Visiting A Bazaar In Chennai
By drapeau on Feb 22, 2005
Before leaving Chennai, I was informed that I must visit a bazaar to get a feel for the activity and energy there. That was excellent advice.
For one thing, Sturgis, South Dakota is not nearly
as densely populated as Chennai (although during the week of the Sturgis Rally it gets
close). For another, I didn't see any biker babes on the streets
of Chennai (sorry, a woman
in a sari riding a scooter just isn't the same as a woman
riding on the back of a Harley, her skin turning to leather.
Oh, and the Sturgis Rally only lasts for a week; the bazaar I visited
in Chennai is non-stop.
One more difference: I don't think you'll find Harry Potter stainless steel pots at the Sturgis Rally, but they'll set you back for just under three bucks in Chennai.
Tara showed me around and I'm glad I had her as a guide. Most of
the time here I've been the one who's been given the royal carpet
treatment by people serving us, but at the bazaar, merchants were
calling out to her, not me: "Madam, Madam!" they'd say, pointing out
merchandise that they clearly thought she absolutely needed to
have. I have a natural fear of salespeople accosting me, so it
was comforting to feel almost invisible at the bazaar.
I was amazed by all the activity, product, and people. Here's a photo of the most densely populated part of the bazaar that we saw, which was on a corner that had fresh sugar cane being pressed for juice, and an ice cream stand.
Afterward, Tara was laughing at me (she did this a lot during my stay here, which I'm not entirely sure makes her a gracious host but maybe I'm missing a cultural nuance that nobody has cared to explain to me, as in "Did you know that when Indians laugh at you, it's really a compliment?"). Why was Tara laughing at me? Well, here is her impression of me over the three hours we were at the bazaar:
"Wow. Wow. [pause] Wowwww."
I have to admit, that's a pretty accurate impression of me. I couldn't say a whole lot else.