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My first local outfit. Pre-made.

My first local outfit. Pre-made.

I stick out like a sore thumb here. A REALLY sore thumb. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen a non-Indian person (male or female) since we’ve arrived, so there’s a bit of a rush on getting some local clothes made. We walk on the side of the road here, in traffic. I’m worried that all the rubbernecking to see the white girl might cause an accident! I plan to have some better quality clothes made as soon as I find a “Ladies Tailor,” but until then I bought some ready-made stuff at a local mall.

I made a new friend at the local crafts market today. Zubi (short for Zubair) runs a shawl shop and speaks English excellently. He first wandered over to another stall and helped me navigate some inquiries, the led me to his stall and proceeded to talk my ear off for quite a while about every type of shawl known to man. and beast. He sent a neighboring artist to run and buy me a tiny cup of chai while we dickered. I ended up buying a few things from him, for myself and as gifts. Then he proceeded to guide me to the best stalls (or maybe his friends?) for a few other things I wanted to browse. Zubi chatted up the vendors, got them to come down in price, and served as my interpreter when I had questions about different items. I may or may not have been swindled on price and quality of the Kashmir shawls, but I’m chalking the whole thing up to a lovely Indian experience.

My new friend Zubi who may or may not have swindled me.

My new friend Zubi who may or may not have swindled me.

I walked 3km to the Shilparamam market today. One sign said it opened at 10:30. When I arrived after 11, artists were just setting up, so I walked further in to the tribal museum and sculpture garden. Apparently, this is the hot date spot because I only saw couples in every nook and cranny of pseudo private space…including next to Gulliver’s neck in the Gulliver’s Travels life-size painted rendition. Bypassing his tied-down feet, I walked up a rickety flight of stairs to the top of a large boulder. Around every corner of this section I saw camo-ed, stone army men pointing guns willy-nilly. Odd.

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Auspicious sign to see a peacock

Auspicious sign to see a peacock

When Cheng and I were picked up from the airport at 5:30am the skies were just beginning to lighten. My new friend Ankita pointed out a peacock perched high on top of a boulder pile alongside the road. I remembered reading in my “India culture” guide that seeing a peacock is very lucky, but hearing one is unlucky. Perhaps it was an omen for a great vacation? After finding my first ever 4-leaf clover in my yard before we left, I’m starting to believe luck is a thing 😉 Especially since I always though they were just a myth. This statue reminded me of that sleep-deprived memory.


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  1. The start of this post reminds me of Shantaram. Please don’t join the Indian mob.

    • Wow, that book description sounds crazy! No worries, I’m not planning anything wacky.

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  1. […] local host, Bilal (Zubi’s brother, whom I befriended at Shilparamam,) and his cousin Rumi picked us up from the airport and showed us around their lovely city. Later […]

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