Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Canadian Special

The smallest gesture can soothe spirits. In Jaipur we were on a “Steve” walking tour of the city encountering the usual merchants who wanted to sell of their wares. In front of one of the city gates, we came upon two men and a woman stringing rose and marigold garlands. Locals buy these garlands to offer to the deities of shrines scattered throughout the city. It was late morning and these three were nearly through stringing for the day. One of the men turned toward Jean and me, picked up two rose buds, and, smiling, handed one to each of us. He expected nothing: Roses never smelled so sweet!

With lightened hearts, we continued our walk through the bazaar and came upon some table runners we were sure would be great for our tables. The bargaining and smart talk began. When Ross and Steve finally determined where we were, we had already sealed the deal with Pepsis. As we drank our sodas, Dev, the merchant, began to tell us all of the special crafts in India: cloth, silver, inlay, and the list went on. He turned to Jean and asked her what was special about Canada. Jean looked at me, flummoxed--unusual for her. I was no help since I was a poseur--a USAer posing as a Canadian. But Ross, always in the game and never at a loss for anything replied, “Special about Canada? Ground beef, 99 cents a pound!”

P.S. Please, S & M, would you identify yourselves more specifically. Thank you.