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Stuff [Jun. 17th, 2008|07:23 pm]
[Current Location |Varanasi, India]

A selection of some of the things that have happened to me yesterday and today, complete in their non-grammatical, heavily accented glory.

"Hey man. Where you from?"
"No what?"
"No I don't want to talk right now?"
"Why you no wanna talk?"
"I could tell you, but that would require talking, which I don't want to do."
"Hey! You can talk me! I your best friend!"
"I've never met you before."
"Yeah, but I want help you."
"What about me walking briskly and purposefully in this direction suggests I need help?"
"Why you so mean?"
"Because I've been in this city 20 minutes, and so far I've talked to about ten people, and every person who wants to talk to me has been trying to sell me something, rob me, or beg from me."
"Hey, man. Don't be so bad. Not everyone is same."
"Not everyone, no. But I think maybe everyone in India who approaches me out of the blue might be pretty similar."
"I think you just being mean. I just wanna talk."
"I don't want to talk."
"I just wanna talk. Hey, maybe I say something, I help you."
"Okay, fine. Let's talk."
"You want buy cheap hashish?"
"F**k you."
And he walked away.


I had been in the rickshaw for about a half hour when I realized two things. First, that my hotel should have only been ten minutes away from the starting point. And second, I was pretty sure we were going in circles. "Hey," I told the rickshaw driver. "I think we're going in circles."
"Yeah," he responded. "I no know your hotel. Hotel Buddha, I never hear this hotel before."
"Okaaaay..." I said. "But a half hour ago, when I asked you if you could take me to Hotel Buddha, you said yes. And when I tried to bargain you down to 20 rupees, you said it was a really long way on hard roads, and demanded 30. I guess both of those things might have...ah, misled me to think you knew where the hotel was?"
"Sorry, man, I no know."
"Okay. Then why don't you let me off here, so I can find someone who does know."
"Okay. That is 30 rupees."
"Um, I'm not going to pay you, because not only did you not take me to my hotel, but you took me in circles for a half hour for no reason."
"Yes, and that's very nice, but the payment wasn't for the driving, per se, it was for the getting there."
"All right, good bye now, I'm going to find another rickshaw driver."
"Hey! No other rickshaw! I take you! Only 30 rupees."


"Hey, nice shirt."
"No! Go away!"
"I just said, hey, nice shirt."
"Oh, yeah, sorry. Sort of a reflex."
"What country are you from?"
"I'm sorry, I can't answer that question because I've been asked it over twenty times today, and it's always been a prelude to an attempt to scam me."
"Oh, no. I am an English student. I just want to practice English."
"Okay, I'm from the US."
"Ah, you visiting India for the first time?"
"There's a really nice temple right near here. I'll show it to you."
"I'm sorry, I can't give you any money."
"That's okay, I just want to show you the temple."
"I really don't want to see it."
"Come on, very nice temple. You can't come all the way here and not see the best temple. Very bad."
"Riiiight. Well, if it will make you happy, okay, where's this temple?"
"Here it is. The temple of Mahanta."
"Oh. It's very nice."
"Let me show you my school."
"Um, it's really hot and I have to go now."
"What? You will see the famous temple, but you don't want to see my school? Come on, man, you owe me, I showed you the temple. School is very close."
"Right. Fine. Where's the school?"
"Right here. Let me show you. Ah, this is my teacher."
"Hello sir, my friend. How do you do?"
"I'm okay. This kid here just wanted to show me his school. I really have to go now."
"Wait. This school needs more money. Please give us 500 rupees."
"Um, I already told the kid I wasn't giving him any money."
"You come from very rich country. This school has nothing. Please give us five hundred rupees."
"You're blocking the door."
"I know. Please give this school five hundred rupees. We give good education."
"I'm not entirely convinced this is a real school. For example, there's a goat over there in that room. What kind of school has a goat in the room."
"School needs money! Please give five hundred rupees! Five hundred rupees, then you can go."

Yeah. I lost five hundred rupees. And then the kid followed me back to my hotel and kept pestering me until I gave him five hundred more rupees so he could buy a Hindi-English dictionary to study by.


Looking for "Glorious Services", a company that deals with credit cards and might be able to help with my ATM card problem. It's not easy to find, and it's in a part of the city where you have to painstakingly wade through piles of garbage to get anywhere. A man comes up to me and says "Oh. You're going the wrong way. It's that way."
"That would be convincing," I said, "if I had told you what I wanted."
"You want marijuana!"
"Uh, actually, no. I was just looking for the credit card place. Please go away."
A man, clearly some sort of beggar in tattered clothes, comes up to me. "You want credit card company? I show you where it is."
"Riiiiight," I say. "You know where it is because you have to deal with credit card problems so often."
"I know where it is! I show you!"
Well, I didn't want to wade through any more garbage than I had to, so I decided to follow him. After about five minutes, I realized first that we were going in the opposite direction to the one recommended by my guidebook, and second that we were going into ever darker and more isolated alleys. I also remembered a guy at the hotel the other day saying that when people offer to guide you anywhere, they are quite likely trying to lead you somewhere secluded so they can rob you.
"Um, actually, I can find it myself thanks for your help byyeeeeeeeee."


"Hello. I am Ganaj."
"No! Go away!"
"No, you don't understand. I am GANAJ."
"Um, you look very impressive, with that long beard and everything."
"Yes. I am Ganaj. I will read your past lives."
"Uh, no thank you."
"I will prophecy your future. Bring you great romance."
"Um, no thanks."
"What? Do you not believe in the power of Ganaj?"
"I guess maybe I don't."


"Hey. This little statuette thing. It looks interesting. How much is it?"
"No. You tell me price. I take your price."
"Um, I don't really know how much something like this should cost. Why don't you tell me?"
"No, you choose price."
"Like, any price?"
"Um, if I tell you a price, you're going to say it's too low, and then quote me something much higher. I'd much rather you just told me the price beforehand"
"No. Your price."
"Okay. I'll give you thirty rupees."
"Okay, okay. So now we're back to the beginning. Please just tell me your price."
"I give you statuette for five hundred rupees."
"Oh, okay. Sorry, that's too much."
"Okay, four hundred."
"Three hundred."
"Look. I don't want to be here all day, and I don't want to get cheated. So please, just tell me the final price - the price that gives you a bit of profit but isn't outrageous - and I'll tell you if I can accept that."
"Okay, good idea. Final price is three hundred rupee."
"Okay, that's too much, but thanks for telling me the..."
"Two hundred!"
"You just said the final price was three hundr..."
"One hundred!"
"Look, I don't think you're getting this. I'm going to leave."
"Okay! Okay! Your price okay! Thirty rupee okay! I give you for thirty rupee!"
"Right now I would not take that stupid statuette if you GAVE it to me."
"Ten rupee! Five rupee! COME BAAAAAAAAACCCKKKK..."


"Hey, you want to..."
"No! Go away!"
"Hey, you mean. Let me finish."
"Hey, you want to see dead body?"
"Hey, okay man."


"Hey, you want..."
"No, go away!"
"Listen to me! You want leaf from Bodhi tree? One hundred rupee."
"Hmm, that's actually kinda cool. Okay. But I only have a five hundred rupee bill. Can you give me change?"
"Yeah, sure."
"Here you go."
"Hey, about that change?"
"What change?"
"I gave you five hundred rupees for a one hundred rupee leaf. I want four hundred rupees change."
"I no have four hundred rupees."
"But you just said..."
"Here! I like you. So for five hundred rupees, I give you five Bodhi leaves."
"I only need one Bodhi leaf. I want four hundred rupees change."
"Five Bodhi leaves. Here you go."
"Sigh. Well, at least I did end up getting five hundred rupees worth of stuff."
"Bodhi leaves! Get your bodhi leaves! Only twenty rupees!"
"HEY! You just charged me one hundred!"
"You are foreigner."


"Hey. Statue of the Buddha, only fifty rupees."
"Sorry, kid, you're really cute, but first of all, I don't need one, and second of all, you're a six year old kid and really shouldn't be out here on the street selling stuff."
"Forty rupees."
"Price isn't the issue."
"Thirty rupees."
"Twenty rupees."
The kid cried for about two minutes while grabbing my arm so I couldn't get away from him. He was, to use an American idiom, bawling his eyes out.
"Look, I'm really sorry, but crying isn't going to change my mind."
Soon as I said that, he stopped instantly. "Okay. Ten rupees."


"Hey! I remember you! I ask you about dead body before, you get all mad and yell at me. You are bad man! HEY EVERYONE! THIS IS BAD MAN!"


[User Picture]From: ice_hesitant
2008-06-17 02:23 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: monolith94
2008-06-17 04:33 pm (UTC)
Hahaha so much for my dreams of traveling India.
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[User Picture]From: mercureal
2008-06-17 05:36 pm (UTC)
i'm sorry you got swindled. reading these made me kind of extremely angry.

for the record though, check out southeastern united states backwater schools for goats supreme.
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[User Picture]From: sir_ophiuchus
2008-06-18 02:36 am (UTC)
I feel like a bad man for laughing at these so much.

Still, it is a brilliant insight into this side of the culture.
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[User Picture]From: pentacruz
2008-06-18 02:39 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: yahalomay
2008-06-18 03:53 am (UTC)
I got stressed out just reading that! Have a nice warm drink of something non-alcoholic. It's soothing. =)
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[User Picture]From: baddevil
2008-06-18 07:55 am (UTC)
Yeah.. I should have warned you.. My dad went to India a while back... He avoided much of this...
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[User Picture]From: squid314
2008-06-18 08:01 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: mercureal
2008-06-18 09:27 pm (UTC)
not reacting after the "NO!" i would wager.
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[User Picture]From: pentacruz
2008-06-18 10:10 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: mercureal
2008-06-18 10:12 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: xuenay
2012-09-11 06:21 pm (UTC)
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