Friday, October 5, 2007

Tuesday, May 20, 1997

I didn’t write yesterday because the lag caught up with me. I went to bed. But, the day went something like this.

Rasheesh came around with the car about 11:00. Jimmy said I could wear shorts over here since its so hot, but I was the only woman in Mumbai showing her legs. I stick out enough being so white. I didn’t need that to contend with, but it was too late.

On the way to the office we stopped buy Anup’s new building. He’s building a flat for himself and his wife. The furniture is being made and the cabinets and woodwork is being put in. It’s a tiny little thing, but it has three bedrooms with each one having it’s own bath. It‘s got marble flooring and a great kitchen. Bob asked me what I thought. He had a weird glint in his eye. I told him I thought it was nice, but I’d seen bigger places back home. The glint in his eye was the price tag. One. Million. Dollars. I was floored.

The offices were just as dirty as everything else I’d seen. I feel like such a snob, but if I had a bucket and soap, I’d have gladly scrubbed the place. We worked there for a couple of hours and then Chuck and I moved to the factory.

The drive out wasn’t as devastating as I thought it would be. There were slums upon slums of people-some were just camped on the side of the road and this is the middle of the city! There were kids running everywhere. At stoplights we would have an old woman begging for food-or a child. They would always point to their mouth. When they saw we where white they would get even more excited. Anup said not to give them anything because they would just take it back to their pimp. People sold stuff at the lights-magazines, garland, strings of fragrant flowers for women to weave in their hair. Some of them had handicaps or limbs missing. We were told this was done intentionally. People would sometimes maim themselves to obtain more value as a beggar.


One little kid kept asking me for chocolate.

Chuck and I saw an Indian family in the car beside us. There were five or six kids in the back seat. They had this long pink stick that they kept poking at us through the window. Their Mom finally took it away from them and gave them a universal chewing. That was fun.

Have I mention the people drive crazy here? Well guess what? Men don’t care where they pee either.

We got to the factory and it was the cleanest building I’d seen yet. It looked like any 'cut and sew' I’d seen in America. It was ungodly hot, but so is a garment factory in mid-July in Arkansas. Did they straighten up because they knew we were coming? I honestly don't think so. Call me naive. We talked UPC’s and packing and headed back to the office after a quick tour. We’ll come back tomorrow and get to work.

We went to China Garden for supper after having China Gate for lunch. We passed by the China Camp and China Valley. Lordy, these people love their Chinese. So far, it all they’ve wanted to feed us.

I’m so glad I’m not driving in this country.

We had something called Paan tonight. It’s a digestive served on a betel leaf. Don’t ask me what’s in it-I’m not sure I want to know. They made two triangles of it and you put it between your cheek and gum or you can chew it. Yeah, kinda like you would Skoal. In fact it had tobacco in it. I’m told what we ate were held together with pear and I could taste coconut and ginger. Whatever else was in it, I got a buzz.


I’m trying to get Anup to teach me to curse in Hindi, but so far I’m getting nothing out of him.

If you’re ever in Bombay-try the Mango ice cream. It’s killer.

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