Day 14: Monday, rest day

Today marks the beginning of my third week in India. It feels life if it was just yesterday that I arrived to Jaipur and met my first tuk-tuk driver who, by the way, ripped us off. Two hundred rupees for 5 minutes. An extra hundred per bag – and he drops one of them in a puddle.

The most important thing you’ll ever learn in India is that everything is possible. Monkeys know that as well which is why one of them sneaked into the girls’ bedroom on Saturday morning and stole – out of all things – a juice box.The Asian girl, who was the only person in that room as that time, decided to chase the thief only to find out that there were more monkeys waiting by the kitchen. Retreat.

That is completely normal. There is even a sign on our kitchen’s door asking us to keep the door closed to keep out hairy visitors. Babylon’s roof is also known as the monkey spot. Long story short: everything is possible. Everything.

Cows in the middle of the road. Bulls stalking you on campus. Jives by the lake. Tuk-tuk pimps. Tractors with loud music. Monkey thieves. The list goes on.

I slept on the way back to Udaipur but once I get to Babylon, I don’t allow myself to rest. I kick-start my day right away. I update the blog – I had no wifi over the weekend – and wait. Babylonians are either tired or sick. When I get hungry, I go knock on Nick’s door. Batou helps me wake him up. We try to flip the mattress, throw water and pillows at him, carry him, drag him… When he’s finally up, we kind of lock him inside the kitchen. He cooks pasta for us. He’s a free man now.

One of the visitors

I’m not sure about what to do with the rest of my day. I can’t stay in Babylon. Luckily, Evvie agrees to accompany me to Pink city.On our way to get a tuk-tuk, we stumble upon a bunch of monkeys, really close to Babylon. “These must be our visitors.” There’s no way to make sure but that was the first time I spot monkeys in the neighborhood. I have seen dogs, cats, pigs, goats, cows… but not monkeys. I stand corrected.

Pink City shopping goes too smoothly to my own taste. Last time, I had to bargain in French with a very articulate vendor. This time, the process didn’t take much time as the vendor gave up too quickly.

Tuk-tuk to pink city
Tuk-tuk to Babylon

“Lama, you do it for the satisfaction, don’t you? You got issues, son”, said Nick. He’s most probably right.

We have a meeting at six. It starts nearly forty minutes later because of slow Indian timing. We’re planning our next trip. The meeting lasts less than an hour during which Kira times my time on the swing.

– Lama, fifty more seconds.

Once my time is up, Giacomo and I swap seats. I’m the one pushing him this time. He gets points every time he hits someone, extra points

Right after the meeting is over, Giacomo, Nick, Talal, Lia and I leave for the tea place. It’s too crowded already but we find a corner where we wait for our iced teas. Nick and Lia share a stool. We’re talking about food and I bring up the Brazilian chocolate thing that was at the Global Village. Lia says that it’s very easy to make. We leave our stools for Pink Square. We need to find concentrated milk.

It takes a couple of tries to get the employee to realize that coconut and concentrated are two very different words. He finds the can for us, we pick up corn and butter on our way to the cashier. Lia’s the one cooking tonight.

I’m making a thyme sandwich in the kitchen. I turn around and see something moving. It’s midnight. “Monkey!”

Giacomo and Lia turn around.

It’s just a cat.

Gotta work on my monkey paranoia.


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