Tuesday, January 04, 2011
We didn’t seem to have too much jet lag and got up at a reasonable hour to show up for breakfast. We were informed we’d all be going for a day of beauty so split up as always…gents this way, ladies that way. They gave me a shave (both face and dome) and when I looked later noticed it cost about $4. I once paid $50 for a Royal Shave in Vegas and as far as experiences go, they were almost identical. I’ve never had a facial, manicure or pedicure and I don’t much care if I get another one. My heels are super dry and cracked (I make those Before pictures on the Heel Tastic commercials look smooth and supple by comparison). I didn’t mind any of it except when the dude tried to put my foot into a crockpot of wax. That too would have been fine but the crockpot is made for 1 large roast or a size 11 foot. Like Operation, the trick to this procedure is to get your foot straight in without touching the sides on account-a they are super-crazy hot. His English wasn’t good and he couldn’t or wouldn’t mention this fact and also he is bad at estimating foot sizes (mine is 14). A bit of burnt foot smell later we go the procedure done and I was pronounced fit to display.
Everyone had bailed so flagged down the rickshaw man and through bad English, worse Gujarati, sign language and grunting I got him to take me home (maybe 5 KM) for .75 with tip.
Back to the house I was instructed to take J, some younger cousins and a driver to go get shoes. The theory is that me and J stay in the car and the local folks go negotiate a price before I show up. The glaring American-ness of my visage apparently triples prices. We haggled it through and I think I spent $50 for chumples (?) and mogiridi (?) for me and J. Incidentally when the day of the event to wear my mogirdi came, the aunties decided I should wear my Eccos instead. The mogirdis were too fancy for the wedding. Wtf.
On the way back the driver got a call that we had to pick up and old man and drop him at the clinic where Haresh was getting a malaria treatment. Already present in the car were: driver, me, J, Tilak (14) and Tania (18). The car was some type of micro-sedan so unless we were gonna tie the old dude on the roof I didn’t see how this was going to get done. The resourceful driver flagged down an empty rickshaw and negotiated for him to follow us for the pickup. When we came around the corner and the geezer saw our full car he lost his shit. I offered to go in the rickshaw with Jackson but the driver wouldn’t have it so the old man finished his tirade and finally climbed into the rickshaw. We watched out the back as he followed us and throughout the 10 min. ride he never let up in shouting at the rickshaw man. We arrived at the clinic and the driver went over to direct mr. grumpy pants to the appropriate office. He got another ass chewing while we watched and laughed.
Continuing the trend of not knowing what was coming we found out late that there was to be a Swaminarayan pray service (bhujan?) put on by Pooja’s family that evening. We (the groom’s side) all thought this was an informal prayer session at the bride’s family’s house so no one got particularly dressed. When we pulled up to the elaborately decorated lot and found the white gloved caterers there was a collective groan of ‘we look like slobs’ but home was 30 mins away so we soldiered on. Dinner is a big bustling buffet where J and I got our first lessons in Guji buffet etiquette. Push hard, wave plate and demand service. There were candle stands with oil lamps sprinkled around and Sophia walked right into one with her eyebone. We panicked at first thinking she had scalding oil dumped into her eyeball but thankfully it was just a solid thump instead. After dinner we stopped into the swami service. Fanatically hospitable as always they spotted the big white guy standing in the back and first insisted on bringing me a chair (I declined 6 times, chair got brung anyway) and then all but dragged me to sit up in the front. I don’t much like people putting their hands on me and people here love putting hteir hands on me. I shrugged the little usher guy off finally and we listened to the signing and preaching for a few and finally rolled out for the evening.