Thursday, 12 March 2009

Hey Man, cool goggle!

The Indians are such complimentary people. Even if the translation doesn't always come about accurately, I still know my sunnies are cool. They're also very inquisitive. It doesn't alter from state to state, but their questions and knowledge do. In the south of India the conversation usually goes:
LOCAL: Hey man, cool goggle.
ME: Thanks. How are you?
LOCAL: Please (with a nod).
('Please'? What does that mean in this context?!?!?)
LOCAL: What is Nationalit'?
ME: Australian.
LOCAL: Ahhh, Ricky Ponting!
At which stage I am bombarded by questions about a sport I don't often watch and am forced to justify the Australian team's poor performance at each individual game from the last 16 years.

In the north they seem to be a little more knowledgeable about random facts. My favourite conversation in the north went like so:
LOCAL: Where is your country?
ME: Australia
LOCAL: Ah, you have broken Ozone Layer.
Well, yes. I guess we do.

It seems that everyone in India is willing to help you. But the difficult part of Indian travel is determining who is genuinely helpful and who is trying to sell you something or scam money from you in some way or another. It's not unusual for someone to tell you something is closed and suggest their cousin's alternative at "a very cheap price"... It has gone as far as someone in Delhi pushing Deneil backwards to say this part of the train station is closed and to go around the other way (where we would be ambushed with offers to buy some junk we don't need). Luckily Deneil had been there before and knew exactly where she was going so she vocally told him where to go. I was feeling a little less tactful and a little more violent after that.

Unfortunately we can't continue our travels with the idea that everyone is trying to screw us. So many people are genuinely helpful and so down to earth. They just want to smile and know where you're from in return for a local (and accurate) tip on where to go for some good cheap food or how to get to the train station. The people are yet another contrast in such a varied country.

A couple of Tibetan kids Deneil took a photo of the other day.

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