I woke up with my plan to go off to the malls to buy a new camera. When I was younger, I used to love the malls and as I get older and wiser I strongly dislike them and what they represent. But I knew I wanted to have a camera for Christmas and New Years. Did I need a new camera? No. Did I want a new camera for India? Yes.
Planning on heading out and just taking the bus, I was stopped by my host’s roommate who says that he can take me by car. We get to talking and decide to stop for some white coffee. Like my host, he is also a PhD student in Linguistics, but he is also a jack of all trades. He teaches English and has a variety of respectful responsibilities.
As we sit and share some white coffee, I stare at this cigarette. I have been completely turned off from cigarettes, but he makes it look so good. I continue to focus on our conversation and ignore the cigarette. I share my beliefs on American culture and my travels abroad. I love the way he listens as you can tell he is able to intellectually follow everything I am saying. I thought of how refreshing it was to talk with him and thought there as a potential for something happening here, which is rare because lately my attraction is very limited to select few-Mr. Madrid in my previous post.
As we keep talking, I realize that this may just be too good to be true and it is as he mentions that he has a girlfriend of 3 years. This is just like Mr. Madrid. Two people laughing and flirting and then right from left field comes the girlfriend. It seems the only reason they are not married is because the relgious conflict between families Muslims vs. Buddhists. She has to convert from a very close knit, religious, and conservative family-not an easy thing. I could not imagine converting from Christianity-it would be like taking away the core of an apple.
I could tell that both of us did not really want our time together to end so he offered to take me to get the camera. We ended up randomly stopping at Fort Cornwallis and learning about some history. It was interesting learning about his upbringing in Jordan-belonging to a tribe, the closeness of family, and relationships starting later. He then went out of his way to take me to Citibank and the travel agency to book my bus/ferry tickets. He really had to go at that point as he had many things to do.
I end up doing some shopping around and buy a new Canon for $105 US DOLLARS with a 4 GB memory card, a case, a tripod, and rechargeable battery. I honestly do not even think you could get this deal in the US. I am very content with my new camera and happy with my bargain shopping. I chat with some of my local friends I had made in this area previously. I had my Penang food map and wanted to head to some of these food stalls for local delicacies. I ended up eating a few different speciality dishes and crossed them off my Penang food list ha! You can always count on me to try the local food. I always come through on this aspect of exploring culture ha!
I knew that I needed to not eat too much because I had a feeling my host was cooking Arabic food for me.....