22. November 2002 12:30
Another day, another McDonalds
I'm feeling better today...
well I was till I had McDonalds for lunch. Mind you, the McD's
here are different from home in many ways. 1) they are sparkling
clean even when they are packed to capacity (which seems like
all the time). 2) McD's goes from the place with the food
you are scared of at home, to the place where you know what
you are getting and view it as the safest thing in the neighbourhood.
3) there is not one beef burger (or pretend soy/beef mix like
home). There are 4 different types of veggie burgers (one
called Veggie surprise which scares me), and 4 different types
of Chicken Burgers (one called the Chicken Maharajah Mac),
along with various other veggie dishes. I rather like it.
Plus, their veggie burger is FAR supreme to the evil that
is done in North American McDonalds.
You know, I don't even know
what I've told you and what I haven't. I know I told you about
the fact that there really aren't any rules for staying in
lanes and right of way here for vehicles, except for the biggest
car has the right away. I was just becoming accustomed to
this rule and thought I had it down pat and was fine with
the near misses. Then we went on out taxi tour to Jaipur.
See, I had only become accustomed to it when there were at
least 4 lanes in total (2 in each direction min). I hadn't
processed the theory of driving when it was applied to a 2
lane highway until our driver went into the oncoming lane
and calmly ran a guy on a motorcycle off the road. But the
guy on the motorcycle didn't mind. He just drove onto the
'shoulder' and kept going. We (and other cars) did the same
thing to a smaller car, which again, just swerved off the
road to miss us.
I was prying my nails out of the arm rest, and thinking "ok...
so... the rule of the bigger car has the right of way applies
to both sides of the road in this situation and the other
car has to go off the road ... *FREEZE* and... that would
mean... that the huge truck headed straight for us has the
right of way".
There's something wrong when you get to the point where you
see a motorcycle headed straight for you and you have a sense
of relief "Whew! It's only a motorcycle". It got
even scarier when we passed some wrecks. One had a van completely
demolished and a truck that had ploughed into the brick wall
of a bridge and was dangling dangerously over the edge.
Did I mention that large monkeys jumped ON our car?
I mailed out postcards today. Well, I THINK it was a mailbox.
We'll find out, won't we?
Family transport includes scooters and little motorbikes.
Saw an entire family of 5 on one of them (did I tell you this
already?) Dad was driving with a son on his lap, mom sat behind
him with a son between her and dad, and in her arm to the
side was a toddler. Ta da. Circus India.
People here can't afford more than one helmet for their cycle,
so they take a hard hat and apply a chin strap to it. I want
to scream out "It won't save you! You've been lied too!
Your life is in danger!".
I've decided that Madam means Money in India, because I always
hear "Hello Madam. Come in here Madam. Look at this Madam."
Ok. The story about the driver deserting us. We'd had an exceptionally
hard time with hundred of touts trying to sell us everything
from tours on rickshaws to film. The beggars at this site
we were at were numerous; in fact, this is where the one child
grabbed my pant leg. I, surprisingly, was still taking it
all in stride. Meanwhile, Penny was about to snap. We were
headed to the car in the parking lot when we realized that
our driver was gone and the car was gone, with our packs in
it. We're looking around and another driver comes over (3
of them, actually) to tell us in broken English that something
was wrong with the car and he will be back in 10 minutes.
So we sit on the brick wall in the hot sun away from the shaded
area (that's where all the drivers and such were and there
was no way we'd sit there despite the invitations). And I
am totally Zen. I have no sense that this guy has taken off.
It just didn't feel right. He'll be back. Penny on the other
hand wasn't so optimistic, and started to speak in short bursts
in an octave I've never heard her reach before. I tried to
calm her down and reassure her, and pointed out that we had
money, airline tickets, cameras, passports, all that... but
there was no use. And I could feel HER panic crawling up MY
spine, so I just said one last soothing thing and went quiet.
Back to Zen.
Meanwhile, we played celebrity while a family of about 8 took
turns having their picture taken with the stranded, sweaty
white girls. Raju, the man who seemed to be the head of this
group, invited us to dinner at his house. Penny, funny enough,
was not up to going *grin*. Our driver did turn up 20 minutes
later and all was well.
Sending this and will send a second one in a moment
McD's part 2
travelogue is part of the subside