Monday, May 01, 2006

Lazy Sunday = Trip to the Eastern Market

I love our eastern market. Especially when it is this beautiful outside, and all the venders seem to be in an especially generous mood. I love the snack and champagne makers who will thrust their sample cups of sugared walnuts or apple wine to taste as you walk by. I love the loud, gaudy jewelry, the vintage photographs, the handmade greeting cards for a $1, the artists' and their splashy canvases carelessly strung up with a $700 price tag. I love my favorite bookstore--Capital Hills Used Bookstore--two tiny rooms bursting at the seams with books stacked high anywhere there is a surface. No eastern market trip is complete without a visit. I even dig the corner store vender with his red-tinted beard, and belly-shaking laugh who will--without fail--ask me to marry him, thoroughly embarassing me, before knocking of a measly five bucks for love.

Today two desi venders--both exclaimed, "For you, I will give for $20, it's normally 30, but you are Indian. I see that." Gosh. When I decided that the skirt I was eyeing was too small for me, the second guy said, "Arre, beti, yay tho moti moti log bhi payinte hai." (child, even fat fat women wear this). Completely amused, I laughed and chose to ignore his obvious irritation when I walked away without buying anything.

I had fun bartering in Hindi, and I realized with a sudden thrill that I will have to learn to haggle better in Hindi over the next few months. Problem areas identified:
  • I don't know all the numbers very well, so I always say, "pacheese" (15), or "beese" (20). Things that cost more than that would be a problem. The minute I slip into English (will you knock off 5$?), I can feel my advantage also slipping quickly.
  • I am way too conditioned to pay the amount asked of me. I am without that killer instinct, that outraged, slightly manic belief that I deserve this item for half the asking price. I fold way too easily, too happily after an initial inquiry, "is there a discount?"
  • I have no real idea of what the actual cost of things are. Everything is expensive here, when compared to everywhere else.
  • I actually have trouble understanding Hindi from different dialects spoken too fast. Shameful, but true. The Pakistani vender was muttering something about shirts to me, which I had to fake "nod and smile" my way through. After spending most of my days speaking English, I have the disturbing sense of Hindi sounding clunky and wrong coming out of my mouth.
Anyway, it was a successful trip. A pretty skirt, and an equally pretty shirt was bought. Six novels have been added to my pile of books. I have a nice shopper's high.


Blogger said...

nice. I feel like I should go shopping at devon street. BTW..Pachese is 50 not 15. 15 is pandhra.

2:28 AM  
Blogger said...

actually pachese is 25..not 15...let me clean off that rust from my hindi...I am such a dork.

2:30 AM  
Blogger Sony Pony said...

it's not 15!? hahaha lol; that explains the puzzled look on his face, hahaha..I was like, I wanna pay pacheese!

7:55 AM  
Blogger Andy's Life in India said...

Try being a brown guy who everyone thinks is indian, but really is not who just spent 7 months learning bengali and moving to a city where bengali is absolutely useless. yey the joy of languages!

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait, ur writing about haggling over prices! We all know about your reserve bargaining incident in Devon street. You were trying to buy 25 dollar DVD for 30 bucks! :-)

1:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I mean reverse bargaining

1:45 AM  
Blogger Sony Pony said...

dude, that was a malicious lie made up by you two monkeys! You couldn't get a bargain for ice in Alaska!

2:20 AM  
Blogger . said...


3:01 AM  

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