Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bazaars of Chandigarh

On February 15th Pavan had a shopping day. We hung out with our hosts then headed for some market/bazaar/maze complexes.

Shopping is not one of Rods great passions so him and Nonie took off to find other entertainment in the market. First up was bag replacement as Rod's day pack had developed a hole near the base of one shoulder strap. After considerable negotiation and refusal of a great deal of inferior merchandise a "Cherry Mounatin" bag was procured. Engrish is apparently wide-spread :)

Next up was procurement of a large bag of some kind to bring stuff back from India in. Tons of luggage was available but quality was low and our hosts deemed prices a bit high. Eventually we found a chap selling a giant duffel bag across from another chap offering the exact same giant black duffel bag. As we negotiated with merchant #1 his price lowered to around 600 INR ($13ish). Merchant #2 then entered the fray with an offer of 400 INR, which we ultimately accepted, much to the disgust of merchant #1. This wrapped up male shopping responsibility for the day; unfortunately it wrapped them up much before the woman had completed their shopping goals.

After wandering around a bit more the novelty of the bazaar grew thin so Nonie suggested video games. This was of course approved of.

After a quick trek through the maze Rod and Nonie proceeded through the back of a seemingly innocuous snack store along a narrow a narrow passage into the gaming area.

Nonie lurks in the games room

Seated in lawn chairs, controllers in hand, Rod and Nonie where able to survive the shopping period in style and comfort. 

In the evening much good food and conversation was had. And not photographed.

On the 16th we headed out to get some things to bring back. One can't buy a giant black duffel and not fill it!

First up we grabbed some Taj Mahal tea. This is what "real Indians drink" according to numerous people we had consulted on the matter. We purchased tea and some other items (spices, etc) at a store Gurinder (our hostess) recommended. It may be a most popular tea but that doesn't mean it has to be easy to get off the shelf.

After buying tea Rod abruptly announced it to be snack time and set off with great enthusiasm for a fresh juice bar. Along the way a small, dirty, waif accosted us. We ignored her, she followed. Surprised at the failure of this normally effective tactic we fell into known ineffective tactics: shooing away, etc. Finally Gurinder suggested she leave us alone in Punjabi. The girl responded with a stream of vitriol whose effect was scarcely diminished by the inability to understand most of it. She then stormed off. Gurinder assures us that she was a most impressively skilled user of Punjabi curse-words. Luckily not even a vicious Punjabi cursing can quash the joys of super-cheap fresh squeezed juice.

Pavan & Gurinder

Next some anklet shopping. Then some shawl shopping and the ever entertaining procedure of a gentlemen sitting on a bench showing you items, hurling aside ones you dismiss, pulling dozens of similar items from the shelf every time even mild enthusiasm is shown, and generally creating an extensive mess.

It buoyed our confidence somewhat that several of the patterns we purchased in the store we later witnessed being worn by real people out and about on real business in real streets wearing real shoes. More shopping ensued and gradually the amount of bags to drag around began to seem significant.

By this time it was getting deep into the afternoon and we needed to bring anklets, shawls, Indian pots, and other merchandise home so we hired a non-auto-rickshaw and set the town gossips on fire with our scandalous arrangement. Older people gawked, younger people smiled.

1 comment:

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