Wednesday, April 2, 2008

my rides

I am now in charge of carrying a laptop with me during the march so the foreigenrs support marchers can use it get the word out. Yesterday was a bunch of stopping and hitchhiking to catch up. I have never been in a country so easy to catch a ride. I have never waited more than five minutes at any time of day. Here's the rides I caught yesterday:

A large brightly colored truck that resembled a giant playroom inside. Except for the driver's seat, It was just a plush cushion inside the whole cab level with the bottom of the windshield and filled with lights, pretty plastic flowers and pictures of Hindu dieties. The guys gave me their phone numbers at the end and all left the truck to shake our hands.

Then two guys leaving from a dhaba (roadside truck stand) picked us up for the slowest (and drunkest?) ride so far. He just weaved all over the road while we sat in the back where they normally transport the cows, or so your very own Sherlock Holmes deduced from all of the cow patties back there. The passenger, a nice Sikh guy, climbed out of the tiny truck while it was moving to walk along the side of the truck to the back and come into join us for awhile. They kept stopping the car to chat, start a cigarette or for no reason at all. Mostly smiling the whole time through the language barrier.

Then a truck driver picked us up and just smiled before starting to drive. We went through a toll booth and he whipped out papers exempting him from the toll. I was so busy trying to figure out why he didn't have to pay that I missed our campsite. Your very own Sherlock Holmes finally noticed a sheet of paper taped inside the passenger side of the windshield with the large words "ARMY SUPPLIES".

After he dropped us off, a nice older Hindu man picked us up before we could even put out our hand (no thumbs here, they just give you a thumbs up back, extend your arm with the palm down to stop cars, helps to be a single female). He fed us grapes until he stopped for gas and we decided it was time to turn around.

Two young New Jersey guido looking types pulled up next to Leanne and politely said, "Can we help you ma'am?" Very friendly guys. They drove fast, always a joy to observe that art in this country, and listened to Hindi techno. They told us all the places that we should visit. I asked them what they did and they said, "We drink." They proudly told me that the old man made money overseas as a NRI (nonresident Indian, a common term here) and if the money is there, why not spend it? Makes sense to me. (cough, nedpelger, cough)

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