Back in Guelph, on a hot summer's day, you may hear the sounds of bells ringing, gaining in volume. It's one of two people, the Dickie Dee (ice cream) boy, or the knife sharpener.
During morning tea we heard the bells and glanced up the street. A young man carried a welded steel frame with a grinding wheel and pedal — he is a knife sharperer. Note I said carried. I felt for the poor guy. If I had my tools with me I'd offer to weld on some wheels to this thing, probably 20kg or more. Ulrike rushed to the kitchen and returned with a handful of knives and an assignment.
Today was laundry day. We had both run out of underthings, and my whole wardrobe was ready for a wash. The little washing machine is the most high-tech device in the house. In the humid weather, the drier (clothes line) on the other hand, took quite a bit longer; so I spent most of the day in underwear.
After days of fighting with the Vodaphone SIM card, I gave in and went to the Vodaphone store. The girl at the desk confirmed that yes, it was weird that I had a signal, yet could not connect, but in a few minutes she diagnosed the problem. Although I had just added a INR 1250 data plan to the SIM, it needed at least 1 rupee on balance in order to connect to the network. Simple, yet absent from the FAQ and every search I tried.
While in the village I tried to withdraw money at the ATMs, having used my last 10 rupees to add to the Vodaphone card. A few days earlier I had pulled INR 10,000 out of an ATM in Bombay without difficulty, but for reason still unknown, it was not so easy here. After an hour and 8 banks, the ATMs read CALL BANK, an indication that my account was locked out.
That wasn't supposed to happen. I had called all of my banks before leaving Canada, ensuring they note the timeframe and destination of my travels. ScotiaBank assured me that if I encountered any problems, I need only call the number on the back of the card collect, and they would accept the charges. After 2 hours of trying I summized that if there was indeed a way of calling Canada from India collect, it was beyond my abilities. I couldn't even figure out the equivalent of dialling 0 to speak to an operator.
Ulrike, her writer-friend Jessica, and I went to the 2015 Goa International Photo Festival. The exhibits included photos of India by Indians, winners of the World Press photojournalism awards, and other international photographers.