You might remember the post about the Amber Fort, when I asked you if you liked my shirt. Here’s the picture… just in case you haven’t time to memorize all the little details of my blog yet.
I got it at the SurajKund Crafts Mela in Delhi. It is open from Feb. 1 – 15th every year. Holy crafts, Batman! It is awesome! I bought dolls, tablecloths, boxes, kurtas (Indian-style) shirts, marble elephants, and even a Taj Mahal snow globe. And, yes, the snow globe has already been broken. And, yes, glitter looks very pretty on a marble floor.
They also had pottery, jewelry, saris, shoes, purses, furniture, kites, umbrellas, lanterns, yard decorations (oh, if I only had a yard), and booth after booth of authentic craft items from all over India and several other Asian countries.
We were told not to bring our camera because it gets crowded and it’s just one more thing to keep track of – humpf – I blog to differ on that one. It does get very crowded – but I am not sure what is so unusual about that – India is mega crowded – why would a Mela be any different? But we listened. Bummer.
Note to self – bring camera and video camera. We got there at about 10:30am – it opens at 9:30am – next year we will get there when it opens. Nothing really starts that early in India as compared to the United States. So at 10:30am, it was not crowded and you can park pretty close to the entrance. That means you can walk around and take lots of pictures – then return your camera to the car and shop away unencumbered. Next year, we’ll do just that.
There were amazing performances from around India. The performers were dressed in gorgeous outfits doing unbelievable things like dancing with five bowls on their heads. The musicians were magical. It was culture overload and it was fabulous!
Many of the crafters were making their crafts right at their booths.
And, yes we bargained. And we got deals. This shirt was $5. And yes, I put the decimal in the right place. Not everyone gave us the deal we were hoping for – but our new haggling philosophy is “no harm, no foul.” The worst they can say is no. And this particular Mela only takes place once a year and a billion people live in this country – there is no way they will remember us next year!
We learned a new phrase at the Mela – skin tax. Are you confused – fear not – I am here to ‘splain it. It seems that we, being lighter skinned than most people here, will be charged a skin tax. Translation – the prices are higher for us. Interesting. Sure. Unfair. Sure. Good to know. You bet your arse!
So at one point, Number One Hubby found some shirts he liked. He was standing next to an Indian woman who just happened to want to know prices too.
Hubby: Go ahead, tell her the price.
Crafter: Dumbfounded. And Silent.
Hubby: Go ahead, really, go ahead
Indian Woman: Smirking and looking away
Hubby: I’ll pay what she pays
Me: smirking – that’s my man
The crafter wanted to wait until Hubby was done shopping before he would discuss prices with the Indian woman. Hubby called his bluff and it worked. I really am not saying that we are always charged more – but skin tax happens.
What are the bathrooms like you ask – horrible – but worth it. What did we have for lunch, you wonder – are you really a fan, I wonder – we had pizza – Dominoes Pizza with a Coke. And for dessert? Cotton Candy. Some fair foods are clearly universal. Act II popcorn also had a booth. Of course, there was a lot of authentic Indian food if you are braver than we are.
If you want to know a really, really good time to visit us – that would be the first two weeks of Febraury – it’s not hot – and there is the SurajKund Mela. I am going twice next year – once with my family – and once by myself. It is one of my favorite experiences so far! And, yes, next year, I will have pictures.