Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Early Years 2010: Only Four...

 Originally Posted on June 29th, 2010.

Here is a complimentary example of the misinterpretations endured in a foreign country.....

(Note: Many vendors that sell products the old Indian way try to rip off tourists by telling them something costs more than it really does. Nobody has price tags so they can sell it how they want.  I had this problem buying rolling papers from a cigarette vendor.  I asked him how much for a small pack of papers that wouldn't cost more than 50 cents in America.  The guy told me 65 rupees which equals to $1.39 in America. They normally sell for 25 rupees.)

Today I went walking my normal route.  I walked for a good hour and decided on my way back to stop and get a chai from a vendor.  "Chai" is the Hindi word for tea, and I am addicted to it.  Servings of tea come in cup the size of a decent sized shot glass.  This is how people drink their tea, in midget sized amounts.  I can make tea at home but it is a sad excuse for chai.  So with the combined small sized amounts, and the rarity of enjoyment, I crave it daily and get some almost every time I am out.
Some food vendors sell chai out of their booths, but it's not always easy to spot a vendor that sells tea.  There are no signs and no picture descriptions.  I'm walking down the road and craving the pick me up I get with Indian tea, and I see a vendor that has a thermos of tea set on top his counter.  I approach and wait behind others to ask for my chai.  When it is my turn I ask the old man for chai and he turns around to grab the plastic cup he will pour it in.  I ask him how much as I pull out my cash and he says "Twenty-four."  (Chai on average costs 5 rupees for a serving, and 8 at the most in the tourist areas.)  "Twenty-four!" I say.... "I have been here long enough to know that chai doesn't cost 24 rupees."  "Twenty-four," he repeats to me.  He fills the cup and sets it on the counter for me to take, and I continue on telling him that I think he really shouldn't charge me 24 rupees, I know chai doesn't cost that much, and that I'm not coming here again. (All in that sarcastic tone of my Dad's half serious half joking.)  I gather together the rupees anyway and I reach to hand him 30 in 10 and 20 rupee bills. The man behind the counter looks confused and the young guy next to me says, "No, He's saying only four." Oh, it's only four rupees, not twenty four.  I feel like an asshole, and I say, "Well then if it's four rupees, I will come back."  I feel stupid, but I also wonder why he says "only four" instead of "four."  As if he is selling is 1 rupee less advantage.  I apologized though for the misunderstanding and took my tea.  I bought another, these servings are not enough for me. And another day goes by in the craziness of Bangalore.

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