taking any chances, especially not after the water bottle incident earlier. Plus it was a hot day, so I couldn’t be bothered to walk very far. So I went to the Embassy. That’s the name of the restaurant. It was around then that I started to realize one of the worst things about traveling alone: eating alone. I mean, yesterday’s lunch didn’t count since it was a diner and I ate at the counter, which is perfectly socially acceptable. But this was a respectable restaurant and I was sitting alone at a table set for four. I started to notice the people glancing at me and began to feel very self-conscious. I quickly ordered a banana lassi and some curry with minced lamb patties in a very casual manner, and acted as if I were a busy person eating alone because I couldn’t be bothered with companions at the lunch table out of business. That didn’t work well. I just timidly sipped my lassi and looked around while I waited for my meal. Eating alone really sucked. Finally, my meal came. It was good, but the two patties had exactly one tiny bone in each of them. No more, no less. I figured that was how they prepared the dish, so I didn’t mind. I ate quickly, paid the bill quickly, and exited the restaurant quickly.

I walked around part of the circle, getting harassed by street children in the process. I never give to street children. I’m heartless like that. Yup… So I ignored the street children heartlessly. So, the Nike store did not have any Delhi things, so I wandered a bit until I decided it was too hot to wander any longer. I went back to the car and decided to check out the Cottage Emporium, which according to Mrs. Mun was apparently a great souvenir place where I could see all the crafts of India, or at least the mildly purchasable ones. I told the driver to take me there, so he did drive me to a Cottage Emporium. The salesman person greeted me with smiles and friendliness and showed me around the store. Which didn’t take long, since the store was disappointingly small and most of the items weren’t really of good quality. I mean, it sucked. I told them with the utmost politeness that none of the items interested me. The salesman kept smiling and told me that if money was a problem, he could show me some cheaper products. I politely declined, since money was definitely not the problem. I mean, if I really want something, money is never a problem. Only weight. That’s why I didn’t get the Swarovski pineapple in Vienna. Anyway, the salesman kept on lowering prices, but really, I wasn’t interested. When it was clear to him that I wasn’t swayed by low prices and had no intention of buying even a 150 rupee miniature wooden elephant, he dropped his smile and told me that it was bad luck, walking out of the store empty-handed. Basically, he was threatening me with bad karma. Well, fuck him. I think whatever bad karma he thinks will plague me will jump up and bite him in the ass. I don’t wish it will happen, I know it will.

My mood slightly ruined by this rather unkind farewell, I walked back to the taxi and told the driver to go back to Mr. Mun’s house, since I had left the bulk of my luggage there. As I sat there in the car worrying about bad water, lamb bones, and the salesman’s curse, I noticed a rather large building to my left. I wondered what company owned the building, and as I passed I saw that it was Cottage Emporium. Fuck. That was probably the Cottage Emporium that I was supposed to go to. I silently cursed the driver for taking me to that awful place with that bastard of a salesman. I later learned that there are a gazillion Cottage Emporiums all over India, so it wasn’t really his fault. Or was it? I hope he didn’t take me there on purpose, cause if he did, I swear the next time I go to Delhi… I won’t hire him. And that will be that. I don’t hold grudges, not really. But I am being tried here.

So we went back to Mr. Mun’s house, I picked up my luggage, said goodbye to Mrs. Mun, and left. I’m extremely grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Mun, and I don’t think my India trip would have been quite as smooth without their help. Probably would’ve died trying to walk from the Red Fort to Jama Masjid or something, knowing the idiot that I am. Did I ever talk about the time in Paris me and my friends walked all the way from La Defense to the Arc de Triomphe just because it was visible in a straight line? I don’t know how far it was, but it was phenomenally stupid. My idea, of course.

My train was supposed to leave at 5:30, but the taxi driver insisted on leaving the house at 3:30 because of the traffic. I had seen the cars stalled in traffic, but I didn’t really think that it would take two hours to go a couple kilometers. But then again, I didn’t know Delhi traffic and he did, so I decided he knew best. We arrived at the station at 4:10. Apparently he thought my train was at 4:30. Either that or he knew it was an hour later but he wanted to go home early. Like I said, I probably won’t hire him next time I’m in Delhi. Ah well.

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