At the hotel, one of the guys must have read my mind, and offered to run out and find me a beer. Licensing laws are strange in India and alcohol is surprisingly hard to come by. With the sporadic electricity, a cold one is quite rare.
He delivered the tall Kingfisher to my room, a small box with a fan and no exterior windows, and I gratefully drank it down, set my alarm and went to sleep.
5:18AM ... there is knocking at the door. I got up, grabbed some pants and opened the door to see the man from last night. He was waiting to get me to the bus stand but I had overslept.
Amazingly, I was up, packed, out the door, into the rickshaw and at the bus stand by 5:28AM. The bus had already left, however. That's the thing about India - unlike Latin America where tardiness is expected, you can't predict if something will be early, late or on-time here.
The driver then took me to another bus stand and arranged a ride to another town where I would connect to get to Khajuraho. This involved some crazy local buses - the sort where people ride on the roof, hang out the doors and pack the interior to triple-capacity. It was ... not fun.
In Chatarpur, after 3 hours of "immersion in local culture," I stood at the terminal in the midst of the hustle and tried to find my onward bus. After several conversations with bus drivers and random people who had clipboards plus a phone call to Karthik, I gathered that the bus I wanted (to go the last 48km) wouldn't arrive for 2 more hours.
All of a sudden I had time to kill. I surveyed the scene and realized I was surrounded by an overwhelming scene of chaos. Wandering away from here was not likely to reveal more pleasant surroundings. Some people might see the idea of spending two hours in a grimy bus terminal in a town like like Chatarpur as real downer. I did - but I had to make the best of it.
I took a seat in a plastic chair outside the telephone shop and started to wait and watch. I elected not to take photographs as to do so somehow seemed wrong.
I saw a cow take a massive shit just a few feet from me. I then watched a man spit a long squirt of pan parag (betel nut) saliva into the cow patty.
The telephone man bought me a plastic cup of chai tea. He wouldn't take any money.
One of the other old men finished his chai and tossed the plastic cup on the ground. The leftovers splashed the cow patty.
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A man on a motorcycle came by to add credit to his pre-paid phone. The telephone man did brisk business but I imagine his margins are pretty thin. The motorcycle guy lowered his kickstand, and planted it right in the shit/spit/chai slurry.
After conducting his business I saw the man talking to a young boy, about 12 years old. He seemed to be encouraging the kid to come talk to me. The kid was shy though and wouldn't do it.
I just stood up, reached out my hand, and called out namaste. The kid beamed but was still too shy to say anything. I asked him his name and his age and got him talking. He asked me where I was from, saying "which country? country sir?" I told him where I came from and to the rest of the men standing around I said "Barack Obama". Everybody smiles at that.
The kid took a seat next to me and I showed him some photos of my family. He told me that he also had a brother and a sister.
During a lull in our short conversation, I pulled out my MP3 player. He was curious about it but didn't want a listen when I turned it on. I shrugged, put on the earphones and started to groove. I was playing off his curiosity.
It worked and within about 30 seconds he just had to know what I was listening to.
I'm pretty sure I just introduced drum and bass to Chatarpur.