There are herds of water buffalo that roam around my campus eating stuff. Water buffalo are domesticated, so I knew they weren’t wild, but they could’ve been feral I guess, but I’d heard that they were owned by the university and that they do get milk from them? Although I don’t see how that’s practical… but today I saw a man herding some of them! There were 5 water buffalo trotting along the road to the campus school and a man on a motorcycle was putzing along behind them yelling stuff every once in a while. Huh.
Yesterday I went in a bike bus-truck. My friend Connor and I had gone down to ShopCom (Shopping Complex, where there are a few food shops, an ATM, a shoemaker and a tailor and a travel agency) to get some tickets for our trip up north to a National Park at the beginning of next month, and there was a huge blue bus-truck parked at ShopCom! So we went inside. It had bookshelves on all sides and one running down the middle too, so there was barely room to walk even one person along down the aisle let alone two. And the books were certainly interesting, I could’ve bought a book on the biology of pineapple fiber had I been so inclined… Connor commented that it reminded him of the scholastic book fair. I passed by again in early evening and the bus was gone… disappeared back to wherever book bus-trucks live…
A week or so ago I had to go and make some copies (of maps of campus for my independent study) and the sheets were too big to copy on campus so I ventured out to Gachibowli crossing (a 20 minute bus ride from campus) to look for a certain copy shop. It was going to take an hour to get the copies so we (Lisa and Kevin accompanied me) went to look for fire works (Kevin wanted fire works…). That was interesting. He ended up buying this one because I insisted, it has the Enterprise on it for goodness sake!!!!
Then we crossed the street (by street I mean The Old Mumbai Highway, which is three lanes each way and goes from here all the way to Mumbai, 700 or so KM away. It’s the street my school is on. It’s the old highway because, well they built a new one.. uh..).. anyways we crossed the highway because me and Lisa had spotted a stationery store… and we both have a strong weakness in that department…
It turned out to be quite a fun store with loads of useful things that we may of may not have actually needed to buy… But waiting in line up at the register I was looking at the knives they had in the display case. I forgot to bring my pocket knife with me to India and they are just so useful to have around and there was a pretty nice Swiss Army knife in the display case so I asked to see it. It cost about 25 USD, which is probably less than it would’ve been in the states anyways, but it just seemed like so much to me since everything else is so cheap here! So I asked the cashier, is it possible to get a discount…? She said no, and I said, oooh but it’s soo expensive! And she said hold on, and called the manager. He came out 5 minutes later and asked what I needed and I said I wanted to know if it was possible to get a discount on the knife. He said, “You are from where?” “United States”. “And how long have you lived in India” “Two months now” I said. “Ahh and you have already learned the Indian way!” The Indian way is indeed to ask for a discount on everything (but I picked up some of that skill living in Ecuador too!) He said that no, it was not possible to give me a discount, but that he would give me a 5% discount.
I left the store pretty smug. 5% is not a lot, but it’s a lot when you “can’t” be given a discount! And I took that as a compliment that he was so surprised that I would be asking for a discount, learning the Indian way, yup.
And how long have I been in India? It will be 9 weeks on Monday 😉 .