Today one of the people that has much experience in the matters of India’s culture suggested that if I dressed like Indian men I may be better received in some of the places I was going and therefore may get better pictures of the people. The people may act more genuine and treat me with more respect if I showed respect for the culture by dressing the part, so to speak. When in Rome and all that…
So I said “Let’s go shopping!” I didn’t quite know what I was asking of my driver and guide. Finding a store that carries my size here is not only a challenge, but a half day excursion. It took no less than three people Googleing and calling before we left to determine if we were even headed in the right direction. It was close to an hour by car. If you read my blog post about driving in India from the airport then turn the dial past 10 all the way to 11 and you go from driving at night to driving in the day. My host said: “Driving is no fun if it’s not a challenge!”
Shopping was a whole new adventure. I had been warned that no really means yes in India. When you are being served a meal and your host asks you if you want more and you say “No!” then you are served more food. If your “No!” comes with you holding your hands over your plate if there is the slightest space to get food on your plate between your hands you better believe that “No!” means: “Absolutely, get all the food you can squeeze between my fingers onto that plate.” Shopping is about the same. When you enter a clothing store you are measured. As soon as the clerk determines your shirt size every shirt that is in inventory in the entire store in your size is then presented to you. If you show the slightest interest in any item it is put in a pile. Any items you reject are automatically out in your bag for when you check out. You then go through your “slightest interest” pile slowly narrowing down your final decisions until you have every shirt that the store has in inventory in your size in your checkout bag. Then on to pants. Suffice to say I now have a larger wardrobe in India than I do in Tempe, but I be stylin’.
This doesn’t sound much like the old Erick. He’s dressing up? Being flexible? Going with the flow? Somebody better check me for rabies or whatever you check someone for when something is afoot.
On a side note I did buy my driver, guide, his wife and daughter and myself dinner at McDonald’s for $14.75 (US) as a tremendous thank you for the time they spent taking me on this adventure.