Do you have that one travel memory that sticks with you? Is it a sunset, the joy of making a new friend, or the possibility of running into the unexpected? In a distant time I once lived in New Delhi, India. It is a chaotic city full of life, it is one of those places in the world you will either love or hate. The feeling depends on the day…
I had packed unprepared thinking the weather would be warm for all of the seasons. I was wrong, it was the end of the November, and the evenings were bone-chilling. I knew it was time to invest in some warm clothes.
I headed to the market in search of the perfect wool sweater. I came across one merchants table, looking up admiring a lovely green one hanging on the wall. I stepped closer, to get a better look.
I then looked at the merchant “Kitna?”
The man looked at me “For you only 200 rupees!”
I looked at him “Without the white man tax?”
He replied, “150!”
He assumed I was an easy target. It was then I got swept up in the moment, “Ne! Ne! Ne! 50 rupees!”
“No. I’ll go somewhere else!”
He started to exclaim “Wait! 110!”
I looked at him backing up “75!”
And with that I heard a man exclaim “Snake!”
I thought for a second that wasn’t part of the deal! I turned around, looking down, and I saw a man crouched next to the corner of the table. My brain registered and I gasped with the realization that I almost toppled over backwards on top of a snake charmer.
He once again exclaimed, “Snake!”
It was there I saw his beady eye snake peering at me. I was within less of a foot of a cobra. I screamed, and jumped fifty feet away. I screamed again, and only mildly recovering! My heart was racing the thought of being that close to a snake unbeknownst to me sent shivers down my spine.
I have always had a phobia of snakes and this one was within striking distant of my covered calf. My heart was racing, I blushed, everyone within the distance of the commotion was staring at the crazy white woman who almost walked into a snake and screeched like banshee.
In order to save face I recovered from my panic attack, ” 80 rupees! And you have a deal.”
Have you ever been startled by the unexpected?