Post Office Excursion -Who knew that you could spend an entire afternoon in the post office? We needed to mail some of our special purchases home so we set off for the afternoon with the intention of quickly dropping the parcel off and meandering through the local shops. It did not work the way we planned.
After waiting in a rather long line at the post office we were directed to a smaller office down the dusty street to have the purchases sealed. I sat in rapt amazement for the next 3 hours while a kind, wrinkle-faced gentleman and his eager, young daughter bent over the table and prepared the parcel. They fussed and fumed, weighed and measured, and stuffed and sewed for a good part of the afternoon. He brought out four different boxes, wrapped the boxed parcel in two lengths of string, wrapped that in yellow plastic and then put more yarn and fabric on top of it all. Then he kneeled down to sew a perfect little square of fabric to wrap around the already thoroughly-secured box. Finally, he sealed the edges with a special wax and sent us on our way with a pat on the head and a handshake. It was the longest, most interesting visit to the post office I have ever experienced. (We also had to take 3 chai breaks, of course!)
Birthday Invitation – On the way home, we popped into a fabric store and interrupted a birthday celebration. We quickly apologized and tried to back out of the store, but the family chased after us, sat us directly next to the birthday boy, and soon we were singing along with the family and eating birthday cake. We hung around while the birthday boy opened a present wrapped in a paper bag. He had received a new notepad for school and thought it was just the very best thing. It’s wonderful how his eyes lit up upon opening school supplies and not action figures or brand-name clothing. We are really getting to know the locals in India, and are grabbing every opportunity to spend quality time learning about their culture, or just enjoying a chai together.
Sidetracked – Barbershops in India are so funny! They can range from a nice little stall set in the midst of other clean stores to a simple tin shack on the street corner. There is sometimes a stool to sit on or an overturned box for the visiting patron as well as some type of mirror in front of the box/stool/chair. Whatever the setup ends up to be, there is always an eager, young lad with a very large knife standing at the entrance encouraging people to come in for a cut and a shave. Any takers?