Sunday, October 21, 2012

That's not a deer.

So, we saw a dead body in the road last weekend.  We also saw the Taj Mahal. On the road through Agra (where the Taj Mahal is built), there were parts of a person strewn across the road.  Apparently, we'd just missed the actual hit and run because a little further down the road an angry mob was pulling some guy out of a transport truck.  We're only assuming these two events were connected, but the parts were still juicy, so it seems like a good bet.  One of the guys we were with said, "That's not a deer..." in a very confused manner.  I'll spare you any more details beyond juicy.

The Taj Mahal is pretty cool.  Maybe even worth the 8 hour round trip drive.  The building itself is surprisingly small.  It's just one room with two sarcophagi (note: sarcophaguses is also correct) in the middle.  They were walled off, so we couldn't touch them, but we could see them pretty clearly.  Unlike most of the architecture here, the whole building is made from white marble and there are actual gemstones inlaid to make the flower and vine designs.  We're talking rubies and sapphires here.  Oh, and the whole place stunk something fierce from the Yamuna river directly behind it.  Like rancid swamp.  I'm spending a lot of time in this country breathing through my mouth.

We're going to a wedding next week, so I had to go buy a saree this week.  They sent me by myself (I know, the trip was doomed from the start).  That's right, shopping for a potentially very expensive piece of clothing by myself.  I thought Eli and his coworkers had told the driver to take me to this specific place in Sarojini Market.  It turns out that they had told the driver to take me to a very specific place after Sarojini Market.  I didn't know that at the time. I followed the driver through the market to a tiny little saree shop.  It had what looked like a king size bed surrounded by shelving on three sides crammed full of folded sarees in plastic.  There was a second level above us with four full walls of the same shelves.  A one-foot walkway separated the bed from a low padded bench for customers.  When we walked in, there were three guys hanging out on the bed chatting.  One of the guys could speak English apparently because he asked what I was looking for.  I told him I was going to a wedding in a week and I needed a saree.  He asked me what kind and I gave him the deer in the headlights look.  He took pity on me and started pulling random sarees out asking me if I liked them.  After several attempts to tell him I wanted a green or blue one (where he would pull out pink ones), I pointed to my painted nails and said: like that.  Luckily, I'd painted them a shimmery green-blue.  They started pulling silk sarees out, but I wasn't really impressed with any of them.  It was fun having them pull them out of the plastic with a flourish and present them to me Pretty Woman style.  At one point, I looked up at the sarees they had hanging in the front of the shop and saw a pretty white and green one.  I asked him to look at that one and he tried to convince me that it wasn't for me.  It wasn't as expensive as the ones he'd been tossing at me.  As one guy pulled that saree down, he tossed another silk one at me that I actually liked.  Now I had a problem because one of those sarees was at the top of my budget, and I wanted two.  Here's where I lost my mind. I decided to buy both of them, because clearly I wear sarees so often that I need at least two.  Throughout this whole process, I'd seen three other sarees that I liked well enough, but wasn't sure I would buy.  I'd made the mistake of telling this guy that I liked those.  After I'd picked the two sarees I wanted (and three more less expensive sarees as gifts), he started adding stuff to my bags.  I needed blouses for each of the sarees (which were extra) and underskirts (which were extra).  Then I got a look at the bags, and it turns out he'd stuffed every saree I'd said I liked in there as if I was going to buy it.  Even I did not need five expensive sarees.  He had trouble understanding that I was only buying those two.  With all the extra stuff, two sarees for me and three sarees for gifts ended up costing us right around $400.  I was comfortable with the prices because I thought this was a legit guy that Eli's coworkers had sent me to.  Nope.  It was some buddy of our driver who gave him a 10% kickback for taking me there.  See, cray cray.  I'll post pictures of me in one of the sarees at the wedding.

In other non-touristy news,  I've started weight-lifting, so I feel like my arms are going to fall off at any moment.  I was stalking myself on Facebook and looking at pics from Summer 2010.  I had nice arms then. I didn't appreciate them enough at the time.  Now, I'm indignant because there's no reason I should have post-baby floppy arms when I used to have nice toned arms.  Well, I'm fixing that problem right now.  Whether they fall off or they get toned, my arms will look better than the last couple of months. 

I've also been  making progress on my dissertation.  If I'd just stop getting distracted by my floppy arms, I might actually finish it on time.  Also, it's hard to type when every muscle in each arm is on strike.

No pictures today because my phone is in the other room and I'm lazy. 

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