Yesterday we had an adventure. A family (some coworkers) invited us newcomers for dinner last night. So, although we didn't know exactly where it was, we had the address, and our experience so far has been that if you have the address, the auto driver will get you there. (not that we had another option except "find it") So we told our guy the neighborhood and that the house was on the M block, M-143. After bargaining on the price, we agree on 30. (he really wanted 50) So, he proceeds to get us lost, poor guy. We know the area fairly well, only because there is a restaurant there we've been to twice. So he takes us round and round, and finally we, not the driver, mind you, notice a sign that points and says "M102 - M160" on a street. He turns there, because the third guy he stopped for directions told him this was the way to go. We tottered down the road, and stopped between houses M-142 and M-144. There was no house in between them. The driver then tells us it will be 50, and my husband told him, No, you agreed on 30, it's not our fault you got lost. He only had a 40, and of course the guy told us he had no change. So here we are, paying 10 extra for a destination that is wrong, knowing none of the language and feeling like our friends' house exists in some time warp. Our boss was there with us, and I asked him for help. There was a woman standing at her gate, and so I asked her if she spoke English (in her language...gotta be prepared!) and she said a little, and I asked if the Americans lived on her street. Everyone in this city seems to know the whereabouts of all the other Americans, so it was a valid question. She said no, no Americans lived on her street. (by the way, my husband and I are just laughing through this whole ordeal, because our sense of humor is the only thing we had at this point) The woman pointed at someone behind us and spouted off something in her language, and I looked behind me and there was another woman taking a walk. She walked right up to us and said in perfect English, "Yes what are you looking for?" Our boss came through! Perfect timing, as usual. She told us the numbering in their neighborhood was terrible, and M-143 was on a totally different block. She gave the auto driver directions, because he knew suckers when he had them at the wrong destination, so he had actually turned off the auto and waited for us to ask him to take us somewhere else. Then our heroine gave us directions, then said something to him in their language and turned to us and said, "Don't pay him anything. He's taking you there for free." We were there within 5 minutes, only 30 minutes late. haha! He made our paths straight last night!
Man it was all worth it, too. Fried chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes, cream gravy, buttermilk pie and banana nut bread. Oh yeah. And we made it home without a problem and for only 20. Great night.
Today I got to talk a lot with the housekeeper at the office, "Monica". She is a new cousin of ours, and 21 years old. Sweetest girl ever. Anyway, we talked a good while about the boss, marriage, America and India, and fashion. Twice during the conversation, she grabbed my hand and held it! I couldn't believe it! That is what they do here between the same gender, so I had learned about it, but I was not prepared. I thought I was, but my American mindset came in and I kept thinking, "Is she waiting on me to let go of her hand? Is she getting uncomfortable with me?" haha We had a great talk and she told me several times thanks for talking with her.
Well I need to go. I'm going to try to reach my brother since today is a brother-sister festival here so I can feel like I've participated.