A chronicle of Alison and Ron's trip around the world in 2009-2010.

"Not all those who wander are lost"
- Tolkien

Friday, October 23, 2009

Passing Around a Bad Cold

After the high of Diwali, I awoke the next day feeling horrible with a bad sore throat. It was to be the worst cold I’ve had in years, knocking me out flat for nearly five days, leaving me with a lingering runny nose and cough for two more weeks.

We would watch a dozen movies on HBO (along with a thousand recurring commercials). Somehow they get away with playing commercials on movie channels here and unapologetically even play the same one multiple times in a row. I can now recite the entire Samsung Corby commercial by heart, “I’m with her…she’s with him…he’s with her…they’re all with me…” sung with a lame reverb. When the commercial came on, you could see Ron flying through the air in a double twisting tuck roll onto the bed, tumbling off with the remote in his right hand, thumb pressed firmly to the mute button before the second beat sounded. Apparently bad music can make musicians defy gravity in crazy feats of acrobatics when they are provoked.

We ordered tons of room service. And Mangu, the front desk guy we befriended, was so concerned he called us and then stopped by every day to see if I was okay. It was a sweet thought (starting to verge on stalkerish) but I felt like death warmed over so I would hide in the bathroom or feign sleep. This probably added to the mystery and extent of my illness. After the third day, Ron started to feel ill too. Though not as severe, we layed low for several more days and avoided the streets as best we could.

Once we were both a little better and certifiably stir crazy, we went to an indoor store, called Big Bazaar. Like an Indian Target, we spent hours wandering and browsing as you find yourself doing in places like that. Telling yourself you really need xyz even though it never crossed your mind once until just that second. We stocked up on some necessary supplies: underwear, sunscreen, deodorant and wholly unnecessary ones: pringles, lipstick (and when am I going to where this?), a 6 pack of handkerchiefs (y’know one for each of the six of us).

All the food in India is categorized and advertised as Veg or Non Veg. It’s a moral decision you are forced to make on a daily basis. Are you sure you can have a clear conscience eating meat with delicious, wholesome vegetarian food readily available on every street corner? Do you really want to be known as an evil Non Veg person? You betcha.

With an uninterrupted week of various veg curries from the hotel restaurant we took the walk of shame with our heads held high. We got a recommendation for a restaurant (or open flame on the roadside) called Talk of the Town which served the best tandoori we’ve ever had in our lives. Oh my god! So good and so spicy the red sauce burnt your fingers. Your lips smacking wildly, aflame in a fury of tender chicken goodness. Happily amongst the patrons spilling out on the street, screaming "Viva Non Veg!"

Rewinding the time one hour, we were walking on the side of a busy street on our way to the heavenly tandoori. I see a guy on a motorcycle approaching. He veers across three lanes of traffic and slows down right in front of me. Is he pulling over? I wonder, as he comes closer. I think he may run into me or fall over on me. Is he having a mechanical issue? And then it happens. He reaches out and grabs my left breast, smirks, and then speeds off. I was victim to my very first drive-by boobie grab. It happened so fast, and I was taken so off guard, I didn’t have time to react. But next time, I’ll be ready to deck the guy and steal his bike. I could break one of these skinny Indian guys in half. Go ahead, make my day,….punk.
Apparently grabbing is not all that uncommon here. Now I know why it was a such an important victory in the news recently - women jubilantly rejoicing to finally have a "female only" express train in Mumbai. If this could happen to me openly on a public street, I can't imagine what goes unchecked aboard the crowded trains.


Rocky November 23, 2009 at 12:01 AM  

Your first drive-by Boobie grab?
There pretty common in Oregon.....Since I moved here;-)

There have been visitors to this blog and you are one of them. Thanks and have a beautiful day!